Is the TV Business Collapsing?

Here are two competing points of view about how quickly the TV industry is collapsing. The first comes from Henry Blodget over at Business Insider, who argues that TV industry trends mirror the collapse of the newspaper industry:

[L]ots of newspaper companies went broke or almost went broke. And the stock of The New York Times Company, the country's premier newspaper, fell from $50 to $6. In other words, newspapers were screwed. It just took a while for changing user behavior to really hammer the business. The same is almost certainly true for television.

Former Blodget employee (and all-around great writer) Dan Frommer points out that market forces in the TV industry are drastically different:

The reality is that, yes, the TV industry will change over time. Some of today’s winners will become tomorrow’s losers, and new entrants may grow to dominate. But barring some unforeseen technical or creative revolution, it’s going to happen a lot slower than you think. It is easy to complain that the cable/telco/satellite-dominated TV distribution system is inefficient, too expensive, or “ripe for disruption”, and many do. But that model is actually still very strong.

I tend to agree with Frommer here. Yes, the way we watch TV will soon change forever. But the entrenched forces are so intense that they aren't going to go away nearly as quickly. Just look at how HBO has recently had to fight off willing payers with a stick. It will more likely be a slow and painful decline. Look forward to it.

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