Entertainment – Two Ideas To Save Broadcast TV

Broadcast TV apparently needs saving. OK. Easy enough.

1) “Fix” Hulu without destroying it.

Comcast, Time Warner, et. al. have repeatedly demonstrated they’re anti-competitive, lazy, greedy scum. But they have a lot of heft, so they have to be accomodated.

So, Hulu is about to go paid, which means it’s about to die a miserable death. And that’s what the cable operators want, because the idea of anybody watching television in a way they can’t control makes them cry, and won’t you spare a thought for the technologically-backward billionaires?

So, here’s a simple idea: adopt a Netflix-type model. Nobody is going to give Hulu five bucks a month, not when they have tons of other cheaper solutions. And truthfully, it’s a sign of how clueless the TV industry is that they expect people to pay for something they give away for free.

But, if you can prove to Hulu that you live in a household that pays for cable, you get Hulu for free. That satisfies the cable operators, because they know they’re getting paid and it’s a solution they don’t have to run. That satisfies the networks. And it keeps Hulu from being murdered by stupidity.

2) Buy the American public HDTV USB dongles.

This next one is so goddamn obvious I’m amazed I’m even typing these words.

Broadcast networks can’t just jump to cable because they have all this infrastructure and deals with affiliates. They’re viewing this as a Sisyphusean boulder, but that’s because they’re not thinking. The US buys eight figures worth of laptops a year. The laptop is rapidly becoming the recreational and personal computer of choice.

Look, guys, an HDTV USB dongle from Taiwan is $35, and presumably getting a few million would result in a bulk discount. All of these laptops have USB ports. You blanket the goddamn country in signal.

This isn’t hard math to do.

Yeah, it’ll be a costly up-front investment, but there’s real appeal, especially if you bundle it with TiVo-style software that doesn’t allow ad-skips (you know, like Hulu Desktop, which you’ve already paid for). With this, you’ve basically just allowed Americans to consume TV at their convenience, and regrabbed all those eyeballs you’ve lost in a space cable can’t compete in.

Think about it.

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