What Defines a TV Hit (to the networks)

Posted on July 31, 2008. Filed under: ABC, broadcast, MediaPost, Michael Durwin, NBC, Sci Fi Channel, tv ad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In a recent post on MediaPost’s TV Watch, entitled ‘Mad Men’ A Hit? Try  Whopping TWO Million Viewers, author Wayne Friedman discusses the success of AMC’s Mad Men. The drama, based on a 1960’s Madison Avenue advertising agency and it’s creative director (who makes me jealous with his afternoon scotch and big budgets) just premiered it’s season two opener to an audience of 2 million. Friedman compares the show to The Sopranos’ 13 million viewers and The Closer’s 8 million. He doesn’t discuss the ridiculous viewership of reality shows such as American Idol or Big Three programs such as Desperate Housewives, whose ratings I’m sure, eclipse those of Mad Men. His article wonders just what constitutes a success. In his mind this is a huge success, if only by AMC’s standards. I completely agree. However, there is anothr angle to be taken:

The kinds of ratings such as those for Sopranos and Desperate Housewives are going to be increasingly hard to come by. ONLY 2 million may seem small compared to the Sopranos or reality programming like American Idol, but, regardless of what network they’re on, the days of national hits or shows with global appeal (such as I Love Lucy and ER) are rapidly coming to a close.

While the networks may blame the Internet for declining viewership, which certainly plays a part, they’ve also done it to themselves. There is just too much niche programming. And that’s a good thing. A program with a more niche appeal makes for a more loyal, if smaller, audience. If you’re smart enough to target your ads appropriately to that audience, you’ll get better conversion. The Sci Fi Channel is a great example. While viewing the season opener for their original series Eureka, I found 50-75% of the ads were sci-fi themed.

Hopefully networks and advertisers are getting this and we won’t have to lose quality shows like Carnivale and Journeyman.

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The next big technological leap? Look to the 60s.

Posted on August 1, 2007. Filed under: cell phones, Clovis de Matos, communicator, Door Into Summer, Gravitomagnetic London Moment, hypospray, iRobot, LCARS, Martin Tajmar, MediaPost, PADD, Robert Heinlen, Roomba, Science Fiction, Star Trek, transporter |

I just read an interesting article about the next technology. The author suggested that looking to Science Fiction is the best way to anticipate it.
How true.
The original Star Trek anticipated disc-based data storage, public PCs, small and portable personal computers, universal translator, PDAs, cell phones hypo-spray, networked computers, wikis, voice recognition, fiber optics, even the Transporter has been created, granted in it’s VERY early stages.
Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse.” Science Fiction writers are great dreamers, often with some knowledge of technology and science, though that never held them back. As an avid reader of Sci Fi, I’ve enjoyed the last decade immensely, especially as I see concepts from the 50s and 60s come alive. I’m sure they guys at iRobot read The Door Into Summer not long before they began work on the Roomba!
So, pick up a book….


Some science purists complain that in Sci Fi movies, the characters walk upright in their spaceships. There are also instances of hovering vehicles such as Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder. Many have complained that this kind of technology will never exist. Those people need to repeat after me: “D’oh!”

Scientists from the European Space Agency have measured a gravitational field for the first time in a laboratory. They used rings of superconducting material that rotated 6500 times per minute to generate a man-made magnetic field. Martin Tajmar, ARC Seibersdorf Research GmbH, Austria; Clovis de Matos, ESA-HQ, Paris; and colleagues have dubbed it the Gravitomagnetic London Moment.

Check out the original article.

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