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News Link • Entertainment: Television (TV)

For Whom The Bell Tolls? It Tolls For TV...

•, Henry Blodget

My argument was based on the observation that television viewing behavior had begun to change radically, even as television industry revenues and profits continued to go up, up, up.

This situation reminded me of what has happened to the newspaper business over the past 15 years: Reader attention gradually shifted to digital, but warnings of doom were met with snickering and guffawing from the newspaper industry as revenue and profits continued to rise.

But then, suddenly, in the period of only a few years, newspaper advertising revenue collapsed (see chart).

What's currently happening in TV is reminiscent of the first stage of the newspaper industry's collapse: Viewing behavior is changing, but, for now, the TV industry continues to coin money.

For understandable reasons, many TV executives continue to dismiss the digital threat out of hand, pointing out that people still spend 5 hours a day in front of their boob tubes and arguing that the TV habit is so entrenched that satellite-cable-telco-network juggernauts will be able to maintain their chokehold and profits forever.

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