Letter From New York 05 19 15 Media Musings

Today started out grey and grim in New York City, a morning fog left us feeling a bit like London. It was damp, almost chill. Then as the day wore on, the sun began to peep out and then it filled the sky. The rain promised hasn’t appeared though I brought my umbrella.

Also, today, I am going to do something a little different. I work in media but don’t write that much about it. Most of my take is on what is going on in the world around us, from migrants in the Mediterranean or the South China Sea, to the sorry advance of IS, to the efforts to put Humpty-Dumpty together again in Nepal.

But today I am going to take a quick look around some of the media stories that captured my attention. I may do this once in awhile.

First of all, the Cabletelevison Advertising Bureau has been renamed the Video Advertising Bureau and it will include both cable and broadcast networks. I had to blink and rub my eyes when I read that. I grew up in cable and broadcast networks did their best to ignore and make fun of cable until cable starting really nibbling into the bones of their business.

That they are beginning to work together is breathtaking. But they have to because they are the bastions of linear television, shows that start on the hour or half hour.

Collectively, they are beginning to feel the heat of the digital revolution and are banding together to stand up to the digital alternatives. They are talking a lot about “premium video” and the place it holds in the advertising plans of brands. And the largest cable companies such as Time Warner are joining them in this effort.

It has a bit of the feel of the Persians assembling their massive fleet at Salamis only to be outmatched by the smaller, swifter Greek ships, resulting in a Persian rout that has been called one of the most important battles in history.

So the networks, broadcast and cable, joined by cable companies are assembling their ships to fight off the digital upstarts who are beginning to take some of their meat, advertising dollars.

Wow, I am still getting a grip on this.

Last night were the Webby Awards, the Emmys of the Net. Ellie Kemper won as Best Actress for “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Here’s where you will find her being presented with the award and her thank you speech, which is limited to five words by the Webby rules. It is adult humor.


The press today was filled with reports from yesterday about how Obama as President of the United States is now on Twitter as @POTUS. There were witty back and forth comments from Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Vice President Biden. I wasn’t sure it deserved all the hoopla but then we need to think about other things than the loss of Ramadi.

Tomorrow you may want to watch CBS’s Morning Show as it will be broadcasting from atop 1WTC, the building previously known as “The Freedom Tower,” the one built on the site of the old World Trade Center. They promise a preview of the building, which officially opens on Friday. I will look for the YouTube cuts.

Everyday I get The Daily Digg, highlighting the top stories of the day. Today I found out that Shell Oil Company’s legendary band of futurists is predicting that the world will probably get four to seven degrees warmer sooner than later, which is why it makes sense to go to the Artic to drill for oil. We’re not moving fast enough to turn back the tide.

They seem like a merry band, these futurists. They establish scenarios for best and worst-case scenarios. But it seems they think the best-case scenario for global warming has missed its boat and we had better prepare for worse.

And, lastly, tonight is the finale for the long and storied run of David Letterman on CBS, who is signing off “The Late Show with David Letterman” for good. Sayonara, David, and good luck!

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