Cablevision-ABC Standoff Result of Shifting Audiences

The recent blackout of ABC’s programming in the New York area can be chalked up to a shifting of audiences from broadcast to Internet, a trend that’s been underway for several years. “As the broadcast networks are less able to get advertising revenue, they’re turning to the cable guys to make up for that shortfall,” states Todd Mitchell, an analyst with Kaufman Brothers Lp, as quoted in a recent Newsday article. Ad dollars are in short supply because TV audiences have found other options for their time, especially growing Internet use.

It’s the same trend that has hurt the print industry, record sales, DVD sales and other businesses that offer physical products that can also be delivered digitally. Consumers have shown they prefer their entertainment, information and connections to be digital. Even telecoms will have to face the fact that Internet telephony is a preferred option for many consumers. TV programmers must eventually follow suit as well.

But in the meantime, according to the Newsday article, we can expect more of these inconveniences as yet another business, built on an outdated model, tries to defy reality and force its market to stand still. Do these companies really believe they can continue holding customers hostage? Consumers, who vote with their dollars, will have the final say — something that the  iTunes store has already proven when it comes to digital goods.

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