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Television, Movies and Youtube


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The quality of scripted TV has probably never been better than at the present moment. On the other hand movies are worse than they have ever been. At least that is my feeling.


I was watching this video by Kevin Spacey. He speaks about a time where he asked Jack Lemon about the golden age of television in the 1950's. He explains that it was a time when you could do anything you wanted on television because it was a new medium and people didn't even know whether it would last. So there was a lot of creative freedom.




Later this freedom went a way as television became more commercial because of advertising. Network executives began to control things more and more. And as they did the quality of television declined. In my view the rise of big brands like Coke is primarily due to the massive reach of television and the limited broadcast slots available to advertisers. This dynamic favored a few big brands as they could afford to spend money to advertise on television and the television huge advertising effectiveness further cemented their dominance.


Finally in the present era we see the rise of streaming services and cable channels like HBO. Here there are no advertisers and television caters directly to viewers and so the quality has massively improved. Hence the new golden age of television.


And finally during this age we have the rise of a new medium...Youtube. My nephews don't even watch television. They just watch youtube. This medium is completely different than anything that existed before. Its effect on advertising, branding and all the rest is difficult to predict.


I am not sure what to make of all these changes or how to think about it. Any ideas?

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I agree that there's a lot of good TV these days. But as you said a lot of it is on places like HBO, Netflix, Showtime. On regular TV (basic cable whatever you wanna call it) there is a tonne of crap - see all the reality TV that's playing.


The scripted stuff (not that reality TV isn't scripted) on networks has improved somewhat as well NCIS for example tries harder than JAG. Maybe because it was pushed to do so by the HBO stuff. But when you have to do NCIS New Orleans you clearly have a crisis of creativity.


I'm not sure what the reason for all of this is. Maybe it's media and advertising cycles as the OP says. But it could also be a result of Hollywood dislocation. As Hollywood decided to do lots of high budget crap features with superheroes it pushed talent into the TV world. Today you have good movie actors (including academy award winning actors) doing TV - see Kevin Spacey with HOC, and lots with Westworld, True Detective, Big Little Lies, etc. If you use better talent you'll get a better product.


Maybe this is not even TV. Maybe there's TV which is full of crap. There are features which do whatever they do. And there's a new category of HBO/Showtime/Netflix/Amazon that's higher quality and fits between the 2.


In the end I'm not sure what the reason is for the high quality stuff we get to watch but I sure am enjoying it. :)

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Interesting that this topic appears on the day Youtube TV is announced ( https://www.cnet.com/products/youtube-tv/preview/ ) and first four posts does not even reference it.  8)


My take - as a coattaily Liberty empire investor - is that there's way too much content being produced. So although I hold DISCA and LGFB, I really should shit more to the cable cos (LBRDA, LBTYA, LILA). Actually that's my weighting already.



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I was reading this article in Wired today:



You can read the comments and you will see that people hate the direction wired has moved in and they blame it on 'SWJs'. But interestingly you see similar complaints at Salon which is a very left-wing magazine that has always indulged in social and political commentary.


What is really happening is that both magazine are increasingly publishing superficial click bait. Purely to bring in traffic. The articles are absolute trash but they work in bringing in views. Again we see here the drive to get advertising dollars driving down the quality of the product. The internet maybe even worse in this respect than television. Advertising on television tended to make television series increasingly conservative and boring.


The internet advertising is making things increasingly superficial and meaningless. Its using sex, gossip, tribalism to grab our attention.

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