Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Imagine This: Truly Liberal TV...
...that reaches 25 million US households. Wow. The budget sounds small, but considering that the start-up costs for digital and cable stations/networks are less than those for broadcast networks, it's probably doable. (Though I certainly wouldn't mind if somebody like George Soros flung a few hundred million at them.)
The questions I have are:
1. Is their distribution scheme workable? There's lots of great media out there, but try listening to it over a 56K modem.
2. Do they have business-savvy people on board? I saw only one. They have lots of creative people, but organizations need managers to remove the petty obstacles like contracting health insurance and writing an employee manual, as well as buffering egos against mutual bruising.
3. They're using PayPal to collect donations? I have filed a query asking whether their carefull-hidden Toronto address (IWTnews
P.O. Box 53, Station B
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2T2) is suitable for donations.
4. Why the long launch date? Why not start by producing a low cost show like their citizen's journalism to get their name out there and to start establishing the distribution network, maybe even sign up a few business/labor sponsors ala PBS. 2007 sounds like forever, and it's hard to crank people up over an 18 month rampup.
And yes, with broadband at a premium still in most places, the number of eyeballs will be limited. Then again, not everyone has HBO, yet Deadwood and The Sopranos have a cultural reach throughout America because the people who do watch tend to be opinion catalysts.
Remember how the Chicago Cubs got to be "America's Team"? It was strictly because they were the first team to get carried on nationwide cable TV.
And as far as planning, I am in receipt of a letter from their offices telling me that they hadn't considered that perhaps not everyone uses Paypal and that posting their address on the donations page is a brilliant idea.
These are very talented people without a clue about business. Amy Goodman and an exec from Photon are probably their best resources.
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