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Broadcast is Dead

Posted: January 23rd, 2012   |   Category: Blog | Case Studies | Industry News | Planning | Search | Social | Strategy

In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, issued the famous statement that God was dead:

God is dead.
God remains dead.
And we have killed him.
How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann

RIP Broadcast is DeadI’m not going to pretend that I’m remotely equivalent to this intellectual giant, but I will paraphrase Nietzsche with this quote:

Broadcast is dead. Broadcast remains dead. And we have killed it. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the commercial world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What social networks shall we have to invent? Must we ourselves not become broadcasters simply to appear worthy of it?
—Bill Wittur, Bottree Blog

I’ve been thinking about this topic for some time and feel the moment has finally come where we all need to accept that the traditional model of broadcasting – shouting at an audience while they wait for more content – has come to an end.

I feel I should have made this prediction many years ago and I know a lot of other people have stepped up to make similar announcements.

Another peer, Judy Shapiro commented recently on why social platforms are increasingly disruptive to traditional marketing efforts, joining the hundreds of media pundits who have been saying (and continue to repeat) that the fundamentals related to the agency models have been skewered.

Any client that continues to abide by these ‘fundamentals’ will also find themselves skewered.

The millions of advertisers that have relied on TV ads, print messages, billboards, junk mail and other forms of shouting out to people have to go back to their offices, sharpen their pencils, and write a new plan.

A dialogue plan.

So Many Options for Clients

What’s at the core of this conclusion is not just the sheer volume of options for clients over the last 10 years, but also the mode of communication, the control that they have and the competition that exists in the marketplace.

Anyone paying full ticket for a TV spot these days is a sucker, plain and simple.

They’re harsh words, but think about it:  Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL) now have ad-free distribution and exposure on platforms like Netflix.  It won’t be long until all sports – the beacon of stability in the broadcast world – are distributed through other channels, leaving broadcasters with nothing to run but tired ‘reality shows’, the odd spot of ‘news’ (ie. regurgitated PR from earlier in the day) and re-runs.

I could go on at length (I usually do), but I won’t.  We’ve certainly heard this argument before and we’re sure to hear it repeated often in the future, but I’ll spare your time and assume that you get the message:  broadcast is dead.

What’s important is that those who move on and find new life in new strategies focused on creating dialogue – be they mobile apps or their own social platform or some other digital tactic – will be the leaders where there are few.

And as my paraphrased quote asks, ‘Must we ourselves not become broadcasters simply to appear worthy of it?’.

Yes, we must :)

Bill Wittur
Bottree Digital Services
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