The victory in court this week by Barry Diller’s Aereo underscores the precarious nature of network television in the face of modern technological advances.
The networks’ answer was the same lame tactic that huge corporations take whenever they feel imperiled by a potentially better idea or a new technological gizmo of one kind or another. They find a provocation to go to court and sue, claiming that they were somehow wronged. This is not only a ham-fisted approach but it also shows how incapable they are when t comes to dealing with Silicon Valley or any other innovator. It can seem pitiful when the big shot can’t match the little guy. They can appear to look like bullies. And you know what? Bullies usually don’t win because their brawn is no match for a wily, opportunistic, ambitious opponent .
The networks ought to get it through their heads that the public feels no loyalty to them. CBS, NBC and ABC merely represent one way for the public to get and enjoy entertainment content. People will always gravitate to a better way for their interests. They want convenience and value — but, ultimately, they will pay for convenience and quality.
Look at how Netflix at the lunch of Blockbuster by coming up wth a superior way to deliver home entertainment, in the forms of movies and popular television shows. Instead of having to schlep down to the mall, consumers could get their shows sent to them by mail. It was convenient and it also felt cool to get the DVDs in the mail. Blockbuster, with its traditional, tried and true brick and mortar set-up, never quite knew what his it — until it was well too late for it to stem the relentless tide of Netflix’s sharp, modern innovation.
And now in 2013, we see how the networks have to resort to trying to stop Diller, who is as fearless as he is innovative. They lost in court and now Diller has the legal momentum in addition to the prospect of taking Aereo around the United States.
Memo to network television: Technology will always win. Get used to it. Deal with it.