Blip.tv CEO Mike Hudack has contributed a thoughtful essay on NewTeeVee this week. In it, Hudack ruminates on the difference between cable TV audiences and broadcast TV audiences, and how the web TV industry fits into the dynamic. In other words, the size of an audience is relative. While he’s biased, Hudack makes a good point about how we should give web video numbers more credit:
There will be “hit” shows on the web that have a profound influence on our culture. But they will not be the size of network television hits, or even cable television hits. You also won’t see a television show command 80 percent of the viewing audience as Texaco Star Theater did in the early ‘50s. But it doesn’t matter. Over time the Internet will steal share — small piece by small piece — from broadcast and cable just as cable stole from broadcast, which stole from radio before that.
Network television in the coming years will become more niche, but not niche enough. NBC’s 30 Rock is more targeted than almost anything carried on the network before. Its audience is only a couple million people larger than Mad Men‘s. But that’s not enough. Traditional broadcast and cable companies are not able to support shows under a certain size.