Public Broadcasting 2.0

Dennis Haarsager (one of the driving forces behing the Open Media Network) hasn’t blogged it yet, but his much-anticiapted follow-up to his 2004 “My Time” essay is out in Current. Among other things, he calls for PB to develop an on-demand strategy–now:

Looking back through the mirror now, you find you’ve just entered [Rod Serling voice-over] Public Broadcasting 2.0. Had you been familiar with this hypothetical media landscape, our current 1.0 operations might seem ineffective, scary and risky.

I’m not suggesting that we abandon linear real-time programming. To the contrary, we need to nurture the stations responsible for 18 billion contact hours a year — tonnage of public service that no other nonprofit or government agency can duplicate.

But we have the opportunity to provide even greater public service, especially for the “long tail? audiences we have always tried to serve, with a more effective economic support system, in PB 2.0.

Furthermore, we face the loss of viewers dissatisfied with the limitations of 1.0. Television’s audience has been slowly shrinking and will take a real body blow with the end of analog transmission. Radio’s performance is leveling off and, if we don’t intervene, will decline significantly. Other nonprofits and for-profit businesses will move quickly to serve 2.0 audiences, because barriers to entry are low. Public broadcasting interests urgently need to develop a coherent, viable on-demand strategy.


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