Television Is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age

Television Is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age

by Michael Wolff


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Television Is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age by Michael Wolff

"The closer the new media future gets, the further victory appears." —Michael Wolff

This is a book about what happens when the smartest people in the room decide something is inevitable, and yet it doesn’t come to pass. What happens when omens have been misread, tea leaves misinterpreted, gurus embarrassed?

Twenty years after the Netscape IPO, ten years after the birth of YouTube, and five years after the first iPad, the Internet has still not destroyed the giants of old media. CBS, News Corp, Disney, Comcast, Time Warner, and their peers are still alive, kicking, and making big bucks. The New York Times still earns far more from print ads than from digital ads. Super Bowl commercials are more valuable than ever. Banner ad space on Yahoo can be bought for a relative pittance.

Sure, the darlings of new media—Buzzfeed, HuffPoPolitico, and many more—keep attracting ever more traffic, in some cases truly phenomenal traffic. But as Michael Wolff shows in this fascinating and sure-to-be-controversial book, their buzz and venture financing rounds are based on assumptions that were wrong from the start, and become more wrong with each passing year. The consequences of this folly are far reaching for anyone who cares about good journalism, enjoys bingeing on Netflix, works with advertising, or plans to have a role in the future of the Internet.

Wolff set out to write an honest guide to the changing media landscape, based on a clear-eyed evaluation of who really makes money and how. His conclusion: The Web, social media, and various mobile platforms are not the new television. Television is the new television.

We all know that Google and Facebook are thriving by selling online ads—but they’re aggregators, not content creators. As major brands conclude that banner ads next to text basically don’t work, the value of digital traffic to content-driven sites has plummeted, while the value of a television audience continues to rise. Even if millions now watch television on their phones via their Netflix, Hulu, and HBO GO apps, that doesn’t change the balance of power. Television by any other name is the game everybody is trying to win—including outlets like The Wall Street Journal that never used to play the game at all.

Drawing on his unparalleled sources in corner offices from Rockefeller Center to Beverly Hills, Wolff tells us what’s really going on, which emperors have no clothes, and which supposed geniuses are due for a major fall. Whether he riles you or makes you cheer, his book will change how you think about media, technology, and the way we live now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143108924
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/07/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 797,358
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL WOLFF is the author of Burn Rate (1998) and The Man Who Owns the News (2008), among other acclaimed books. He has written about the intersection of media, technology, and business for more than 25 years, for many outlets including Vanity Fair, USA Today, New York Magazine, the Guardian, Adweek, and Newser.

Read an Excerpt

Television, yesterday’s industry, will as likely be among the most opportunistic, cutthroat, and game changing industries of tomorrow—quite the place for every hotdog, thug, and slickster with heart and imagination. Who makes video, how it’s delivered and watched, how much it costs, and how much it makes—and who gets richest from it—is what’s unsettled now, all to be determined by greater and smaller battles.

Of course, such wars and industrial struggles are not waged on behalf of citizens or consumers. Not for my children or yours. The fact that it is the culture itself that is at stake—whether the medium will be dull or bright, of value or a waste—is just the more or less random and happenstance of this coming war of competing interests trying to check, dominate, or destroy each other.


Excerpted from "Television Is the New Television"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Michael Wolff.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part 1 The Revolution is Foretold

1 Blinded by the New 9

2 The Logical Outcome 15

3 Why Digital Is So Sore About the Future … the Millennials! 23

Part 2 Inventing New Media

4 How News Came to Wag the Dog 31

5 To Be, or Not to Be, Cool 39

Part 3 The New Audience-And What It's Worth

6 Traffic Patterns 47

7 The Self-Promoters 55

8 Tech Men as Ad Men 69

9 Explaining Programmatic Advertising 75

10 The Advertising Curve 83

Part 4 Counterrevolution

11 The Netflix unRevolution 91

12 Screen Time 101

13 More Boxes 107

14 Consolidating Consolivision 115

15 Television Wants to Be Paid For 123

16 Finding the New Economics 129

17 No Neutrals in Net Neutrality 137

18 When YouTube Challenged TV-and Lost 145

19 YouTube Becomes Not YouTube 151

20 Facebook Television 157

Part 5 The New Television-On the New Old Television

21 Premium Plus Plus Plus 165

22 Repacking the Unbundle 171

Part 6 Content is King-Well, It is on Television

21 Sine Qua Non 181

24 Television and the Way We Live Now 189

25 The Digital Postscript 193

Acknowledgments 201

Index 203

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