Is Broadcast TV Dying?

Or not?

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has been predicting the death of broadcast TV for years now. In this interview, he gives it until 2030.

Some of what Hastings has predicted is already coming true: HBO, Showtime, and CBS have all begun to offer standalone apps which will allow you to watch their channels on any of your mobile devices or even on your home TV if its internet-connected.

And Dish Network, which is based in Colorado, is offering a standalone package that offers some of the ESPN channels.

Live sports is the magic bullet in broadcasting, so maybe Hastings is right.

But the reason I’d like you to read the article is because Hastings has been just as vocal attacking the foundation of broadcast television: the ratings.

Netflix refuses to discuss ratings for its original programming, like House of Cards.

In 2012, the Chief Content Officer for Netflix said he believes disclosing ratings “creates a benchmark that is irrelevant to the business but sexy and exciting to write about and puts a lot of performance pressure on shows that otherwise will be great shows over time.”

Does Pandora need ratings to succeed? Does Spotify?

Does NPR need ratings to thrive?

I don’t know how, or when, but somehow commercial radio broadcasting has to find a way forward that is based more upon engagement and less on over-paying vast sums of money for a measurement system that does not make the business of radio more profitable, that saps the very resources radio needs to really be listened to rather than passively, perhaps not even consciously, heard.