The News Is Over May 5, 2005 12:00am Source: Reed Business Information. All Rights Reserved. Broadcasting and Cable: There is a dramatic revolution taking place in=20 the news business today, and it isn't about=20 TV-anchor changes, scandals at storied newspapers=20 or embedded reporters. The future course of the=20 news, including the basic assumptions about how=20 we consume news and information and make=20 decisions in a democratic society, is being=20 altered by technology-savvy young people no=20 longer wedded to traditional news outlets or even=20 accessing news in traditional ways. The future of the U.S. news industry is seriously=20 threatened by the seemingly irrevocable move by=20 young people away from traditional news sources. It is an overwhelmingly challenging time in the=20 worlds of cable television and broadcast news, as=20 well as in print media. Young people are moving=20 away not just from television news to the=20 Internet but also from television in general.=20 This makes it difficult for TV-marketing=20 organizations to even reach the next generation=20 of news consumers, since many have already=20 abandoned TV for their computers. Still, enterprising television executives do have=20 a variety of new tools and distribution=20 mechanisms at their disposal. Within the new NBC=20 Universal family, for example, there is an=20 abundance of opportunities with CNBC, MSNBC, USA=20 Network, the Sci Fi Channel and Bravo. Some news organizations have already made a=20 promising start. Last summer, ABC News launched=20 ABC News Now, a subscription-based news network=20 designed to capture the desktop audience at work,=20 at school or on the move. It will be available on=20 broadband services, digital cable and wireless=20 services. Nothing like it has ever been tried=20 before in the U.S., and it clearly fills a void=20 in the ABC News distribution plan. Success in these areas is critical for the=20 networks. "We would like to attract younger=20 viewers," says Bill Wheatley, recently promoted=20 to executive VP of news for NBC. "We know=20 advertisers will pay us more to reach them, and=20 NBC has long been accepted as a network with=20 appeal to younger people. But in news, the=20 challenge is great. The trick is that we are a=20 mass medium, and if we target young people too=20 regularly and too narrowly, we will lose other=20 parts of the audience. We may, though, come to a=20 point where we will have to create programs just=20 for younger viewers." That is very likely what it is going to take to=20 change current trends for mainstream news=20 organizations. They are going to have to program=20 for the demographic if they are to retain=20 consequential news franchises. As Ted Turner changed the game at a much=20 different moment in time with the invention of=20 CNN, and as Apple changed another game by=20 providing accessible music downloads, dramatic=20 moves-accompanied by the simultaneous but deft,=20 prudent tinkering of skilled print editors,=20 television producers, and digital-media=20 journalists and technologists-are unquestionably=20 required. Media consultant Brown, a former newspaper and=20 magazine reporter, was founding editor in chief=20 of MSNBC.com from 1996 to 2002, served as a=20 senior VP of RealNetworks and was a founder of=20 Court TV. His entire essay, "Abandoning the=20 News," written for Carnegie Corp., can be found=20 at www.carnegie.org/reporter . <<Broadcasting and Cable -- 05/05/05>> << Copyright =A92005 Reed Business Information. All Rights Reserved. >> ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.