- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio (June 23, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781591848134
- ISBN-13: 978-1591848134
- ASIN: 159184813X
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Television Is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age Hardcover – June 23, 2015
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Michael Wolff makes his living tweaking the big shots of the media, advertising, and technology. Sometimes they tweak back…
“A mindless jerk who’ll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.”
“Possibly the bitchiest media bigfoot writing today.”
--The New Republic
“He’s both needy and amoral enough to just, you know, insult people for attention.”
“Far less circumspect – and sometimes more vicious – than other journalists.”
--The New York Times
“Long a media provocateur, Wolff has optimized his barbed bitching for the Internet.”
--New York magazine
“If the Web doesn’t kill journalism, Michael Wolff will.”
If you think that’s nasty, wait until Wolff’s enemies read Television is the New Television.
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.
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Showing 1-8 of 29 reviews
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It is at its strongest when it explains what has happened to print media due to digital distribution and explores the evolving strategies of legacy and digitally-native print outlets as they’ve tried to find ad-supported models that work. He uses this to both forecast coming problems for digitally distributed video (television) as well as note how certain types of video will likely be immune from these problems (in short, ad-supported models don’t work in a world of potentially unlimited advertising inventory).
This needed to be a book. Unlike the constant flow of pieces that cover similar terrain, Wolff takes advantage of the longer form to tell a more comprehensive story of change over time. (Though it is not a very long book—about 56,000 words).
The critical “Editorial Reviews” on the back cover market this as a must-read so you don’t miss a potential hatchet job, but it is far from this. Wolff is slightly provocative in defying the once conventional wisdom that claimed digital distribution would destroy “television”—which has largely been proven wrong at this point. His arguments are measured and well supported (see below regarding citations though). It could be argued that one Auletta piece is unfairly singled out, but Wolff doesn’t take cheap shots.
Why not five stars?
This book targets an audience already in the know about a lot of media industry minutia. I may try teaching it in a senior seminar where we can work through it together, but it requires a fair bit of media/advertising familiarity to follow. People who work in advertising seem the main target audience of the book.
There are no sources cited. It seems clear that many assertions draw from data and are not just opinion, but the lack of references is frustrating and limits the book's usefulness (this could have been Penguin’s decision). It is also odd given that one of the main arguments is a critique of the business/tech press (easy to critique when the examples aren’t cited, but I’ve read enough of it to find Wolff on point).
It is often too brief. The book covers quite a bit, and more often than not I desired more depth. Likewise, a few more words could have been used to transition through the book and explain connections between chapters and connect the main arguments to cases discussed.
While it is true that video distribution of all sorts are rapidly becoming the overwhelming leader in delivering information and entertainment, Wolff's penchant for lumping YouTube in with Network television as one term, "Television." is extremely simplistic. The media companies, whether they are traditional print, television or radio, who evolve into full-functioning multimedia companies will continue to prosper, while those who narrowcast and continue to hope that online/streamed content is going to go away will disappear.
The primary issue every media provider faces at this point, is how to monetize their offerings at a suitable rate to allow them to keep talented writers and producers on staff. A world where anyone can produce content is both exciting and terrifying, as the standards of excellence and truth in reporting have dropped to new lows.
Television as an industry isn't the traditional Television we once knew. CBS has certainly done better than the competition in holding onto its assets, but the real competition to television is going to come from countless other providers who aren't strapped by the traditional network model.
As the primary media consuming audience continues to have an almost unending source of online and mobile device entertainment, network TELEVISION as we know it will become increasingly irrelevant. Facebook TV? Snapchat TV? Instagram TV? Sorry...but the terms just don't work.