Thursday, September 29, 2011

Going for the mass market

Another goodie from way back in my reader feeds. This August post from Everything, Everywhere talks about some recent changes to the Travel Chanel. Excerpt:

Outside of Anthony Bourdain, who is really a food guy when you get right down to it, Travel Channel basically has nothing to do with travel anymore....

What I don’t get is that the lesson they [the Travel Channel] seem to have taken from No Reservations is to create more food shows, not more shows showing interesting people traveling. Travel being the raison d’ĂȘtre for the entire network of course.

After listing the various non-travel shows on the Travel Channel today, Gary Arndt proceeds to look at what the Travel Channel is doing with online properties.

Several years ago they purchased which is one of the best travel writing sites on the internet. What did they do with this amazing asset? Did they integrate it into their website or promote it on TV? Nope. They basically killed it and currently the founders of World Hum are trying to keep it afloat without any real assistance from the part of the Travel Channel.

So much for synergy. Arndt's conclusion:

The travel channel is now just another cable channel that just happens to have Anthony Borudain....If they can’t get back to their travel roots then they should be upfront and honest about it and just change their name to the Paranormal Food Network.

Or maybe they'll just change their name to TC. A lot of cable and satellite channels end up changing their name when they change their focus. Case in point:

Looking for Court TV's shows based on exciting, real-life stories? Go to

In a way, this makes sense. Back when Court TV was founded in 1991, you had interest in court cases such as the Menendez brothers and O. J. Simpson. But presumably the audience for these cases declined, or people preferred to watch Nancy Grace instead, so Court TV became truTV and expanded its programming.

The one problem, as Arndt notes, is that eventually all of the channels look the same as they all chase the next big trend. Eventually every cable channel will have its own Kardashian sister (and Wayans brother), at least until the next big thing comes.

I'm seeing the same thing in gaming. You'd thing that if you wanted to farm, you'd go to Zynga's FarmVille game, and if you wanted to build cities, you'd go to CityVille. Well, I don't play FarmVille, but I still do a lot of farming. And for all I know you can probably build cities in FarmVille.

And can anyone tell me the major differences between smartphones today? They all have apps, and you go to an app store to buy them. And they probably all have Angry Birds, and your Facebook app, and your Twitter app, and what have you.

Sounds like the mall that I visited in Pentagon City several years ago, that had pretty much the same stores as our malls here in California. (The audioblogs, which have since disappeared, consisted of me reading the names of the stores. They'll sound familiar to everyone in the USA, and probably in Canada and Europe also.)

Now certainly there are arguments for going for the general audience - my business blog is more popular than my Inland Empire and NTN Buzztime blogs (although there are other reasons for this). But sometimes it's nice to go on the path less traveled.
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