Friday, July 23rd, 2004
This was a black friday for folks who worked at the Time Warner 24 hour newschannels in Houston and San Antonio. Employees walked in today to find they were all out of a job, and the channel was signing off immediately.
As the designer of the logos for both of those channels, and as designer of the animation and all the on-air components of News 24 Houston, I feel for the folks who worked hard there to make the channels work. Why don’t they work? It comes down to revenue–they didn’t sell enough advertising to support the costs of the operation.
I’m no expert on either ad sales or the business side of television operations, but I do know this: the old models don’t work, and there were a lot of people trying to impose old-style approaches to ad sales and technology on these operations. There really wasn’t much of a “smaller is better” approach in place, and the egos of the management people went for big and impressive spaces when small and efficient would have done just fine.
The facilities looked great. They spent too much for what ended up on the screen though.
Again, I salute the good people in the trenches.
Wednesday, July 21st, 2004
Ted Turner, my old boss, has written about how goverment and business collaborate to create fewer media voices.
It’s the story of the news business over the last twenty years, and it’s somehow reassuring to hear it expressed out of the mouth of the guy who built up something worth absorbing (as Time Warner did) and who now promotes bison meat and does small things to better the world..while biding his time for the next opportunity.
The quirks and eccentricities of CNN and TBS’s Atlanta-based localism (now long gone) were to me a big part of what made them compelling channels to watch, whether you were in Alaska or Idaho or Ohio.