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Television Is the New Television

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Television Is the New Television

The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Television still dominates mass media and will continue to rule.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Media insider, best-selling author and founder of the Newser reporting website, Michael Wolff dissects potent, widely held myths about digital media. He maintains that digital media have not displaced the power of television, are not shoving it aside now and won’t in the future. Wolff is an insightful, convincing agitator who writes in punchy, thought-provoking sentences. His stand-alone chapters work as polemical essays, so you don’t have to read them in order. Almost every chapter is interesting and features a somewhat shocking, commonsense obliteration of popular wisdom, though some chapters fall short of making a cogent point. getAbstract recommends Wolff’s overview of the state of big media – and not just television, as the title implies – to everyone in that industry, everyone who interacts with media, and everyone who writes about them or invests in them.


Whose Future Is It?

At a 2007 conference of traditional and digital-media heavy hitters, venture capitalist and Netscape co-creator Marc Andreessen – speaking for the new media – told those representing film and television, “We are against each other. This is a zero-sum game.” At the time, many thought movies and television programs would wither before the digital onslaught. Efficiency was the watchword, and scale was the goal. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claimed that no one could create a viable organization unless it could draw a billion users.

Seven years later, traditional media outlets – despite taking a hammering – are stronger than ever. Television profit margins run almost 50%. Yet, in the digital world, Amazon only just turned its first profit, and Yahoo, despite untold numbers of users, has no clear identity or mission. While many believe digital business is the only viable strategy, the real world disproves that theory.


New media excel at hyping their own plans, but those goals don’t always come to pass. Time Warner’s ill-advised merger with AOL showed that tech companies are quite different from “entertainment and journalism...

About the Author

Best-selling author Michael Wolff also wrote Burn Rate and The Man Who Owns the News. He co-founded the news website Newser.

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