COMMENTARY BY REED HUNDT

Net-Neutrality Is FCC Independence Battle

Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt: “Ever since the Internet exploded into our lives like the big bang, Republicans and Democrats have sometimes disagreed about the role of government with respect to this new global medium. Partisan conflict flared this month when FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a “net-neutrality” rule favored by President Obama. The disagreement goes well beyond the matter of the rule itself. At issue is the meaning of independence for New Deal and progressive-era regulatory agencies such as the FCC.”

COMMENTARY BY KARL BODE

Verizon’s ‘Spectrum Crunch’ Claims Suspect

After years of warning of spectrum armageddon, Verizon’s again making it clear that the entire spectrum crisis was contrived nonsense. After nabbing another $10.4 billion at the recent AWS-3 auction, Verizon CTO Tony Melone this week stated that despite years of claiming spectrum poverty, Verizon never really felt pressured to buy such a huge swath of spectrum.

COMMENTARY BY ADAM BUCKMAN,

New ‘Odd Couple’ Vs. Old: Yes Or No?

Adam Buckman: “If you’re asking yourself why CBS is remaking a series as well-remembered as The Odd Couple, then here’s an answer. The old one is really old, and it’s not likely that it is as “well-remembered” today by vast numbers of younger viewers as older ones, despite its long afterlife in rerun syndication (which continues to this day, by the way).”

COMMENTARY BY ADAM BUCKMAN

Grownups In ‘The Slap’ Deserved A Slap Too

The limited series on NBC effectively raises a number of questions and asks us to examine each point of view — none of which are cut and dried, says Adam Buckman. “While the appropriateness of disciplining kids by slapping or spanking is a topic that is well worth discussing, the players in this drama were so unlikable that I cannot stomach spending another hour with them.”

COMMENTARY BY KYLE SMITH

High Anxiety: The Angst Of Tardy TV Watching

If there were a life report card, I would be marked down as TV Tardy. I can’t seem to catch up to anything. And every day I fall farther behind. I have the domesticated middle-aged person’s equivalent of dating anxiety: Whom to commit to when there are so many options out there? Thanks a lot, Golden Age of TV. You’ve made me feel out-of-touch, anxious, lazy and disloyal.

COMMENTARY BY REBECCA TUHUS-DUBROW

It’s Time To Stop TV Pollution In Public Places

In restaurants, airports, office lobbies, they wait for us: televisions, big or small, one or many, playing CNN or The Bachelorette, luring our eyes and in some cases droning into our ears. Indeed, TVs are so omnipresent that — I’m told — many people hardly notice them. I am not so lucky. I find them equal parts seductive and annoying, and based on extensive anecdotal evidence, I know I’m not alone.

COMMENTARY BY RICH LOWRY

The Koch Brothers Ride Again

It was interesting while it lasted, but the 2016 election is now officially “bought.” The purchasers are the Koch brothers, and the price, a cool $889 million. The news that the network organized by David and Charles Koch plans to spend roughly $900 million in the 2016 cycle has freaked out Democrats, outraged so-called campaign-finance reformers and inspired hand-wringing about the future of Earth.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Big Data Has To Be TV’s Big Priority

Now that broadcasters are a couple of weeks into 2015, they can officially start looking forward to 2016 and the return of big-time political money. And when that year gets here, I doubt they will be disappointed. It’s a presidential year, and it looks as if the Republican Party, at least, will have a long […]

COMMENTARY BY JEFF JOHN ROBERTS

Forget TV, Put Supreme Court On YouTube

The longtime debate over televising the Supreme Court, which pits principles of judicial decorum versus those of democratic access, has always focused on cameras as they are defined by network TV — and not the next generation of camera technology represented by YouTube and the internet. What’s the difference? For one thing, distributing Supreme Court arguments over YouTube is even more democratic than using TV. There’s no chance that one or two network will use their camera access to serve up choice soundbites that could sensationalize or misrepresent the overall arguments at stake (which is a favorite argument among camera opponents).

COMMENTARY BY MATHEW INGRAM

3 Things Media Cos. Could Learn From White House

COMMENTARY BY A. ROSS JOHNSON & S. ENDERS WIMBUSH

Radio And TV Martí Still Have Roles To Play

Two former directors of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty say that Miami-based Radio and Television Martí, established in 1984 by the U.S. government as a “surrogate” broadcaster to provide information about developments in Cuba and the world otherwise denied to Cubans, will become more important as diplomatic relations with Cuba are restored and cultural, educational and economic ties with the U.S. expand.

COMMENTARY BY NEAL AUGENSTEIN

Stations Missing Mobile Opportunity In Apps

If broadcasters really want to own mobile, they need to harness and harvest consumers’ infatuation with constantly having their smartphones in hand, writes Neal Augenstein. The reporter and tech editor for WTOP-FM Washington says his own attempt was through an engagement app that lets people listen to the station and browse its site with easy UGC opportunities.

COMMENTARY BY RAJU NARISETTI

The World Needs A Journalist Rescue Fund

Modeled on a successful program for protecting scholars threatened by their regimes, a similar project for journalists could help advance security for reporters working under conditions of limited press freedom. A well endowed Journalist Rescue Fund would have a profound, practical and immediate impact on preserving hard-won freedoms in many countries, and in ensuring a legacy that goes well beyond individual institutions.

COMMENTARY BY CATHERINE RAMPELL

TV Convinces Americans That Torture Is OK

The idea that torture is both terrible and yet not terribly effective at producing useful intelligence is something we’ve known for a while — for centuries, one might even argue. But a funny thing happened on the way to the teleplay. Watch almost any popular American TV drama about spies, detectives and other affiliates of the long arm (or fist) of the law, and you might learn that torture is grisly and ghastly, sure. But you’d never know it was so frequently fruitless.

COMMENTARY BY DAVID ROBB

Govt.-Newsroom Revolving Door Whacks CBS

A journalist is not a spokesman, and a spokesman is not a journalist, but on the CBS Evening News Tuesday night, the twain did indeed meet — and it was the same person. It was just the latest example of the revolving door between network news operations and political flacks, an unfortunate and incestuous tradition that goes back decades.

COMMENTARY BY DAVID CARR

When Forces Of Media Disruption Hit Home

The Internet lowered the barriers to entry for journalism. This has been great for consumers but not the traditional news industry, whose inefficiencies were profits by another name.

COMMENTARY BY DENNIS WHARTON

Dumb Stuff Said In Washington, D.C.

NAB’s Dennis Wharton: “It’s been apparent for years that there is a concerted effort by broadcasting’s primary competitors to eliminate local TV as a competitive threat to their nirvana world — a world where “free” is eliminated from the telecommunications lexicon and programming content is only made available to those who will pay for it. In their world, the highest and best use of spectrum is used only by those who charge a fee for delivering content. But only of late have we been confronted with the bald-faced falsehood that ‘localism is a myth.’ ”

COMMENTARY BY ERIC NEWTON

Why I’m Worried About Newsroom Training

Knight Foundation’s Eric Newton: “We’re still struggling to sort out the three traditional types of [newsroom] training — craft skills, professional expertise and topic knowledge.  Here comes the digital age with a fourth category: “change competencies.” These include curiosity, creativity, currency, flexibility, innovation, iteration and change management. Once thought to be unteachable, they’re now unavoidable. Show me a wholly creative journalist and I’ll show you a person who can thrive in a future no one can predict.”

COMMENTARY BY TONI FITZGERALD

How To Fix NBC’s Struggling ‘Today’

The show is in upheaval, with rumors flying that co-hosts are out and behind-the-scenes turnover. Move No. 1: Stop the leaks. Move No. 2: Find a new boss.

COMMENTARY BY MATT LEWIS

Wanted: Less Terrible TV Political Coverage

Everyone knows there’s a problem with televised political coverage. The big question is how to fix it. Whether it’s cable news or the Sunday morning talk shows, something just doesn’t seem right. One gets the sense that they’re flailing, that the world has changed, but they haven’t. That they’re trying to figure out how to make it work, but so far it’s not coming together.

COMMENTARY BY BILL CROMWELL

For Once, Let’s Not Blame Nielsen

The networks are bashing the ratings agency for their ratings woes. The fact is, ratings are off because viewers are turning elsewhere for their entertainment.

OPEN MIKE FROM JERALD FRITZ

Let Local TV Chart Its Own Tech Future

Jerald Fritz of ATSC 3.0 system proponent ONE Media: “Broadcast television — like every other information medium — needs the freedom to evolve. We need to lose the economic, regulatory and engineering shackles that bind us to the silos of a single, fixed reception device anchored to the living room wall. So how do we do that? We’ve done that by reimagining our business. And that starts with a clear, clean, efficient way to get our signals to viewers wherever they are, using whatever equipment they have. Local broadcasters have a better idea.”

COMMENTARY BY MEGAN CLARKEN

Nielsen Calls For TV Ratings Overhaul

Megan Clarken, Nielsen’s EVP of Global Product Leadership: “The growing penetration of new devices and the popularity of subscription-based streaming services, time-shifted and over-the-top viewing — as well as cord-cutting and cord shaving — are fundamentally changing the TV industry. more and more video content is being viewed outside of the C3/C7 window via different devices, including connected TV technologies like Apple TV or Roku boxes, gaming consoles and digital devices, PCs, tablets and smartphones. Our goal is to create a total measurement of all content and all ads — regardless of how they are accessed and the ad model that they’re supporting.”

COMMENTARY BY TOM DOCTOROFF

Why Traditional Media Isn’t Dying

Tom Doctoroff, CEO of JWT Asia Pacific: “Contrary to conventional wisdom, and despite the disorientation that digital technology has wrought, “traditional” conceptual thinking is still fundamental to marketing. Today’s digital era calls for change — but not to bow to the algorithmic salvation of big data, or to the gee-whiz draw of viral video. Our mandate now is to achieve harmony between timeless brand-building truths and new digital technology opportunities. To do this, we marketers must debunk five platitudes.”

COMMENTARY BY ROBERT KENNY

‘Bully-Boy Tactics’ From Dish Net’s Ergen

Dish has joined two other pay-TV companies, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV, to form the American Television Alliance. ATVA’s strategy, led by the big three, is simple — to manufacture as many TV blackouts of both cable networks and local broadcast stations as possible in hopes that Congress will “reform” a system that ATVA’s members have deliberately tried to break.

OPEN MIKE BY MARK EFFRON

How To Build A Successful News Operation

Many factors contribute to success at local news operations. Each of my positions over the years afforded me the opportunity to look at content and presentation and distribution through a changing series of lenses. This period also coincided with the tsunami disruptions to mainstream media, especially the birth and growth of social. Here’s a baker’s dozen of suggestions gleaned from life lessons over the years.

COMMENTARY BY PAUL SPARROW

Talking About Radically Different News Future

Four new technology advances are poised to fundamentally change the nature of information distribution: The Internet of Things (IoT), location tracking, wearable computers and the semantic web. All four, writes Paul Sparrow, senior VP at the Newseum, are already being implemented in a variety of commercial and governmental applications. When they merge and become part of the communications system, he notes, they are going to bring profound changes to our daily lives and to the very nature of news.

COMMENTARY BY KEVIN MANEY

Broadcast TV About To Go Way Of AM Radio

The new streaming offerings from HBO and CBS are early signs that regular television is the new AM radio, writes Kevin Maney in Newsweek. The forces at work, driven by the Internet and data, add up to a giant generational shift toward a 21st century, free-form, urban, mobile lifestyle and away from the schedules, structures, suburbs, offices and marriages of the post-World War II era. In this new environment, the old model of broadcast TV will last about as long as an ice cube in a freshly poured glass of bourbon.

COMMENTARY BY MATT SMITH

Are We On The Verge Of TV’s 3rd Golden Age?

Anvato Chief Evangelist says: “With new content monetization solutions like live linear streaming, live ad insertion and video-on-demand syndication, a workable revenue model is emerging for more and more content owners, too, including niche networks. Maybe by finally rationalizing programming delivery, à la carte models will spark television’s third Golden Age.”

COMMENTARY BY ANDREW WALLENSTEIN

The CNN App That Will Change TV

I have seen the future of TV, and it is CNNgo. If the mere mention of a digital extension to a network triggers reflexive skepticism, that’s understandable; all they really do is just mimic linear channels or on-demand libraries. But CNNgo, currently available at no extra charge to participating pay TV providers, is a rare example of actual innovation. I sampled it during a 10-day free trial that that left me craving more when it ended last week.

COMMENTARY BY CHRIS LOUIE

Making Measurement Work for Programmatic

The ad industry has always been consumed with the latest trends. This should be no surprise, given that marketers and their agencies spend the better part of their days trying to create them. But nothing in advertising has generated more buzz in recent months than programmatic buying. Buying ad inventory more efficiently by applying rules to technology-enabled, automated purchases has marketers salivating.

COMMENTARY BY JESSE REDNISS & ALAN WOLK

Is Facebook Your Next Pay TV Provider?

While Twitter has been receiving most of the buzz around live television and tune-in, the launch of Facebook’s new video ad-serving platform, Atlas, has the potential to radically change that conversation, write Jesse Redniss, co-founder of BRaVe Ventures, and Alan Wolk, chairman of Second Screen Society. Redniss and Wolk note that Facebook’s video ad network can now offer networks a targeted TV promotions platform.

COMMENTARY BY STEVE GRAY

Future For Local: Selling What, Selling How?

As he looks at the future for local media companies, Steve Gray sees two kinds of companies: (1) Those that continue to focus on traditional media channels — newspaper, TV stations and radio stations — and shrink with the advertising spending on those media. (2) Those that morph into local media houses that can connect any advertiser with any audience through platforms, technologies and channels they own or don’t, to win dollars that are moving into digital advertising and marketing

OPEN MIKE BY TODD BARKES

Managing Ads Tough In Omniplatform World

But a more sophisticated software platform can make life much easier for agencies and media. It affords better workflow management of the content, ensures quality control checks of the various formats, reduces manual mistakes and saves time.

COMMENTARY BY RUSSELL FRANK

Whoa! Journalism’s New Code Of Ethics

The journalism profession is trying to reduce speeding on the information superhighway. The Society of Professional Journalists adopted a new code of ethics this month and the main difference between the revamped code and and the one that had been in place since 1996 is that the new version addresses the alarming tendency to rush stuff onto the Web as soon as we hear about it, without taking the time to make sure it’s true.

COMMENTARY BY DAVID ZURAWIK

TMZ Changes Media Landscape And History

Some people, particularly in the world of legacy media, still can’t bring themselves to think of TMZ and its companion site, TMZ Sports, which first broke the Ray Rice video in February, as the press. Memo to the head-in-the-sand gang: Get over it, grow up, quit being hypocrites and acknowledge the truth about the new media world we live in during these revolutionary times.

COMMENTARY BY ANICK JESDANUN

The Case Against Binge-Watching TV

Americans are increasingly engaging in a practice known as television binge-watching — going through several episodes of a TV show in a single stretch. I used some recent trips to finish Showtime’s Dexter and start CBS’s The Good Wife. In between, I breezed through Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and the second season of House of Cards. I have about 50 series on various watch lists — and people are continually recommending more. I know what I’ll be doing this Labor Day weekend. So why am I unhappy about this new way to watch TV?

COMMENTARY BY SHARON WAXMAN

Future Of Broadcast TV Under Scrutiny

Despite the umpteenth Emmy for ABC’s Modern Family, network television is most definitively under the microscope as a business. Compared to movie studios, television divisions still produce significant revenue, but that’s only because they have cable networks to lean on. The conclusion emerging is that over the long term network television is challenged — declining ratings, viewers’ ability to zap away commercials, Netflix fees on the decline and retransmission fees propping this up for who knows how long?

COMMENTARY BY FRAZIER MOORE

Emmys Owe TV Newcomers A Better Chance

The primetime Emmys, bestowed for 66 years, are meant to celebrate excellence in television. But in Emmy’s eyes, excellence too often takes the form of stamina, not the burst of inspiration that may have launched a series and its characters many seasons earlier and since settled into routine. Too often, Emmy celebrates not excellence, but an excellently maintained status quo.

COMMENTARY BY AIMEE HECKEL

Interactive Images 101 For Newsrooms

Interactive images are one of the easiest, most flexible and exciting ways to digitally transform a story. Here are five ways to use interactive images in your own newsroom today.