By Chuck Ross, TVWeek
One of the longtime jokes about The New York Times is that by the time it pinpoints something as a trend, the trend is practically mainstream.
Case in point: Today’s (April 15, 2013) essay in the print and online editions of The Times by its Media Equation columnist, David Carr. The headline of the piece reads "More Cracks Undermine the Citadel of TV Profits."
Here’s how the article begins: "For the longest time in the media business, the concept of the bundle has been foundational. Ads go with editorial content in print, commercials go with programming on television and the channels you desire are paired with ones you did not in your cable package.
"People were free to shop for what they wanted, as long as they were willing to buy a bunch of other stuff they did not. The box score last night for your home team? It was wrapped inside a bundle of paper that included everything from foreign news to ads for lingerie. If you liked a song, you generally had to buy an album full of others to get the goods."
Carr then says that these media fundamentals are "under attack."
At the end of a piece that is about 1,200 words long, Carr concludes with these three paragraphs:
"… Like many Americans, I spent this weekend watching the fight to wear a green jacket at the Masters. But a funny thing happened on the way to the clubhouse at Augusta, Ga.: I took a detour. The Masters app, which let me omnisciently check the leader board, scan for my own highlights and toggle between specific groups or holes, sucked me in.
"The second screen experience slowly replaced the first — I barely looked up at the television. CBS’s reverent, almost whispered coverage took a back seat as I programmed my version of the Masters. The function that would have allowed me to throw the Internet coverage to my big-screen television was not enabled, but that’s only a matter of time. Change often comes very slowly, but then happens all at once.
"CBS paid dearly for rights to the Masters, marketers ponied up to advertise in limited spots and my cable provider paid a hefty toll in terms of retransmission fees, but there I was, staring at the device on my lap, looking at a bright future — no cable, no commercials, no bundle required."
Note from Millennials and even those of us somewhat older: Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Carr.