Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Whatever happened to Al TV?

Earlier today, I was getting a laugh out of the blathering associated with Microsoft and MTV announcing an online music service called "URGE."
"With our new service, we will be able to satisfy music lovers' urges for all things music. In many ways, URGE will serve as a 'psychic concierge', introducing fans to new artists and helping them to develop a deeper connection to old favorites," explained Van Toffler, the sun-kissed 46-year old MTV Networks' Music Group president who oversees the world's largest organized frat party.
He wishes. Anyhow, it occurred to me that I hadn't heard such purple prose about TV since Al Gore dreamed up his TV channel. Well the big launch was July 31 and I don't know about you, but I haven't heard a peep since. Doing a little Googling, I was shocked to discover that the Wall Street Journal is running a series on "Do It Yourself Media" and today scooped AL TV into the bag:
Today's article describes Al Gore's Current TV, which is helping to fill its 24 hours of daily programming with films made by viewers. Subsequent articles will look at how advertisers are soliciting ad ideas from their consumers, how cable operators are asking viewers to contribute material for dating services and real-estate channels and how phone companies are encouraging contributions to video logs.
I guess December is a slow news month at the WSJ.
"The Internet is a welcome breath of fresh air which re-establishes a highly interactive participatory medium that has even lower barriers to entry than the print medium," said Mr. Gore in an interview. He added that a "growing number of talented young people in their 20s...have videocameras and laptop editing systems and are increasingly conversant with how to express themselves in the television medium."
See, what did I tell you! When you parse Al's prose though, you have to wonder why he didn't start up on the Internet instead of regular TV. And how's Al TV really doing?
They are now working to make it widely available: Current can be seen in only about 20 million homes, whereas most major cable channels are available in 80 million.

The channel isn't yet rated by Nielsen Media Research, which makes it a tougher sell for advertisers.
It'll be even tougher when they find out only Al and Tipper are watching.
While Current has had some luck getting distribution with Time Warner Inc. and satellite-TV company DirecTV Group Inc., it hasn't yet won over Comcast Corp., the biggest cable operator. To put pressure on Comcast, Current held a rally outside Comcast headquarters in Philadelphia.
Sheesh. What Al needs to do is to recruit some MSM cheerleaders like Air America's stable of luscious lovelies.