'TV is a parasite,' but don't expect Web to kill it

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Traditional television revenue models are crumbling, but it's nothing to be worried about, at least according to a wide range of speakers at the Cologne Conference.

The main message out of the German TV festival and confab, which wrapped Monday, was that industry bugaboos including Internet piracy and DVR technology won't mean the end of TV.

"Television is a parasite that lives on the back of other platforms," MIT professor and media historian William Uricchio said in his keynote. "The panic I'm seeing now has happened to TV before, with the advent of the remote control and the video recorder."

While Uricchio said the traditional ad-supported TV model is on the way out, other speakers provided hope with examples of profitable ways to produce content.

These included U.K. house Big Balls Prods., whose "Kate Modern," an online drama for Bebo, turned a profit by tapping such advertisers as Microsoft and Warner Bros. to bankroll the episodes.

Daniel Hetzer, Fox TV Studios vp programming, added a note of caution.

"The problem is translating a successful online idea like 'Kate Modern' into the traditional TV model," Hetzer said. "That's very tricky, and no one has really been able to do it yet." (partialdiff)
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