Robert Cringely writes about an Internet show he is launching next week:
NerdTV, as I’ve written ad nauseum, is an interview show. From a technical perspective, it is primitive, but beneath the surface, it is incredibly ambitious because it defies the maxim of Internet service design that assumes audiences are shallow and maybe a bit stupid.
Once you reach a technical baseline, you see, good television is all about casting. So NerdTV is based on the simple idea of having a lengthy discussion with some incredibly smart person you always wanted to meet. We go on so long (a full hour, more or less) that some viewers may get bored and give up. But if we aimed NerdTV just at those people, we wouldn’t be serving very well the rest of the audience we know is there after eight years of writing and reading in this space. We’d just be doing 30-second video clips like most other broadcasters and CNET.
Once people get comfortable with NerdTV, I’m hoping similar shows on other topics will begin to appear as the concept starts to make sense. All you need is a topic in which a relatively large audience is extremely interested, but that audience is too widely dispersed to be served by traditional broadcast or cable television. You could probably serve the same audience as a niche cable channel, only much, much deeper, but the best application of NerdTV-like programming is probably for audiences that are completely un-served — and most likely misunderstood — by traditional broadcasters.