On Tim Cook
To expect in the mind’s eye, that a Steve Jobs whose no longer with us was a brilliant visionary, but to say he never made a mistake, that he never had problem with employees, there’s a tendency of euphoric recall, to deify the person whose no longer there, this is a very difficult standard to live up to, that Steve would have done this and would have done that . . . Jobs had plenty of flaws, so my advice is he has a fresh opportunity to reimagine what Apple is as a company. To find future potential markets and bring a fresh look to that, Cook ought not be intimidated by past successes because the world of innovation is a world where every form of how they dispense content is continually updated. The world of creativity has to imagine the next 10 years instead of being stuck in the past heritage and success of the company. Cook must strike his own path. I understand he;s in an unenviable position. His predecessor was on the cover of Time and his his passing has been glorified, deservingly so.
What Cook requires is the internal fortitude and self confidence to chart one’s own path while being sensitive to the legacy of his predecessor, but still be deferential. But the point is in the tech field innovation occurs so rapidly four months pass and it’s ancient history. If Jobs lived he’d have faced the same challenge.
On the future of sports media
If someone had looked at sports media 25 years ago, and fallen asleep like Rip van Winkle, they’d have awaken to a world scarcely recognized. The multiple platforms of content and supply have proliferated, starting with the fact 20 years ago there were just three TV networks. Now Direct TV offers 300 stations and more sports on TV, many more games, and therefore more analysis, highlights and discussion. We’ve also seen the emergence of print writers crossing over to TV personalities.
The menu of sports options is stunningly large now, but print will have the burden of dealing with the next generation that essentially receives all their information over a computer screen or a mobile phone. What happens to newspapers? What about breaking events on the Internet, on talk radio; how will they maintain that role?
For many people the exodus of print writers going to the Internet, the audience is much larger. In this office none of my interns or young lawyers read daily newspapers. I get the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today, and others. But traditional media is not getting better. There are no great writers any more. There are no Jim Murrays. The confusion of papers that had standards of accuracy has been morphed into opinion from objectivity intermingled in a cacophony of information flow. It’s extraordinary the number of blogs, web sites and independent “news organizations,” and who knows their accuracy? There are few superstar sports journalists anymore. Many have no validity, who knows who they are?
TV will become a computer track, a delineation on how people take sports in. People born before 1965 want to watch it on TV with advances on HDTV, big screens. TV means games that are sharper, crisper, more real than before. The younger generation just wants content and will watch it on a mobile phone. Their definition on how they receive information is different.
The technological innovations are so that Direct TV will make a sleight of Sunday games that can be watched; one game at a time or four games in four sections, the station making them all available on a singlescreen.
Fans can text and talk “smack” with the friends on the screen, defining the game and the relation of the fan’s levels of interactivity. They will continue more innovation and different ways to enjoy sports programming.
Why does sports make so much more money today than in 1975? Sports right fees are loss leaders with no ability to recoup in advertising to what they spend in rights fees. The overall goal is to increase the overall stock evaluation of the network, sp there is more fractionalization on the TV dial. It’s harder for TV networks to find an audience. Fox was The Simpsons and Beverly Hills 90210. Rupert Murdoch decided to make NFL football showing promotions for all their programming and shows, and were able to get large numbers of viewers to tune in to the Monday-to-Friday broadcasts, making them profitable. Fans were used to tuning to that station for NFL games, and in very fractionalized market tended to tune in to the shows on that station. They needed something, some factor, to attract that audience.
The NFL in its purest form is at this moment by two-to-one the most popular sport in America. Five of the top 10 Nielsen rated shows were night NFL games. Of 100 entertainment options, football wins hands down. Fan attendance is something else. In 1994 attendance dropped 40 percent after the strike. When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and later Barry Bonds brought enhanced statistics, attendance increased dramatically. Since 1994 gross receipts of baseball have quadrupled as well as marketing, memorabilia, the baseball network, and ancillary revenue soruces.
Baseball brought itself back through clever marketing but football, like it not, is the most popular. There’s been a shift in people’s attention spans occasioned by people looking at big screen color TVs, texting, tweeting, multiple sources of sensory stimulation; it all has had a subversive effect on attention spans, this “McPaper” type of focus. A sport like football was built and grew with action in tighter quadrants as a once a week event, perfect to capture this paradigm.
Baseball comes through the prism of father-son relationships over years of following the game. The mind’s eye is seeing team’s from before that; thereof it is hard to explain to a European the emotional attachment of baseball.
When you realize way people take in information in sports, there are so many niches and new ways to experience sports; new angles, playing out on the Internet . . . the Internet has the most power.
I once imagined something called the “sports exchange,” where we would hire beat writers from all sports teams who would write daily ruminations on the teams, personnel moves; What it meant was you could sit in SF having grown up in Boston and get all the information on the Red Sox and the Patriots, as if you lived there. This was a new and creative idea that is now reality. New and creative ideas will continue to change the sports landscape.
We will always have content needs. Today there are women in sports media. When I was growing up there were no women on the TV news, no women on radio. The feminine voice was not as great as the deeper male tones. The first block against them was the locker room argument that there were naked bodies, but the truth is interviews are done in interview rooms so the cultural taboo is dropped. Men like looking at pretty women and vice versa, women like looking at muscular men.
People will always be reading books. They may read them on Kindle, but there will always be a need for chroniclers, historians, storytellers, and content. Interest in good writing will always exist. Words and perspective on history will be necessary. People will always want depth on things. Things that are more difficult to present will need to be looked at, all sorts of things. My advice to any writer is to get your words on web sites that get a lot of eyeballs, a lot of hits. Blogs, commentary, links; however it is done, this is the only way to market writing in this environment.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism