Channel quantity and quality

Years ago, when there were a couple dozen television stations, someone [1] speculated that when we got more channels we’d also get better content.

The argument was that people are more similar in the base interests than in their more refined interests. Therefore if there are only a few channels, they will all appeal to our basic instincts. But if you have hundreds of channels, there is the potential for a few of the channels to offer more refined content. In short, the prediction was that more channels would lead to better content.

What about now? Not only do we have hundreds of television channels, you could say we have millions of channels since we have millions of people producing content online, some of it quite varied. But you could also say in a sense we’re back to three channels. But instead of ABC, CBS, and NBC, we have Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. And when you don’t have many channels, you aim your content at the amygdala.

 

[1] I don’t remember who said that. Maybe it was George Gilder. Sounds like something he would have said.