It’s funny because it’s true

Remember back in November when David Lyle, CEO of the National Geographic Channel, appeared at an international conference for documentary producers, and went head-to-head with John Wilson, a Senior Vice President at PBS? It was a breathtaking moment: National Geographic, which once proudly showcased its award-winning documentaries on PBS, was presented as the counterpoint to PBS in a Low Road vs. High Road debate.

Evidently, the folks at PBS think this distinction is worth emphasizing (and I’m afraid they’re right):

For more details, see this

  • cdwidea

    uh…that PBS station airs Market Warriors and Call the Midwife! – i’ve seen them, give me a break. Although that campaign is funny.

    • C – It’s not a black-and-white issue. Even the channels that are trying to maintain some quality standards slip a bit here and there. My main concern is: Where is NGS/NGC on the Quality-to-Trash Spectrum? And in which direction are we heading? (In the past five years, I’d say we’ve generally moved in the wrong direction.)

      • cdwidea

        nor did i say it was black and white – just pointing out they hypocrisy. PBS has gone down further in quality, in my opinion, over the past 5 years than NGC – but its all subjective. Plus, outside of the way overhyped Downton Abbey – PBS isn’t being watched by more people these days, but less (at least the stats I could find) and they are old as dirt. Perhaps they are out of touch and not understanding the marketplace….??? Shouldn’t they be growing by leaps and bounds because they are such ‘high quality’????

        This ad, while funny and true for many networks – Discovery, TLC, History all further afield than national geographic – is disingenuous. thats okay, its what advertising does, I suppose – but also shows me that PBS is full of crap like the rest of them. Put them on a pedestal if you’d like, most of the rest of America has moved on, sadly, from PBS.

        • “Sadly”? Why “sadly”? You said in a different comment that the only thing that matters is whether or not people tune in to watch.

          • cdwidea

            Doesn’t mean I don’t think its sad. it is the only thing that matters in commercial TV – as for PBS, it matters almost as much- but people make TV shows to be seen, write blogs to be read- so yea, it matters. I think its sad what’s happened to PBS- is that not okay? Weird comment, Alan.

          • I’m not sure if you’re sad because PBS is producing tabloid-style shows (“Call The Midwife!”) OR because PBS is “full of crap” OR because PBS is “out of touch” OR because PBS “isn’t being watched by more people these days.”

          • cdwidea

            yes to all of those,but also not sure why it matters.

          • It only matters if you have expectations, or standards, that you expect certain organizations — and people — to meet. Your being “sad” suggests disappointment, and that suggests you have expectations & standards. (A good thing!)

            Re: NGS — I expect almost nothing from David Lyle. He is who he is, and doesn’t really pretend to be anyone else. But John Fahey? He’s playing a game that might have seemed clever ten years ago… but I don’t think it’s sustainable. He wants to be all things to all people (high road, low road, all roads in between), and I don’t think that’s possible. John might say: “I am the Consumer Market, made flesh” — but I can’t see how his strategy can work. And neither can the other brand experts I’ve interviewed.

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