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That's true with cable and it's true with a newspaper. I went to a breakfast the other day,
where young Sulzberger [Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.] talked about the future of the New
York Times, and almost every paragraph of his remarks he talked about the importance of
“content.” Sure. That's why you spend 50 cents for a copy of the Times. You can get your
news elsewhere, but not as good, for the most part, as you get in the Times. So content--it
shouldn't surprise anybody that it's product that makes things go.
Advertising can get you to sample; but it can't keep you. And the product, if it's quality,
you'll stay with it. But advertising can get you to try it or to try some feature that you hadn't
been aware of before that the product has. But, boy, if it disappoints you after you've tried it,
all the advertising in the world isn't going to make you stay with it.
The flow of the program schedule has an element of “getting you into it.” But if you don't like
it, you're not going to stay there. And I'd rather have a strong program ahead of a weak
program, in an effort to build. Frequently, if you look at the schedule in the early days, you'll
find, as the fall schedule opened, there'll be a very strong program--let's say 8 to 8:30--and a
very strong program 9 to 9:30, and there'll be a new program in between. We always used to
talk about that as a protected, “hammock” position, where it was suspended on each end by a
strong program. Then you get people to stay with it and sample it, and frequently they'll stay
with it. But only if it's something that appeals to them.
But this is going to be a different ball game anyway, because you've got all the cable channels
now that can give you different kinds of program.
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