Preston Beckman was a network programmer at NBC and Fox for over 30 years. He brought the country “Must See TV” at NBC and was witness to the the start of the reality revolution when he was at Fox. Now, he’s retired and spends his days opining on Twitter about television, politics, and everything in between as his nom de plume, “The Masked Scheduler.”

In this Martini Shot Conversation, Beckman discusses the sweeping changes occurring to the business as it converts from broadcast to streaming and what it means to be a programmer in the 21st century. He also tells some hilarious stories from the olden days when broadcast networks ruled the airwaves, the culture, and the water cooler, and a 20 share could get you canceled.

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Published in: Culture, Entertainment

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  1. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Good podcast.

    A couple of comments on streaming television.

    On Rob’s problems having to search for shows on Google to determine what streaming service to use, if you’re logging onto these apps direct from your “smart” television you’re doing it wrong.  Despite my having a “smart” television, I’ve been using an Amazon Fire Stick, and using their search feature to find what episode is on what streaming service.  Since I subscribe to 3rd party streaming services through the Fire Stick, including Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+ and HBO Max, the experience getting to whatever show I want is fairly seamless.

    I’m sure that equivalent competitors like Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV give you a similar almost seamless experience.

    Another advantage of having a Fire Stick or equivalent device is that many hotels now tacitly allow you to get behind the television and plug that device into the HDMI slot, so you bring your various subscriptions with you.  It’s small enough to pack.  You may have to pay extra for the hotel’s premium WiFi.

    And when I visited my brother and his family and we wanted to watch a show that was on a service I had subscribed to but he had not, I again plugged in my Fire Stick into his TV and we watched it.  No special login required.

    On streaming services having ads, I think that there will be holdouts.  In the case of Hulu, they have a two tiered subscription model, and I choose to pay extra for the no-ad subscription.  In the case of YouTube, I don’t pay them anything, and I put up with the ads.  In the case of Netflix, if they ever have ads, I agree with Preston Beckman that they will also have a two tiered subscription model that includes no ads.  Or, as Rob hinted, Netflix will have a different brand name that has ads.

    Recently on one of Rob’s passive aggressive rants against streaming television (on GLoP?  Or perhaps the flagship podcast), he mentioned Criterion.  I checked it out, and I enjoy it.  I’m also subscribed to The Great Courses and am finding some good stuff there.

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I use both Chromecast and the smart TV depending on the circumstances. Mostly the smart TV does OK with youtube and its subscriptions. 

    Gonna have to listen to this

    • #2
  3. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Funny thing. When the Sub Beacon was still on Ricochet, the guys constantly predicted the demise of Netflix.

    I guess they were as wrong about that as they were about Trump.

    • #3