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Inauguration Media Wars: Web vs. TV

The New York Times reported last week that Barack Obama’s inauguration set new records for online video viewing. CNN alone, said the paper, provided more than 21.3 million streams – far ahead of the 5.3 million provided on Election Day. Broadcasters, eager not to be forgotten, responded today. In a letter to the editor, Dennis […]

The New York Times reported last week that Barack Obama’s inauguration set new records for online video viewing. CNN alone, said the paper, provided more than 21.3 million streams – far ahead of the 5.3 million provided on Election Day.
Broadcasters, eager not to be forgotten, responded today.

In a letter to the editor, Dennis Wharton of the National Assn. of Broadcasters argued that broadcast television “remains the single most dependable visual medium in America.” Noting that Internet users “experienced glitches and spotty online coverage,” Wharton said that television coverage was “live, clear and reliable.”

In a concession to the Obama administration’s well-known interest in expanding broadband to all corners of the country, the NAB called hailed this “laudable goal.”
But, the letter seemed to suggest, just don’t forget television – once a revolutionary development in media technology and now just the latest member of a proud club known as “old media.”

Why, even with “nothing more than a 13-inch TV set and a rooftop antenna,” the NAB says, viewers could watch “one of the most extraordinary days in American political history.”