When I interact with a company, I like to know exactly what I’m getting. If your restaurant tells me it is a steakhouse, I expect steak to be highlighted in the menu offerings. I don’t expect tofu at McDonald’s. This seems to be Branding 101, at least in my humble opinion. In the world of media, particularly television, the idea of giving viewers what they expect has seemingly disappeared!

Maybe I shouldn’t discuss the fact that MTV (Music Television) started as a channel that showed videos. That all changed when the channel started offering “reality” shows. Soon, reality shows dominated and music was shoved to the back burner. The same thing happened with sister network VH1.

The biggest offender is the Weather Channel. Remember going to the Weather Channel for up-to-date weather 24/7/365? Those days ended a while back (it was bad enough when they “dumbed down” the reporting). Now I realize that when most of the country has dry and pleasant weather, ratings go down and it is completely boring for the on-camera meteorologists. However, there are times when active weather is happening and TWC is showing “Storm Stories” (which I would be happy to see on the Discovery Channel), or worse yet, a movie that has nothing to do with weather.

So now we have Music TV that doesn’t play music; a Weather Channel that doesn’t give the weather; HLN (Headline News) that doesn’t give headlines but runs talk shows, and a TV Guide Channel that shows movies instead of TV listings. I seem to remember reading about customer/viewer/listener expectations in the deep, dark, past. Is consistency still part of the media equation?

We have tight radio playlists because people want to hear what they want, when they want. In an era of personalized media, I’m not sure what the disconnect is on cable TV.

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