Skip to main content

Dear Steve Levitan: Don't take 'Modern Family' offline!

James Hibberd reports:

If it was up to Steve Levitan, his ABC hit "Modern Family" wouldn't be available online.

During an ABC-sponsored coffee break at TCA, Levitan said he's unsuccessfully lobbied Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney to remove online versions of his hit show.

Noting there's roughly 2 million people watching "Modern Family" episodes online whose viewership is not fully monetized Levitan said that, in theory, those viewers could be watching the comedy on regular ad-supported TV.

I'm one of those 2 million viewers. And I need to let Mr. Levitan know something: I'm not going to watch "Modern Family" on TV if you take it offline. I don't have a TV. (I don't say that snobbishly; I'm obviously watching TV shows anyway.)

If you take "Modern Family" off Hulu, then, one of three things will happen.

* I will stop watching "Modern Family" entirely. There's no money in that for you!

* I might hypothetically watch, ahem, less than fully legal feeds of "Modern Family" that will be easy to find online anyway. There's no money in that for you!

* I will wait a year or two for "Modern Family" to show up on Netflix Streaming, or some after-the-fact placement on Hulu, and watch it then. In which case, you probably get some money -- but only about as much as you're getting now!

As Levitan surely knows -- or, at least he should -- 2 million viewers online isn't really 2 million viewers he's not getting on television. Some people might go back to the TV, surely, but a lot won't. Instead of seeing the 2 million viewers of "Modern Family" online as "not fully monetized," he should instead think of them as "additional monetization we might not be getting otherwise." Hulu is ad-supported, after all.

The web video genie is out of the bottle. It's not going back in.


KhabaLox said…
The wife and I are Modern Family TV watchers, but like probably a significant (and growing) proportion of TV viewers, especially of shows like Modern Family that (I'd guess) skew younger, we watch on DVR. I don't know if Nielsen accounts for that, but they aren't really getting money from me.

I think the future of TV will be a Borg-like assimilation by the Web. Our screens are increasingly becoming portals to the same world. I'm interested to see how Google TV works out, but I think eventually the TV in your house will be a big, touch-screen and infrared/radio remote controlled VDT for a household computer system that integrates with the web (and Hulu, Netflix, etc.)

Popular posts from this blog


I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…