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Jay Leno, NBC, Value Depletion & Bankruptcy

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 14, 2008 4:45:51 PM

A news story quotes Jeff Zucker, NBC's CEO, as questioning whether NBC could continue to program a full 22 hours per week of prime time.  Another story announces that NBC has signed Jay Leno to do a nightly show from 10-11pm (I guess that reduces NBC's need for programming to 17 hours).  Also, news came out that the Tribune company has declared bankruptcy.

Wow!  How the mighty have fallen.  I understand that there are multiple causes for this, and I certainly don't want to be guilty of throwing too simple of an explanation for such failures, but I can't help but draw the conclusion that at the heart of all of these challenges is the failure to create any relevant value.

I remember when NBC epitomized "Must See TV."  NBC used to be innovative - they brought us Cheers, The Cosby Show, LA Law, Hill Street Blues and ER.  They had the patience to allow Seinfeld to find an audience and the wherewithal to cut Hill Street Blues and LA Law when they were losing their plot.  Today, they bring us two hour specials of Celebrity Apprentice, they've allowed ER to go beyond stupid to sublime and their idea of creative programming is to let Deal or No Deal run 3 - 5 times a week.  Now, they're going to turn over their 10 o'clock hour (the hour where NBC used to be its most creative) to Jay Leno.

No offense to Jay Leno (one night a week might even be very entertaining), but where's the creativity and originality?  Where's the imagination that GE brags about in their advertising?  Where's the focus on customers (viewers)?  The same can be said of the newspaper business - they've utterly failed to embrace the world the way their customers want it.

The more I read about businesses that are struggling, and the more I work with businesses that are thriving, the more I realize that if you just make sure that you solve a unique problem your customers are facing and stay focused on them, then you can bypass these things we call "recessions."  Take some positive action today and find a new problem you can begin to solve for your customers.

Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy