Tonight, when you go home and, instead of turning on your TV, you sit down to your computer to watch Henri the Cat with Ennui, Tuberville the Series, Overtime with Bill Maher, Big Bang Bloopers season 4, the AIM video stream – or whatever it is you watch on YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, or your favorite website – you’ll be joining the tens of millions of Americans who are precipitating a media sea change the likes of which we haven’t seen since the invention of television.
I realize that it’s become cliché to point this out. I bring it up not because I think that this is new information, but because this seismic shift from television viewing to web consumption has real, immediate effects on Arlington Independent Media. Obviously, as TV viewers continue to migrate to web platforms, AIM will have to move more and more content online, and we’re implementing a comprehensive strategy for taking advantage of the opportunities that the web 2.0 offers media content providers.
But, the real issue for AIM is money. As many of you know, AIM is funded through agreements between Arlington County and the cable TV providers Comcast and Verizon. Our operating funds – the money that pays 80% of the staff salaries, insurance bills, utilities, office supplies, etc. – are determined as a percentage of Comcast’s gross cable revenue. Unfortunately, the profits from broadband internet access are not included in the calculation of gross revenue for the purposes of funding AIM. This means that every time a Comcast customer drops cable from their service because they’ve decided that they can watch everything they want online, AIM loses money.
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