Why Network TV is On Its Way Out: The Roast Beef Example

January 29, 2008 at 5:18 am 1 comment

In Massachusetts, there’s a weird culinary phenomenon happening.

There are a ton of ma & pa roast beef sandwich specialty shops. According to Google Maps, 6,163. (Quick plug for my local beef: Billy’s Famous Roast Beef of Wakefield.)

When I go to one of these local places, I always get my sandwich the same way- “regular beef, cheese, pickle, mayo, & (bbq) sauce,” otherwise known as a “regular beef, 3-way with pickle.” The “regular beef 3-way” is the most popular way people order their sandwich, as there is no such thing as a 2-way, or 4-way.

My friend Sean gets his sandwich with mustard, mayo – and salt, a combination I would never dare to experiment with.

What does this story have to do with network television?

Network television doesn’t ask you what toppings you want on your roast beef sandwich- it just gives you whatever is most popular. In this case, both Sean and I would get a regular beef 3-way. I’d be mostly satisfied while Sean would not be satisfied at all.

Cable television always asks how you want your sandwich prepared. In this case, Sean and I would get the sandwich tailored exactly how we want it.

Which sandwich shop are we most likely going to return to?

Cable may have less viewership than network television, but which is more likely to have a specific viewing pattern?

(Author note: Yes, a couple Arby’s are in the MA listing, but compare that 6,000+ to the search “roast beef” in “virginia” … I’ve clicked through to page 11 and there is nothing but Arby’s. The 6,000+ may not be 100% ma & pa, but don’t be fooled – roast beef is king on the north and south shore.)

UPDATE: From Mediaweek – NBCU’s Zucker: TV Business Must ‘Reinvent the Wheel (Hey, Big Z – the wheel isn’t broken. It’s just turning different.)


Entry filed under: marketing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Reebok and Kool-Aid Partner for Sneakers Snuka and Piper: Nostalgia

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. pakipics  |  January 29, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Technology is changing rapidly and the evolution of Internet and Live Streaming has just squeezed all the TV channels into one site.

    (comment edited by author)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


This blog is no longer being updated here!

But you're in luck because you can now get the same great content at the new brianFeener.com!

Check it out today!


Business analysis with a marketing, technology, and entertainment slant. Anything is fair game so long that it is interesting.

Let me know what you think in the comments or send me an email.

%d bloggers like this: