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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

December 30, 2007

Transforming Television Habits.

Thursday as I was sorting through e-mail, I was alerted by CNN of
Breaking News. The blurb said that the death of Benazir Bhutto
had been reported but not confirmed. I was startled, my first
thought being she wasn't that old. The second, more rational
thought, was that if she had died it would have been violently,
assassinated. By the time I clicked on-line the report of her
assassination had been confirmed and I switched back and forth
from to to get details and perspectives.

As I watched, feeling saddened and concerned at what might next
happen in that explosive region of the globe, I found a part of
myself stepping back and saying: oh my. Not about the death of
Bhutto, that had a much bigger reaction and my choice of words on
that is not printable. The "oh my" reaction was that I realized
that instead of reaching for the remote to turn on the television
to find out what was happening in the world, I simply minimized
one screen, opened a browser to and then another to The "oh my" moment was my reaction to how I chose to get
the news. Not through television but on-line and that led me to
other observations of my behavior this holiday season. I have
only watched television on a set when I have been on the
treadmill. I've been using the living room television not to
watch linear programming but to play DVD's. My "television
viewing" has been coming from exploring on-line video sites.

I am in the process of working with a client to help their
distribution division launch internet channels with content from
their library. We are planning to launch in a few weeks on four
sites: YouTube, Reeltime, VUZE and BiggyTV. You would have to be
sitting under a rock for the last year not to have heard of
YouTube but I would be surprised if many readers over thirty had
been to VUZE or heard of the others.

But I've been having a blast there the last days. I've been
watching, on my rather large computer monitor, all sorts of video
- mostly episodes of obscure BBC science fiction programs that
aren't available anywhere else. Over at Reeltime, I have been
able to look at the original A STAR IS BORN without bothering to
stop at the video store or go to the mailbox. There are episodes
of FLASH GORDAN - not the one playing currently on SciFi but the
Buster Crabbe version which aired Saturday mornings when I was a

This plethora of material, this seemingly unending video
cornucopia delivered almost effortlessly to my desktop has been
taking all the time I would have given to regular television
programs - I have been too busy exploring the digital universe to
watch ABC in real time. It's not that I haven't been watching
video on the web previously - a day doesn't go by without some
kind of web video experience. What I have become acutely aware of
this Holiday season is the depth of my transition from linear
television to digital distribution - and the degree to which I am
embracing the transition. [I was looking lustfully at an enormous
monitor when I made a trip to Staples earlier today.]

Most of my information input now comes on-line, from following
news stories like Bhutto's death to keeping up with the writer's
strike to, well, just about everything. I still read newspapers;
I like the feel of paper in my hands but it is now a secondary

As we move to a new year, an election year, another year at war,
the news will be filled with history making moments. What is new
this year is that more of us of all ages will be absorbing
breaking news in new ways, continuing the transformation of the
distribution of "television."