Michael Rogers argues that the TV industry will be able to avoid the mistakes that the music and print industries made when they went online and digital. How sweetly naive:

While many magazines and newspapers are attracting a large Web audience and lots of advertising, the revenue may never match what they made in the real world. Print’s future on the Web: downsizing.

The truth is that Michael is half-right — the Web will indeed “downsize” ad-supported media industries, but to say that TV will somehow be immune is wishful thinking at best. For years, TV networks have held advertisers hostage with their extortionist “upfront” market practices. When advertisers start shifting their buckets of money online, TV will face the same fierce competition for ad dollars:

But it turned out there is enormous competition for ad dollars on the Web — community sites, games, search engines, and soon even application software, all competitors that print never had to face in the real world.

These are also competitors that TV never had to face in the “real world.”

Micheal thinks the TV industry will reap the rewards of first trying to figure out which business models work online:

When you step back, it almost looks like an industry-wide research project, throwing a half-dozen business models at the wall to see which ones stick. As soon as winners emerge, you can bet the rest will follow — television executives are, if nothing else, very good at copying each other.

Even if they do find the most successful model, that doesn’t mean they will end up with a larger slice of the pie once the lion’s share of the dollars are flowing online. TV is taking a sledgehammer to the dam, and they better hold their breath when it bursts.