Last Updated Mar 6, 2008 8:53 AM EST
It aired -- once. It bombed. It was pushed off to the Bravo network.
What went wrong? Was it truly a clash between old media and new, as many critics have written? That could be part of it, a case of the show's creators, Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (they were behind TV hits My So-Called Life and Thirtysomething) just not getting the Internet.
But innovation expert Scott D. Anthony has seen this all before, and it has little to do with generational differences. He calls it cramming, what happens when established, successful companies try to adapt what they did well in the past into new forms.
Stuffing The Turkey
Quarterlife got crammed twice, first as a TV program jammed into a MySpaceTV form, and then re-crammed back into a traditional broadcast model.
By trying to stuff the old into the new, square peg into round hole, you fail to take advantage of the new's uniqueness. In the early days of television itself, the first programs were merely radio shows filmed by cameras. Neither unique nor compelling.
So who will create a new model of video entertainment delivered profitably over the Web? Anthony argues it will be innovators from outside the industry who side step preconceived notions about duplicating what worked in the past.
Companies that break free will marry new content models that are attuned to the unique nature of the medium with a new business model that supports the content. Those that try to force-fit old models onto new mediums will struggle.Read Anthony's Harvard Online autopsy report on Quarterlife and then tell us the necessary key ingredients to build a winning commercial and artistic formula for Web-based entertainment.