One thing I’m interested in at the moment is the future of TV. Just like publishing, well newspapers are at the sharp end, but there are also magazines and books, which is being dramatically reshaped by the internet, the future of TV is uncertain.
Do you watch TV in real time ads and all?
I’m sure TV and the networks will continue to exist more or less in their current form for many years to come. Retirees and baby boomers won’t be ditching their TV sets anytime soon. In Australia we’re still undergoing the transition to digital TV and the switchover won’t be fully complete until the end of next year. So I think many households are in the midst of choosing set-top boxes and new digital TVs.
I think there’s probably a small number opting for internet-connected TV but this requires home networking, the tricky bit, to properly bring the internet to the TV. I’m sure this well develop with time, but it does take a bit of home engineering to install the set-up and I’m not sure that wireless is fast or reliable enough to make it an option.
TV networks need to be looking right now at ways to compete with the ease and availability (and variety) of shows that are offered online. Just look at the state of newspapers here and in the UK and the US to see how the internet affects legacy media like publishing and TV that doesn’t see what’s happening online.
Viewers want content when it’s first screened and can’t be kidded that it’s a time or distance thing that keeps the latest series of Mad Men, Breaking Bad or Veep away from TV screens in Australia when it’s currently running in the US. This is just one issue that will force networks, whether they like it or not, to adapt.
Viewers are also getting better at skipping ads by watching recorded programs to skip the ads or downloading free-to-air programs from the internet without ads. I read a story today that looks at the rise of ‘social TV‘ as a way to keep viewers in from of their teles watching shows in real time to keep the eyes on the ads too. Networks are launching their own apps to encourage people to talk about a show on social media as it’s running as well as participate in polls or other interactive elements. This is a smart ploy and will probably work to a certain extent. Afterall, tweeting about The Voice the next morning isn’t going to play very well for you online.
But this won’t stop the force of the internet as an innovator or ‘disruptive force’ as it’s currently being labelled. TV shows will more and more go straight to online through internet-only channels supported by advertising and subscriptions.
Amazon is looking to create original TV series and if you’re keen, you can pitch your idea for a new series to Amazon Studios. I’ve read about other similar internet-only TV. But in Australia, as with so much tech innovation, we’re lagging behind with internet TV services but it will happen eventually. It probably won’t come from Telstra or Foxtel but sooner or later a Hulu or similar will get going downunder.
I’d love to have more options with programs for TV and I’d certainly pay for it. I don’t like pay tv as it is in Australia where you pay a huge amount per month for a huge amount of TV that you don’t want to watch. I’m excited by the prospect of freeing my TV viewing from what’s offered with the free-to-air broadcasters.
Now if I could just find the time to think up a new TV, I’d pitch it to Amazon Studios too.
What do you think? Are you keen on watching TV on the internet?