The Death of Television

The Death of Television While many are writing about the imminent death of Television, Evan Shapiro has a much broader take:

He starts by acknowledging what people thing:

The current and perhaps scariest Bogey Man yet is the INTERWEBS (duhn-duhn-DUHN!). The most recent doom-sayers predict ominously that audiences will “cut the cord” in favor of online video on their iPads, laptops and even on their big screens. The latest example of this gloom-o-logy is on full display in “The Death of Television May Be Just 5 Years Away” by Jim Edwards.

He then presents the evidence that television consumption has gone up by 25% recently because (or despite) many more outlets.

Technology not only did NOT erode viewing, it did the seemingly impossible, it actually created time — a new hour every day, seven new hours every week, 365 new hours — more than 15 additional days — every year. More people watch more television, now, than ever.

Once again, television has just refused to die. It has evolved.

As for those cord cutters… it is true that over the past year, paid TV subscriptions have flattened, or even declined. And, yes, technology has given audiences the power to disintermediate the advertisers who sponsor much of what is produced. These are indeed worrisome trends for an industry that relies on cable subscriptions for an enormous part of its revenues and advertising for most of the rest. It means that those of us in the business must adapt to the changing needs of the audiences we serve, in order to better reflect the value they attach to the programming we provide. We must change or risk becoming a sequel to the music industry.

I’m not entirely convinced the Networks can evolve fast enough, but they are not the essence of Television – the relationship between the producer and the audience is what’s paramount, and there are enough alternate channels being developed (and could be developed) that would make the Networks and Cable Channels as they are currently structured, irrelevant.

Clay Shirky has an interesting perspective in the Collapse of Complex Business Models, that suggests the current power players may end up out of the picture if they can’t adapt – and Shirky’s point is that complex systems can’t adapt, only become more complex until they collapse.



One thought on “The Death of Television”

  1. This is what I’ve been thinking for a while. People still want the content they just might not want to be limited to only getting the content on a fixed broadcast schedule.

    As a editor I’m not worried about going the way of the buggy whip maker because people still want high quality content. Sure, there are vloggers on YouTube making a living but consumers aren’t getting frustrated because they can’t get their favorite blogger via Netflix, iTunes, Amazon or Hulu onto their TV, computer, or mobile. People are getting frustrated because they can’t get their favorite movie/tv show (their favorite premium content) onto the device they want, when they want.

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