The succes of modern TV

January 3, 2009 · Print This Article

We live in a strange World. In the YouTube age, it’s still the TV that is the most popular medium people enjoy. Not radio, podcast or internetvideo, no, the good ol’ TV. The internet did change our way of getting information, but we most love to watch the productions of multimillion organizations who produce the most average programs they can, to reach the most people. At their standards and schedules. Weird? Yes. Understandable? Also yes.

Now why is it, that in this modern age, where individualism is groing bigger and bigger, we still want to watch something that we didn’t choose, is not specific to our interests, and full of commercial messages that we also didn’t choose for.

The main answer? We need structure in our lives. All day long we have to make choices. What do I wear today? What do I eat? Decisions at work, choosing what to have for diner, and so on. So it is very comfortable that our entertainment is chosen for us. And hey, we’ve got choices enough, don’t we? The moviechannel for a good movie (we’ve probably already saw), CNN for the news around the world, FOX for the best TV series, local news at KYWW, Hallmark for classic movies and tv shows, MTV for clips and music, and 168 other channels to choose from.

That’s a choice isn’t it? Well, partially, yes, it is. Although you can not choose whether you watch 24, or Prison Break, that is decided by the channel owners. At Mondays at 10 its 24, Tuesdays at 8.30 its Prison Break. And because the series are that good entertainment, we schedule our own agenda around that. Or just take it as it is. And the commercial breaks? Well, time to take a leak, or something that revolves into that later on. Or do some social talking in the room with your wife or husband so she or he won’t accuse you of non interest in them.

Structure. Not having to choose. We want entertainment, so let it come. And the alternative is there as well. If you do want to choose your own entertainment, you rent a movie, or download your podcast and watch online video.

The problem with all the new media is that it is not structured. It comes when it comes, and stays there forever, waiting for you when you are ready for it. Besides, the quality of the common YouTube clips is far from the standard we have in our living rooms, on our 43” plasma screens and DTS sound systems. HD TV is getting pretty normal these days. And even if there are HD clips like on Vimeo, it still doesn’t bring structure in my entertainment needs. And it never will, because new media is all about Content on demand. Producers produce the content, you get it at your time. And that’s the beauty of it.

Now, new media is still growing, and it already passed the radio consumption, but will it replace TV as we know it? No, no doubt about that. TV watching may change, in other words, we start watching online content on our TV, like with Apple TV, but then again, sometimes we just want to sink into the couch, and use our remote control to make our virtual decisions bleeping through the channels of mainstream content. For one time of the day, no difficult choice making. Is it going to be Pop Idol, or 24? What’s it gonna be?