I have two boys aged 4 and 5 and they love television and it’s fascinating to watch them interact with the content dancing before their eyes. They will literally talk back to the television and dance if it tells them to. One of the new things my eldest has started to do is quote facts from adverts. For example, my mother was talking about putting some Vanish powder on the carpet to get rid of a stain, and he pipes up with “you have to leave it on for 20 minutes”. If only he listened to his parents as well as he does the TV.
The reason I mention my boys is that they have no idea about channels-only content. They ask for the show they want to watch when they want it, not understanding if it isn’t delivered to them instantly. They have no idea that when I grew up in the late 70’s and early 80’s kids TV was only on for a couple of hours a day and Saturday mornings, the rest of the time we had to entertain ourselves.
This is obviously not a revelation to most of us, but it makes me think: what is the future for channels as we know them? Surely BBC1,2,3,4 etc. will just become BBC-licensed and produced content. We will expect to be able to pick what we want from their selection of programs and radio shows. I know some will have concerns over finding new content if faced with a menu bloated in scale like a restaurant yet to be visited by Gordon Ramsey.
I believe most people find new shows through word of mouth anyway. Music is currently in the situation TV will be in in a few years if we are not careful: a mass of content distributed in hundreds of different formats on thousands of platforms. The good news is people are always finding new music though (they don’t pay for it, but they do find it).
I don’t know many people who watch live TV these days unless it is a sporting event. Why would you, when you can use the time to watch exactly what you want? I have heard stats along the lines of 60% of TV programming is watched live,. I don’t believe this tells the whole story, most of the working people I know who have kids record shows because they lead busy lives, can’t wait for something to be on, and then don’t want to sit through adverts. I know lots of people (including myself) who will start a show 15 minutes behind its broadcast so they don’t have to watch the commercials.
Surely the winner will be the company who works out how to deliver the following: Simple user interface, global day and date released content, and better quality than illegal downloading.
Simple to say, seemingly impossible to deliver.