When I was a kid we didn’t have a TV. When we got one there were just two channels of TV available, I can still remember the excitement when two more were started, although my father stated that it just meant twice the amount of rubbish to watch.
And now? My TV provider offers 170 channels in 7 or 8 languages, and I can replay programmes up to 7 days later. In general these channels are funded by advertisers.
New platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon, Starz, Hulu, are changing how TV programmes are delivered to us. These platforms are working on a subscription model, which sounds great – no more ads – although companies pay big money for product placement and content tie-ins.
The companies are also creating content and publishing it in closed environment. For example;
Outlander, a programme about time travel in Scotland, is on Starz. Crown, a series about a young Queen Elizabeth II is on Netflix, The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, is on Hulu. And three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
There is so much content!
How we watch TV has changed;
- We’re likely to watch on our laptops, PCs, tablets or phones, rather than TV screens
- We tend to “binge watch”, because whole series are released at once we can watch the whole thing, rather than rationing ourselves to one episode per week.
- We use the “second screen” to provide a commentary on social media of what we’re watching.
In my lifetime we’ve gone from single source for viewing content to more than we can possibly watch. Those “morning coffee” conversations on tv are gone, because we now binge watch and at watch at different times. I saw an interview of some of the cast members of the Brideshead Revisited , and they commented that it was an event to watch a series on the day of release as it was released in 1981 – before video was common.
There’s a service being developed, called “Movies Anywhere” that goes some way into helping consumers access content from multiple suppliers without acquiring multiple subscriptions. It doesn’t cover all platforms, and for now it’s US only, but it’s a service the market is waiting for.
In the meantime I’m selling my TV, and stopping my cable connection, I’ll be wifi only and the queen of YouTube and (maybe) Netflix.