Days of Change

Everything New is Better Forever | June 9, 2015

I came across this post from a website called Stop the Cap. The proprietor writes a lot about how greedy cable companies are and how no one wants to pay for TV and the internet should be virtually unlimited (he praised Lithuania’s cheap internet today). What I’m writing about is his eulogy for the concept of linear TV. This is the “old” way where you watch a program at the time it is scheduled on a broadcast of cable channel. Many people now watch on DVR, online, or in an “on demand” basis. Supposedly this is better because the number of commercials is less and the fast forward button is handy.

I remember about 7-8 years ago when Facebook basically killed MySpace. A lot of glowing stories came out about the company. Then there were the stories of ruthlessness and intellectual property theft. Now, it’s about data mining and breaking any semblance of privacy. Facebook has wanted people to use their real identity for years, but now they are enforcing it for technical support and page locking. You need to send them the same kind of documentation you need to cash a check.

Non-linear TV has some attractive selling points. Once you have an internet connection, (which isn’t that cheap) the content is free. There are fewer ads. You can watch when you want. YouTube has a larger variety of shows. Netflix made “binge watching” commonplace. It’s a new era where you can mainline entertainment.

What I see overlooked are the drawbacks. Ad revenue brings in a lot of money. Broadcast networks with the most ad money have better shows with more famous actors and higher production values. Most shows on the internet and many on cable frankly suck. The paucity of ads on internet sites is indicative of the fact that there’s not a lot of advertiser interest. Plus, the internet is rife with technical issues. I can’t remember the last time I was watching a direct cable to TV set where I saw “Buffering” in the middle of the screen.

TV is becoming more narrow casted. Some of the things I watch on the lowest rated cable networks are actually old shows like “Fantasy Island.” I know some of the YouTube “stars,” especially the ones who get their real pay day in the form of traditional advertising. You can chase having to see ads, but broadcasters (or narrow casters) will just do like they did in the really early days of TV. They’ll start putting Corn Flakes and Pepsi right in the plot lines of the episode.


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1 Comment

  1. It’s a new era where you can mainline entertainment.

    Knowing you to be a very deliberate writer, I appreciate that your use of the your term “mainline” is purposeful. Point well taken for the self-indulgent audience of a self-indulgent entertainment industry.

    Comment by Mary — June 10, 2015 @ 1:25 am

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