What is the future of television?
By Andrew Foreman
In a generation growing up with more accessible and interactive forms of media, is the future of the television in jeopardy?
With television being the most recognised and accessible form of entertainment as well as being a device for finding out what is happening in the world, it is strange to think that there would ever be a time where something could challenge a format as huge as television. Yet change is happening more and more each day as social media and online streaming is growing in popularity.
Research has shown that interactive media such as social media and online streaming is rising in popularity while cable television sales are slowly declining in yearly contract commitments. Research has also shown that the individuals that use this growing format of media with sites such as Netflix are in the 18 – 24 age range while the demographics of the average individual who mainly watches television is aged between 40-55 based on Yougov surveys.
Obviously both platforms have their positives and negatives. For example the strength of the television over the online streaming media is that it can air live news and sports. The only way people who use multimedia platforms can do this is by downloading apps onto their devices, an example being the BBC mobile app or subscribing to their services. However, this does not mean the television is superior. A weakness of the television is that it is all based on a time schedule and is not as user-friendly. Online networks do not share this fixed style; there are no advertisements nor schedules, plus you have an expansive selection of shows, films and specials to watch compared to the television that uses time slots and needed to pay extra monthly for more channels.
The question is, why is it changing? A possible answer could be because of the new generation of children and teenagers who have spent their lives growing up with this new technology, understanding it better and using it so often in their daily lives that it just feels natural to them. Studies have actually shown that over 50% of the teenage population use social media as their main source of news. While it can be argued that the older generations who are less familiar with this technology might struggle to keep up to date with all the technological updates, this could be why some stick to what they are comfortable and familiar with being the television.
Some companies have realised that change that is upon us and have started to adapt to this new form of media to grab the attention of more audiences. A prime example of this being the recent change that BBC Three did, switching their broadcasting completely from airing on television to being online only.
Why did BBC Three made this changes? It is due to the younger audience they were attracting and decided to form BBC Three into a product best suited for them. By BBC Three making this change they are now able to have more flexibility with their broadcasting as well as focusing more on british content.
It is not unusual to see big television companies try to adapt to the new format however; most major television stations nowadays have some sort of internet platform that they can gain support from. Television stations such as the BBC, ITV and Channel Four all have online catch up television services now such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Catch up and 4OD. With these platforms, people who missed or want to re-watch a show can just go online to either their respective websites or apps to re-watch with no time schedule which is ideal for the individuals.
A poll was also posted onto social media to see what format of media people prefered between watching television for TV Shows, Films as well as live news and sport compared to online streaming services such as Netflix, Youtube and Twitch.
In this poll, 117 individuals voted and the overall winner by just over two-thirds of the votes was the online streaming services at 68%.
We thought it would be insightful to hear the opinions of someone about this topic so we decided to interview Alex Tallada from Stockholm, Sweden to get his views.
We asked him where he saw television in the future. Alex said that he thinks it will stay for a while as families like to watch television together however it will slowly die as the future proceeds.
You can listen to the whole six minute interview with Alex with the SoundCloud clip below. We must disclaim that the language is mature so please listen with caution.
So in conclusion and to answer our question “what is the future of television?” the answer is simple. Television will never truly die out due to competition. Instead it will continue to change and adapt to the new technologies and methods of viewing just like BBC Three has recently done. Plus while this is happening, online interactive networks such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube will continue to grow in popularity and gain viewership as it has done over the previous few years. With these networks now starting to air their own original content to gain the interest of new viewers while owning the rights to have other popular shows such as Breaking Bad and House MD, it is clear that this new style of media is not only here to stay, but will continue to expand and capture the attention of the future generations.
We would love to hear your opinions on this topic so please feel free to leave a comment and share and tell us your thoughts.