The future of television
The future of how we watch television is changing, apparently. The TV apocalypse is nigh and before you have time to change the channel everyone will be watching a myriad of programmes online creating a fragmented viewing experience.
Imagine Christmas in a world where the Radio Times has become extinct. There will be no more Doctor Who special or family film broadcast just after Christmas lunch. Instead we will all be locked into our individual viewing spheres with video on demand (VOD) becoming the norm. We can watch the Queen’s speech in July or the Wimbledon final in October. It will be television anarchy.
Well, don’t believe the hype or so says Patrick Barwise, Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing at London Business School. He explains that although viewing patterns are changing, it will be less than what some people are suggesting, and it will be taking place well past the year 2020.
Professor Barwise’s research in conjunction with Actual Customer Behaviour, which has carried out a study analysing viewer behaviour, shows that Live TV still accounts for 80% of viewing in homes and that this percentage is rising slowly, if at all. So, the overwhelming majority of people still watch programmes live, meaning that it is still a shared social experience.
He goes on to say that the way we watch television is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. “They’re all about watching regular linear TV from the regular linear schedule, either live or time-shifted. Far from heralding the death of linear TV channels, they all depend on those channels for content.”
Time-shifting refers to watching a programme at a different time to when it was originally broadcast, either on a catch up service or using a personal video recorder. So instead of staying in to watch the latest episode of the X Factor, we can watch it at a time that is more convenient for us. Television is simply shaping itself around our lifestyles but it is still based on programmes from an original schedule, while VOD, including short video clips as well as movies and TV on demand, is still tiny a proportion of TV viewing.
In terms of online viewing taking over from television as the primary method to watch programme, Professor Barwise says; “As a physical channel, the internet is less reliable, lower quality and more expensive than broadcasting. Many people still don’t use the internet and, even in 2020, many won’t have adopted broadband and internet-enabled TV. Finally, this [television] is an extremely and increasingly well-served market which represents extraordinary value for money.”
Therefore, it is evident that our viewing patterns are changing and becoming less cohesive, but there is still a place for the television schedule and live viewing. And of course there will always be events that will bind us together like the Royal Wedding or the Olympics, so we have some time yet before the television revolution.
Picture:Getty ImagesTagged in: Actual Customer Behaviour, television, video on demand
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