“Video killed the radio star” and now it’s their turn on the chopping block as online and streaming services comes after television. Television as we know it is dying and we as viewers are helping to kill it. And the television networks know it.
Before the creation and growth of digital streaming services, if a person wanted to watch a television show, they actually had to sit down in the living or entertainment room in front of the television and watch it from there.
Now, most of the major networks such as The CW, Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), American Broadcasting Channel (ABC) and Turner Network Television (TNT) all have apps that users can download onto a smart device in order to watch the shows created and produced by those networks.
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crunchyroll and even YouTube offer the ability to sign up for television now. However, television and streaming doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Let’s rephrase that earlier comment. The medium of television isn’t dying: the way people tune in and watch is. More people are utilizing mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets for streaming content as a matter of personal convenience.
According to a 2017 Accenture survey, only 23 percent of people globally preferred watching television on a television set, which is a 55 percent decrease from just the year before. More people would rather watch a show on their computer, phone or tablet than a larger screen mounted on the wall.
These people have become known to the industry as “cord-cutters,” meaning they are people who have canceled their cable television or satellite subscriptions, or “cord-nevers,” meaning people who never had a subscription in the first place. This doesn’t mean that they never want to watch television, they simply prefer watching their shows via the use of a digital streaming service.
These digital streaming services also know their viewers better than broadcast television networks.
A video streaming platform such as YouTube or Netflix can take the information about the shows that a user has previously watched or added to a playlist. This gives the user recommendations of other shows to check out on the platform based on this watch history as opposed to just checking TV Guide for something that sounds interesting. This results in users more likely to return to that platform and continue using it, as opposed to just checking TV Guide for something that sounds interesting.
Television is dying, but not the way we think it is. The medium itself does not seem to be going anywhere as a form of entertainment. However, the image of a family gathering around on the couch to enjoy a show together has given way to the mobile and more individually tailored viewing experience.
Carlee Jo Blumenthal
Frank Okay for SUU News