“Television” By Tara Lupus, created with LunaPic.
Not so long ago, television was literally a box on legs sitting in the corner of your lounge room broadcasting live television. It was simply a radio with pictures.
Think about what television is used for today. Depending on how you look at it, it could be a big flat screen on your wall in the lounge room, or it could be in the palm of your hand with a wire to your ear.
I believe television’s definition will alter as we move through time, transforming our understanding and perception and the meaning of the word: television, as we are already witnessing. I argue against the idea that television is dead and consider we are simply moving through another transition period. The word ‘dead’ would mean that television is deceased.
Television has experienced revolutionary changes, and is now an extremely powerful-networked object. Scholars have scrutinized Television, analysing the past, present and future. Studies include the difference between network and networked Television, Internet TV and TV’s not just used for TV. Television studies have a long tail, with a range of different areas of study. In this blog, I define Television as programmed FTA (free-to-air) broadcasting via a television set.
Free-to-air broadcasting is competing with internet catch up TV services such as Netflix and Stan. I acknowledge that free-to-air television viewing is still available and could be facing disruption by competitors such as Netflix and Stan services.
Ever since its invention, the concept of television has undergone institutional change. Free-to-air is locked in a battle for content and value amongst consumers from its competitors as mentioned earlier. Internet streaming services have disrupted the free-to-air broadcasting. However, living in the digital age, technology is constantly evolving, and it could be argued it is improving many aspects of our lives today. Underpinning the complexities FTA is facing, viewers control their own media consumption, becoming their own personal programmers. We live in a time where people have so many different time pressures, and we no longer live with the traditional 9-5 working hours. Because of the high demands of family, work, and other commitments, technology has evolved and adapted to our busy routines in order to be able to keep up with the changes in society. As a result of the different platforms, devices and styles of viewing, consumers are able to tailor their consumption which works best for their personal lifestyle.
FTA television via the TV Set does not require viewers to pay for the channels but displays commercials and is programmed. Netflix and other services require a membership and subscription, but sources do not display commercials during content. Viewers can access a range of content such as movies, TV episodes, and documentaries whenever and wherever they want without ads, unlike FTA via the TV Set. With the rising craze of the internet and converging technologies, will everyone be able to afford to keep up? Could there be a high demand to keep FTA from people who solely rely on FTA and it is their only method of television? Is this generational? Will FTA die around the same time as the older generations who grew up with only FTA?
Internet streaming services may disrupt the process of FTA television. However, FTA television is still available. A criticism of my argument could be FTA might not be dead, but the lack of control from programmers displays it is slowly dying and citizens are gaining more control over their own content selection. FTA through the TV set is still here, the internet has not taken over all aspects of television completely. One way that FTA television is trying to bridge this gap, is through catch up TV so consumers can include it into their busy lifestyles. Is this enough for FTA to be considered a vital part of our television consumption? Will this be enough to stop it from dying out?
The ‘box in the corner’ is still here. What will happen if free-to-air is no longer available? How will the other services and platforms respond?
In future posts, I will explore this topic and converging technologies in more depth.