Television as we know it is dead. I know it’s still around, and on occasion we try and pretend that television shows and networks are still relevant. Television networks are nothing more than zombies wandering around looking for easy prey to devour. In my life I have seen television go from the absolute apex of success to hanging off the cliff grasping for survival.
Jimmy Kimmel was filming his talk show yesterday when they lost power in the studio. Did Jimmy cancel the show? Of course they didn’t, they shot the entire show on a Macbook. The show will air tonight (June 22nd) as shot. A network television show taped entirely with a laptop computer and a video camera. Why do we need these giant networks and all the politics and drama that goes along with it? The answer is that we don’t, but everyone hasn’t accepted it just yet.
Just about anyone can shoot HD quality video and put it online with ease. YouTube has changed the way we think about and watch video. Networks (at least the smart ones) put shows online. I record all network shows on the DVR to maximize my viewing time by chopping out the 30% of the time that is a commercial. I just don’t have time. I have 698 stations to watch at any time. I don’t even always know what channels shows air on, and honestly don’t care.
TV is now only for big events. The Super Bowl, World Cup, Game 7 (Lakers vs. Celtics), O.J. running in a White Bronco, and a few select other events that you have to see. The problem is for some of these events, the coverage is so watered down with choices, the quality suffers. We’re overloaded, never to recover. Remember when the networks would break-in with a Special Report? They don’t exist anymore because nobody would listen. Everything is “breaking news” today, and we see it on 14 news channels, online at 4 million websites, and in text messages from our friends. Twitter has become the de-facto place to turn for truly breaking news and totally false rumors, but that’s another story. Facebook and Social Media in general are such giants. Who knows where we’re going?
I don’t know how I feel about all of this. On one hand, the progress is great. How can you not love choice? News and entertainment are truly a la carte, and that can’t be bad. I do miss the element of the shared experience. We’ll never again experience something together as a people, everyone will plug in in their own way. Now I am starting to sound like an NBC executive, nostalgic and out of touch.
Gotta go and work on my own communications empire!