Miruna Codeanu

Offline vs online television, place your bets

In espresso on April 23, 2013 at 6:51 am

“Old media versus new media” has been the talk of the last 5 years. It was focused on the print segment of mass media. It was where the consequences were more obvious, but there’s more to media than print, there’s television and it was only a matter of time until this discussion rose. It was logical that television was next. I personally tend to believe that print will survive as a niche targeting nostalgia. Ask me, it is happening as we speak: general newspapers are closing while niches are growing. Ask me, print will survive thanks to the art lovers, hipsters and hedonists.

I see a discussion rising: the death of television. Sure, it is still incipient, but there are premises, like for example, this post on Forbes Magazine: Netflix Family Plan beats HBO in subscribers and HBO is like big, right? So, we have an online television beating an offline television in subscribers. You might argue that Netflix does not have its own content but it does have some content and it is growing and will probably grown into adding more content. This is just beginning of round 1, place your bets. As always, I bet on the internet. Not necessarily on Netflix, maybe Google Television, maybe Facebook Television. Yes, I do believe the future belongs to those who integrate and Google and Facebook  are the ones having enough date to endlessly engage its users based on consumer profiles.

Question is: will television as we know it, survive the internet? If regarding printed media I said it will, I have some doubts regarding television. It will probably survive with its target reduced to the elders and conservatories. While niche print targets the nostalgic users but somehow at the same time active internet users such as: hipsters and the adjacent, television’s target is not the same. Television is usually general and mainstream, due to high costs, it needs to target masses with, of course,  the spared question regarding efficiency. Television is rarely sufficiently niche enough to target the trendsetters and trendsetters started migrating towards other media channels some time ago, Netflix is only making is legal and official.

General printed media failed due to its inability to update the content fast enough. Television does not have this problem. However, they both lack the possibility of interacting with the audience and this is the point where everybody agrees social media wins and old media loses the battle. While, there’s hope for printed media, the future may be quite dark for television. Sure, it will be a very slow death, concomitant with the aging of the population, but as soon as the elders and conservatories will stop being an audience, television will lose its consumers. Yes, if you have an aging target you have a problem, because at a certain point they will leave this world which also translates into losing your target, and the next generation replacing them will definitely have other consumption habits, especially in the age of 2.0 . Niche print media was able to attract and commit trendsetter, but it could be that television will fail doing so from various reasons: firstly,  television is expensive to deliver and it might not be worth is for a small niche, television does not allow choice, television gathered some pretty negative values along the time, associated with mass culture to the point of illiteracy, baggage which trendsetter will clearly not want to carry.

My bets: Television? Slow death. Netflix? Rise. Netflix as we now know it? Slow rise? Social Netflix? Definitely a winner.


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