Ok, I was going to start a long discussion on social networks, but I want to write all the pieces first, and I got distracted, ok sucked into Felicia Day's TV of the future discussion on Google+. <-- I think that link is viewable for anyone even if you don't have a Google+ account yet, and if you don't, why not? Anyway, before you go lose a few hours of your time, read the rest of this!
I've never paid for TV, I currently only get PBS over the airwaves. I wish we got networks sometimes, becuase there are occassionally shows on the networks that I enjoy and I'd watch them that way if I had the option, but I wouldn't set my life around it. I did and do watch those same shows on Hulu, or ABC.com when they had their TV broadcast thing, back in the Pushing Daisies days (even though that software was riddled with spy crap). Shows I enjoy get canceled every year. For a while my online friends asked me not to watch certain shows just so they wouldn't get canceled! (it was mostly a joke). My other coast online friends and I can't discuss shows after they air, because I have to wait until they are on the web AND the coasts still have a 2 hour time delay between them on shows.
All of this leads to a very antiquated TV situation. There are so many shows, and so many other forms of entertainment, it's hardly like its central to our culture. Sure I get burned a bit by not having a clue what the new reality show is. I miss references to some HBO show when someone quotes it on Facebook. Odds are though, I wouldn't watch them even if I could, they don't sound like something I'd actually enjoy. The friends who enjoy the shows I do, we still get to chat, in a somewhat delayed manner, and we quote out of old seasons to avoid spoilers. Yet, it is so very easy to live without TV. Ok, I don't get local news. I wish I got local news, and it is my responsibility to get national news over the internets, which in all respects is probably better than having some talking head try to reguritate it all at me in 15 mins or less. I mean when I read the news it takes longer than 15 mins!
TV is not necessary to communicate and socialize. I suppose in some circles it helps, but it's not required anymore. When I was a kid you had to watch certain shows. I'm on the playground every day of the school year, it doesn't matter anymore. Kids talk about stuff they watch, but if their friend doesn't watch it, or their friend doesn't have TV, it's no big deal! They either just explain the show based game, or better, they create something from their own imaginings. In fact kids talk more about movie characters than they do about TV ones, there are just too many and too little time to watch!
Maybe there is just too much TV, so people are moving away. Or maybe like me, there isn't enough worth shelling out thousands of dollars a year for a few shows when I could spend that time with my kids and that money on other things, when I have that money. Walmart posted profits for this quarter, even though their sales were down, siting that their core demographic was now poorer than ever - hmmm I wonder if those people had to give up TV when they gave up their extra frills at Walmart? (More on that another time - maybe)
Anyway, back to the main argument, if you didn't go sneak a peak yet, execs at Fox and ABC are cutting back on their internet offerings (even though they have high web viewership on many of their shows). The shows they are continuing to offer online will have such great delays that if you do watch on the air and you miss a show, you can no longer see it online before the next episode airs. Too bad for you if you think stuff should be seen in order, or like shows with complicated continually evolving stories. Even though the online systems have ads, and many have registration, in all ways, better advertising for you buck if you are in marketing, yet TV companies hate them. It doesn't make sense logically, and it should scare anyone that likes TV.
Then again, maybe we just have too much content out there for the amount of interest in the products advertisers have and viewing the show....... What do you think? What should TV in the next decade look like? How addicted are you to serial episodic passive media?