It's Not A Television, It's Just Another Screen
from the more-screen-less-keyboard dept
A popular theme at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is merging the internet with the television. As the WSJ reports, a number of companies have announced products that aim to bring net content into the living room: some LG televisions will be able to directly access Netflix’s on-demand service. Intel and Yahoo want to put widgets in TVs, and so on. This isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that is definitely gathering pace. Just as computer screens are becoming popular places for television content, TV screens are quickly becoming destinations for internet content, thanks to the likes of Netflix and the Xbox, the Nintendo Wii, Apple TV and other products. That means that viewers are moving more and more towards an internet-like viewing experience, one in which they access the content of their choice when they want it, not according to the scheduling department of a TV network.
So will the further spread of internet content to people’s living rooms hasten the demise of the TV channel? This is an idea that we’ve been kicking around for a few years now, that TV networks should unbundle their shows and move away from their schedule-focused format. In short, they need to stop thinking of themselves as broadcasters, and instead as content distributors, adapting their distribution networks to changing technologies and their viewers’ changing demands. Certainly DVRs are already doing this, and some cable companies are taking the steps that TV networks won’t by creating remote DVRs. But instead of embracing these developments and working to successfully monetize them, networks simply just try to shut them down. They must realize that television sets are nothing more than another screen for many types of content, not just on-ramps to network TV schedules. As it becomes easier for viewers to access internet content on their TVs, this lesson should become much clearer.