I wasn’t sure about it until lunchtime today, but now I’m sure. TV is dead to me. It’s not only merely dead; it’s really most sincerely dead. Muerto. Over. Stick a fork in it … it’s done! I sat down for lunch and turned on the TV. I wanted to watch some news. You can probably guess what happened.
First to CNN. No news, just pharma commercials for ailments I do not have (at least I don’t think I have them). Then to MSNBC. 120-second, supplemental Medicare commercial. Nope, not for me. Then to FNC and another supplemental Medicare commercial. Back to CNN. Still in the commercial pod. OK. Forget news, maybe I’ll just find something entertaining. Over to HGTV. Commercial. Over to TBS. Commercial. Over to WNBC. Bump out, then commercial. WABC. WCBS. Same, same. Just under 10 minutes on the clock, and the only content I could find on any broadcast channel was a commercial or a tune-in promo. I turned off the set.
What is TV ‘the Platform?‘
When I speak of the death of my relationship with television, I am speaking about traditional broadcast television, which includes local television stations, national television networks, cable television networks and local cable channels. I’ll call this group TV “the Platform” as opposed to streaming video content you might consume on a television set, which I’ll call TV “the Art form.”
Come on, Shelly! It’s not really dead
It’s true that TV is not really dead. The business part of the business is still a multibillion-dollar industry. But don’t let the top line deceive you. TV “the Platform” is just holding on. And this time, it’s serious. Consumers have choices they’ve never had before, and they are empowered by technology and new behaviors which have been accelerated in response to the pandemic.
TV “the Platform” has damaged its consumer experience beyond repair. And in doing so, destroyed the commercial value of the audience segments that remain. You know what I did after I turned off the TV at lunchtime? I said, “Alexa, news.” And my custom daily news feed started to play. World News, Politics, Sports and Tech. In order. From my preferred news sources. Amazon delivered a commercial-free, on-demand, custom-curated experience.
TV ‘the Art form’ is entering its platinum era
While TV “the Platform” devolves into whatever it’s going to become, TV “the Art form” is doing great. Cords are cut, new accounts have been created, streaming services logins are stored. Want a perfect, 4K video experience? Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, AppleTV+ (if it ever gets enough content), TikTok, YouTube, Twitch—all mostly commercial-free, all delivered on demand.
Don’t take my word for it. Do some armchair research. Ask your friends how their media consumption habits have changed over the past 10 months. You may not know precisely how others are consuming media, but you know that everyone has found their own way (a new way) to consume video.
Are theatrical motion pictures movies, TV or video?
Warner Bros. just announced that its entire 2021 slate of theatrical motion pictures will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. TV “the Platform” won’t get any part of this business until its usual “broadcast” window. However, anyone with an HBO Max app on any device will be able to consume and enjoy blockbuster “movies” all year long. Which raises the question, “What’s a movie?” The non-cerebral answer is, “Whatever else it may be, a movie is now just an expensively produced piece of VOD (video on demand) content.” This is new, and it signals a massive shift in the industry.