New Media

How Technology is Redefining Television

This is an investigative report into the new generation of television. To show how technology develops exponentially with the equipment used for broadcasting, cable and specialty networks into cloud-based content to outsource to mobile devices.  Television programming is now considered a ‘source’ that’s distributed into a variety of gadgets.

According to Nielsen’s “2014 Advance National TV Household Universe Estimate, there are 115.6 million TV homes in the U.S., up 1.2% from the 2012-2013 estimate of 114.2 million.”

The Nielsen.com Newswire reports that improved television sets, home Internet access, home Wi-Fi, digital video recorders, MP3 players, and Apple iPads are the major trends for entertainment technology in 2014. From TheAtlantic.com, an article states, “This suggests a near future for TV where new technologies aren’t replacing television so much as complementing TV. When you count up all the different ways to watch a TV show (live, saved, time-delayed, on Netflix, on Hulu), as Peter Kafka writes, you’re watching more TV than ever.”

Multiple Screens & Streaming Services

Television isn’t the main content source any longer. It’s linked into a television set, mobile phone, computer and tablet at which many people use more than one device at a time. According to an AP article called The New Golden Age of Television, published October 2013, discusses how the new culture of television has created binge-watching instead of waiting until the network or cable service released the next episode. Television content itself has evolved from serving one large mass audience to creating stories that will allow the plot and characters to evolve continuously. The game has changed so much that pilot season is now expensive and obsolete.

An article from Mirror.co.uk shares a Tweet about writing for the binge-watching audience. The writers of shows like House of Cards, exclusive to Netflix, to do some binge-writing to serve hungry audiences.

   In a Harvard Business Review article written by Michael Schrage, called Binge TV and the Art of Creating a Committed Customer, states that Netflix has discovered an underserved audience of binge viewers.

“61% of Americans described themselves as regular binge-viewers. What’s more, 75% of those surveyed say that watching several episodes of their favorite shows in a row makes the program experience more enjoyable.”

Mobile phone marketers are tapping into viewer habits to find new ways to grab people’s attention while they’re on the move. There are more people with smartphones today than ten years ago. A person may have a smartphone but they may not necessarily have a computer at home. Advertisers are catching on and finding new ways to grab our attention. In an interview with Ed Chapkowski, shares some benefits of marketing to mobile users.

YouTube Explodes the Industry

YouTube.com challenged cable networks because the content is viewed on smartphones, computers, and tablets with only an Internet connection. Advertisers loved it because they could capture an online audience in a way that DVRs have found a way around watching commercials.

In an interview with Ethan Curtis, a Studio Manager for Plush Recording Studio, speaks about his experience working through the industry’s monologue to digital changes. Curtis points out how television isn’t as easy to search for content compared to Google and YouTube for content. Curtis explains, “YouTube is the second largest search engine on a global scale. Television is limited. It’s organized by channels and blocked by countries.”

In an AP article called The End of Scheduled TV, published January 2012, discusses how YouTube invested in creating new, quality content. “In October, the Google-owned site announced more than 100 new production partners, including stars Jay-Z and Amy Poehler, news-wire Reuters and film producer Lionsgate. These deals are expected to generate about 25 hours of new daily programming, and mark the company’s first real challenge to traditional cable.” YouTube statistics show just how wide their reach is in this infographic.

PC Magazine published an AP article on July 1, 2013 by Time Bajarin, How Paid YouTube Channels Could Kill Cable TV. Bajarin describes how many cable subscribers pay for programming that they don’t watch. With the down economy, many people can’t afford the cable packages and can’t justify the cost when there is so much of it that they don’t use. For this type of consumer, YouTube has created À la Carte service with paid channels. Bajarin says, “YouTube recently launched a pilot program to experiment with subscriptions to paid channels.” The paid channels will provide content for all screens and you only pay for the channels people actually want to watch.

News Distribution

In an interview with Christopher Ramsey, he discusses the changes in News distribution since the popularity of digital video and social media. Ramsey’s background includes working for a TV News station, read this article to learn more about his background experience. Ramsey’s audio interview discusses how several entertainment industries switched from analogue to digital formats caused a large-scale disruption in the entertainment industry for how News distribution works to reach mass audiences on social media and citizen journalism.

In an interview with Linda Cotton, she shares the reasons for keeping cable. Cotton doesn’t own a computer. “I love to watch the News channels and get different perspectives from the variety of channels reporting so that I know what’s going on.” Cotton explains, “Personally, new technology is inconvenient for me to learn and keep up with.” In other words, cable television isn’t going anywhere any time soon for many of Americans. According to the AP article called The New Golden Age of Television, in the Canadian Business magazine, explains how Twitter is changing TV. “Twitter has responded by striking deals with the likes of the NFL, Major League Baseball, CBS, Viacom, Bell Media and Fox to use its ‘Amplify’ program to push highlight videos, near-instant sport’s replays’ and other content at viewers while they’re watching TV.” News stations are using Twitter to engage their audience and sports networks are able to use it as a measuring device for who is watching what to allow advertisers to target their audience based on the content of their tweets.

What is Net Neutrality?

In recent developments, Net Neutrality is changing the way the Internet works to compete with streaming programs. The Internet has been an open source for those with Internet service to download at high speeds. Thus, allowing video to become the forefront of the Internet. If you have a home with a family of 3-5 people, you could start to experience a slower or disrupted service. This may not be an indication of needing a higher speed Internet service but that the overall household has used up an allotted amount of data. Please read more about Net Neutrality and what it means to the future of watching streaming videos.

In an AP article called What Comcast-Time Warner Merger Could Make TV Everywhere A Reality (But You’ll Have To Pay Up), published February 2014, states their mission is to provide source content onto multiple screens to compete with HBO and Disney. There is debate about if the merger would force prices to rise because data consumption will have caps of 300 GB per month instead of the unlimited Internet most Americans are use.

Putting it All Together

With all of the emerging technology, things can get a little overwhelming on how to enhance your entertainment experience. To recap, television today is a source of content, then distributed to multiple screens in one household. The content and delivery systems have changed the meaning of television. The television set is now a vehicle or another screen just as the smartphone, computer, or tablet has become. Digital technology created an enhanced television experience from using additional screens while watching the television at home. For example, there are apps available that work with Blu-ray discs to create a two-way, user experience on multiple screens at once. In addition, audiences can access original content on social media networks and use hashtags to connect with others watching the same programming.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment below to share your experience with how you like to watch television.

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