01 March 2007

The future of “television”?

The loss of Sky One from the screens of Virgin Media cable television subscribers today has got me thinking about the future of television. In today’s fast paced world, consumers are looking for ways of watching visual media (whether films, TV, animations, music videos, etc.) that are easy and flexible and fit in with their lives. And that’s why so many are turning to downloads (whether legal or illegal).

We live busy lives and are constantly on the move - we want television we can watch on our mp4 players on the train, at our desks at lunchtime, or even in the bath. Traditional media just can’t supply this, even when supplemented with systems like Teleport or Tivo. Even the ubiquitous YouTube, which many people are turning on in the evening instead of the TV, is not ideal in this respect, as viewers are still tied to the computer.

Another factor driving the downloading of TV shows outside the US is the global society of the internet – if every forum we visit is discussing the new epidode of Heroes or Lost, it doesn’t seem very fresh and new when it finally comes to our screens months later.

Rather than pay for a subscription to cable that I hardly watch, I’d rather pay for downloading the TV I actually want to watch, when it is new, and watch it where and when I want to watch it.

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