TV is changing. We are all in the denial phase, but the way we used to watch it is really gone . I saw this article today about somebody saying TV is about to have it’s “iPod moment”. That’s the moment where we stop caring about the stream of cable/satellite programming and just download what you want to see. At our place it’s already happened. For us, TV shows don’t come on as we watch, instead we know when they have been recorded on the PVR, and that’s when we plan to watch them. There’s no sense of the TV schedule that I used to have as a kid. I used to just “know” when the stuff I wanted to see was on and turn on the TV. If I missed it, well too bad. Now I have no fricking idea when a show is actually aired, usually. After I set up the timer on the PVR I’m done with the program guide.
We so rarely watch live TV that Nikki and I never know about new shows until somebody we know starts talking about them. We watch everything pre-recorded and so we skip ahead through the commercials and the network teasers without knowing what’s coming up. That’s the big problem with the new model. If I can’t find new content I will start to watch less over time (and have already). How will they tell me about new shows in a world where the program guide is internet-sized? I think maybe web-style marketing could help a lot. Blogs and YouTube could easily tell me about new shows that I might want to watch. But that wouldn’t work so well for non-web savvy folks. Then there’s the commercial ad problem. Nikki and I skip over almost every ad they show. That’s bad for advertisers, for sure. Technology will probably step in here at some point. One thing our Bell PVR does to make us try to watch the ads is it randomly changes the length of time the “skip ahead” and “skip back” buttons work on. Sometimes you can skip a regular commercial block with three clicks, sometimes it’s four. Often you overshoot and have to go back. It’s very clever since it makes you sit through some of those precious commercial seconds just out of frustration. I would expect to see more of this kind of technology in the future, hacks that make you sit through the commercials so the advertisers will continue to support the shows. It still won’t stop the hard core geeks from finding a way around watching, but for most of us it will be just fine.
I have noted this before, but it’s coming closer now, methinks. That’s a rather wordy ramble, sorry folks. Anybody happen to agree with this?