I’ve recently read a few articles on whether or not television is on the brink of extinction. The idea of this is alien to most of us, but to younger generations it may seem blindingly obvious. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon prime now provide a wide range of top quality TV shows with huge budgets and A-list stars. YouTube channels pull in millions of views weekly that are comparable to the ratings of the biggest late-night talk shows, so the question is, what can TV offer that the internet can’t?
They can still offer excellent dramas of their own such as Westworld and Game of Thrones, live sports and events coverage are a big draw but, other than that, I’m not sure what broadcast TV nowadays has to offer that you can’t get from either Netflix or YouTube – these are the places where shows and entertainment are accessible at any time.
As the technology world is evolving, you are able to watch everything on a tablet or mobile phone. Realistically, who goes home after work and watches TV like they perhaps used to? I can’t, because I don’t own one. The joys of London house sharing. But, even if I did have a TV, I’m not sure what I would bother watching on it. The majority of my evenings are taken up with watching shows via YouTube/Netflix on my laptop, heading out to local bars, and occasionally stumbling around a gym for an hour. If I did have a TV, I would probably only use it for playing video games on, so the question remains, ‘Is TV becoming extinct?’
In doing my research on this topic, I came across a few articles that had some interesting points of which are mentioned below:
- ‘Teenagers and children are watching a third less broadcast TV on traditional sets than they were in 2010, as the shift to digital viewing and the rise of services such as Netflix and Amazon gathers pace.’
- ‘According to Ofcom, children on average watched 101 minutes of “traditional” TV a day last year, while 16- to 24-year-olds watched 114 minutes – far less than the average viewer, who watches 212 minutes a day. Even that figure is down 12% since 2010.’
- ‘A recent report found that the average BBC 1 viewer is 61 years old.’
- ‘Stephen Bartlett recently said, “Print is dead, Radio is Dying, and TV is very sick”.’
- ‘Those most loyal to the traditional TV set are the over-65s, who have marginally increased viewing between 2010 and 2016 by one minute per day – the only group to do so. At 344 minutes viewing per day on average, pensioners clock up more than triple the amount of traditional TV viewing of children and younger viewers.’
Is this merely the fact that there is a divide in generations? The younger generation are generally assumed to be tech savvy, and are using technology for everything; as part of their job role, to watching the latest shows on their phone during their commute. This generation is steering away from TV, as they have access to many online portals, whereas the older generation maybe aren’t as exposed to such technology, or may just be starting out, but still enjoy watching the TV.
Growing up in a generation with access to smartphones, streaming services, and playing games on the PlayStation or Xbox, has paved a way for me to have a disconnect with the TV world, and use all digital platforms. Whilst watching a 4-part drama series on ITV, I can download the ITV player app to my phone and watch shows on my way to work – it’s just the new norm, and influences my day to day. Even walking down the street, I have seen children in primary schools on iPads watching YouTube videos – this is because the generation of today are accessing more platforms, and it’s a trend that has surpassed becoming a phenomenon.
Television, and the wider media world, is moving so quickly but we always want to be kept in the loop with the latest shows or other content being put into the universe. Some may disagree and feel that TV is still the in thing and it’s something we watch all the time, but in reality, Netflix, iPlayer apps and YouTube are potentially taking over – watch this space!
Ciaran Whitfield – Video Production Assistant