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TV is on it’s way out November 11, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Business.

Every year, thousands of new products come out that serve one purpose: convenience. Right now, I am laying in bed writing on my BB after reading all the latest news on CNN.com and checking Digg. That’s convenient. Convenience has one goal: to increase productivity in each of its users lives. The iPod was made so people don’t have to carry around a case of CDs for their oversized CD players. PayPal was a huge hit because it eliminated sending checks in the mail to pay for eBay items that people were winning. Google is so popular because their searches are the fastest and most relevant; in the old days, people would have to go to the library and spend hours searching through books to find the data. Data consolidation is synonymous with convenience. I could go on and on with this list; cell phones, cars, laptops, Go-Gurt, microwaves, etc…

But just like there is a fine line between arrogance and brilliance, there is a fine line between convenience and laziness. This is what I would define as the divider between the two: convenience helps you achieve productivity, whereas laziness helps you achieve purposelessness. A perfect example of the fine line is the TV. You can watch the news, sports games, movies, shows, and tons of commercials on TV (depending on whether you have a TiVo or not). Watching TV is purposelessness. It has no value that it can add to anyone’s life. I will make an exception for news, but even that is totally skewed based on the Network’s reporters view points. Why do you think shows like Crossfire have gained so much popularity? Because they show more than one stance on a current topic. People love this, it’s all about choice.

Our generation doesn’t like people telling us what to do or think. Ok, ok, let’s not lie, MTV and Myspace own all of us though. Let me rephrase: our generation loves to avoid the fact that somebody else is telling us what to do or think. Why do you think Eminem was so popular? Eminem proves is the perfect example for my point; he made everyone think that they were throwing the finger to authority and mainstream, when the fact was that he was the person who had complete authority over his listeners and he became mainstream because of it.
I stopped watching TV about 6 months ago, and I’ll never give it another chance.

This brings me to my next point: TV is on it’s way out. Not in the sense that your plasma screens are going to be obsoleted (they will be in 10 years anyways), but the entire business model is going to see a major change. I’m not sure if I’d ever jump into that market in the future, but this is what I would change.

#1- I would make all the content increase the productivity of each viewer. I don’t know how this is possible with current technology, but all TVs will likely be run off of computers in the future, and there’s a way right there.

#2- Get rid of commercials. And no, don’t do “live” commercials either, viewers don’t care enough. This is going to be a huge hit to the networks; they are going to have to find a new advertising model. This change will be great for small TV stations though, they will be able to compete with the networks because in the beginning, no one is going to be making a killing on ads.

#3- Deliver everything in HD. If it’s not HD, it’s not worth watching.

#4- Let users choose what they want to watch. This is going to be the biggest change in the current model. Right now, users are forced to watch whatever is on at that time (unless they’ve recorded it earlier on their TiVo).

Once the Networks understand that they’re going to have to change their current model, they will freak out. But adapting to this change will determine whether or not these Networks will make it through the next few decades. Because I know one thing is certain: Verizon is laying down the new internet lines right now, and once everyone can stream HD to their TVs from their T3 connection…



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