TV is dead - if not we should kill it

TV is falling. And we should give it a push. Read why.


Times of crisis.
You can feel it in the air. In the faces of people. We’re all going towards something but nobody knows what it is. People’s feeling it. Something’s off.

I am close to have 10 years of experience in the film/tv/video field. And I’ve witnessed (as many of you out there) the dawn of a generation. When I started high school, I remember vividly the day I visited a friend and he showed me a CD-ROM tray on his computer. I had a feeling that day that it was a breakthru, I didn’t know exactly why, but I knew there was a before and an after that day. Then when I started studying film (or video), in order to have a decent quality you needed to rent a camera, then to rent an editing room, to capture tapes, to export to another tape to be seen on a vhs. To hear a song you needed to go to a music store, inspect long corridors, and buy a CD.

All of that are old concepts. Means of production got cheaper, going to the hands of people in a speed that was maybe too fast for markets, societies and even individuals to digest.

Last night I watched this fabulous documentary talking about this digital revolution in the music business: PressPausePlay

PressPausePlay from House of Radon on Vimeo.

It’s clear on the documentary the impact that the digital technology had on the music industry, and on the film industry as well.

What is beyond comprehension is what’s the link between this and how TV started its enormous decay.
A mundane human logic would conclude that if the means of production are cheaper, the better content would be more, and therefore the TV would increase its quality, content speaking.
Instead, it got perpetuated in a vicious loop of repetitive, low quality reality shows, gossip shows, celebrity-based programming neglectic the social role that TV has. It’s better to create a habit on the viewers, and feed them always the same, that actually enrich the programming with variety and quality content.
It’s almost as the TV itself was afraid of better content. They got stuck in the star-system, that was a good model while it lasted. The XXIst century TV made a commodity out of the star system. Now stars rise and fall, fabricated by the TV itself, disregarding quality and going straight for easy profit.
Now the question is: how long can this model last?

First of all, it is a by-product of monopolized media and globalization. And of a push model in terms of marketing.

Nevertheless, the main factor that revolutionized media in the last decade could be the one that finally puts an end into this model, and that is internet.
Users can (and actually do) watch less and less TV, attracted by the power of choice that internet has. Endless customization. Endless possibilities. I don’t need to watch the last model-wannabe’s breast surgery. I can just open youtube or vimeo, and look for whatever suits you. Right in the palm of your hand.

The are only two obstacles to the old model death. The first one is ignorance. You cannot choose what you don’t know that exists, and that’s the problem with average users. It is not true that people watches that because they like that and nothing else. It is because they don’t know there’s more outside. Simply because nobody tells them! But this cannot last for long, since once climbed the learning curve of the new technology, the rest is inevitable.

The second one is noise. There’s a lot of it online. Too much lousy content in the middle, makes it difficult for the lazy ones to find the good stuff. Like on a retail sale. But come on, bottom line, isn’t that what happens with zapping?

We have the means to transform TV it what is supposed to be: the podium of the best content ever. Lets not settle with less.

What about you? Do you think we’re witnessing the dawn of TV as we know it? Or is it just the main gates to a new era of cultural obscurantism?


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