Will the Television Industry Learn New Tricks?
The future of TV seems bleak compared to the phenomenal development of online entertainment.
The amount of original content is exhausting. Online creators are deepening niches at a lightning speed.
Viewers are formidable collectors. Their ability to save, categorize and subscribe exceeds any TV program’s wildest imagination. The arsenal of liking, sharing and commenting makes them zealous influencers.
Content is aired in unison with the social mood. Complex algorithms are tailoring everything for you. Your next recommendation is just around the block.
More so, new tech is opening a new dimension for entertainment. From Mobile & Tablet Apps to Augment Reality, from Kinetic Devices to VR Headsets. Just look around crowd-founding sites, these are abundant in The Next Big Gadget.
And in the middle of this tectonic shift the TV industry seems unaffected.
Sure, equipment and broadcasting quality have improved. The Chroma key is making CG really stand out now. The result is a crisper, polished image. But is this enough from keep the TV set from going belly up?
For those working in the industry that’s a far fetched statement. Absurd if you’re counting audience. TV is and will remain the building block of entertainment for home users for a long time now.
But aside from the obvious, a profound change is necessary. To see how this can go about, we need to go at the root of all entertainment: The Format.
Formats are like blueprints. A broadcasters will use them to manufacture content with clear outcome. In other words, be certain that the camera will be pointed at something that generates high ratings (most of the time).
Big money industries have an aversion to risk. In the modern world of TV, Formats are THE currency of global entertainment.
We see a TV Format when we look at X Factor, American Idol or any cooking, dating, game show, even the news and even sports.
If a Format is validated locally, it’ll spread like wild fire across the globe. Broadcasters will purchase anything that’s hot. In trendsetting, you can’t get bigger than this.
However, there is a dark side to Formats. This cookie-cutter recipe approach gives little wiggle room. The script is mostly written and producers just add touch of local folklore here and there. The angles, the tech and the interaction are usually set in stone.
This being the norm, buying a completely fresh TV format that gives the audience a pristine experience is challenging.
(although you could look at the Japanese Programs market for some interesting stuff…)
Let’s see some examples where Formats can innovate.
Stepping into The Modern TV Era
Live TV gives you an adrenaline rush. On the spot reactions are need on stage, but what if you’d be in the same situation at home?
The American Idol final is starting in a few minutes. You’ve plugged in your VR Headset and landed right there in the backstage. You’re shoulder to shoulder to your favorite singer. You’re feeling the pressure but also the excitement. You’re entering the stage and the crowd goes wild! What a view!
Or you could watch I want to be a millionaire. You’d join-in through a mobile app and compete for the Viewer’s Prize. Collaborate with peers to complete quizzes and make your way up to the top!
Cooking Shows would really get spicy — Live streaming from kitchens around the world with viewers cooking together. The producer chooses one or several viewers to have a chat with the guest cook. Even a challenge for the best dish would make the show end big.
News just in — the parliament just voted no to a very important law. The presenter is filling you in with the last minute details. You and a few other millions are voting through the news mobile app. You’d be effectively making news.
We didn’t even cover sports, dating, financial, documentaries, cultural, community or other entertainment shows.
The possibilities are endless with such an immersive medium.
But at the end of the day, it all goes down to…
TV is by far the most expensive way to advertise. The bulk of marketing budgets are spent on getting in front of the target demographic at the right moment.
Tipping the rating scales is one things the digital world is famous for. People watching and interacting through liking, commenting, sharing, saving and subscribing would revive the traditional medium in interesting ways.
Besides TV household statistics, this new engagement factor can drive a different type of advertising and monetization strategies.
Commercials no longer being aired on a set schedule but at the momentary peak of their target audience based on engagement. Besides making life easier for program managers, this would improve the experience of home viewers.
Local businesses could reach their demographics at a lower costs through the show app as opposed to buying on-screen time.
A truly engaged audience could leave a profound mark in the TV history — that’ll be a change of perspective interesting to watch.
The Internet might be leading the way now but there’s a sleeping giant just waiting for the right visionaries to shake it up.
It’s clear that the next generation of TV Formats will need to be less rigid and include the myriad of devices already at our disposal.
And the future? Billions of viewers interacting, collaborating and discovering sights and emotions worth living in the modern era of entertainment.
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