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The future of television?

Another short post, because I’m back to school and still mentally digesting my morning statistics class. (Here’s a math equation for you: Statistics plus a 10 a.m. class, to the power of three weeks vacation with no classes or work, equals what?)

Yesterday I tweeted a New Yorker article about YouTube’s plans for cable-like niche channels, and I got to wondering whether the future of television lies in the hands of Google.

Of course, the question of TV’s direction is a little less simple than that. Cultural and generational tendencies will have, and have had, an impact on the original Tube.

To quote the article by John Seabrook, “‘The Cosby Show’ was the last TV series to command a mass following,” with over 30 per cent of all households with televisions tuning in to watch the 1985-86 season. In comparison: “Last year, ‘American Idol,’ the most popular show on TV today, pulled in fewer than nine per cent of all television viewers in the U.S.”

That’s less than a third, and just 25 years later: A trend is clear.

But here’s another potential factor, that places the future of broadcasting in the hands of 7-16 year olds.

A BBC article from yesterday cited the new annual Childwise monitoring survey that found that 61 per cent of kids and teens aged seven-16 have a phone with internet access.

The story stated that the “biggest trend in children’s use of gadgets, according to the report […] is the growth in internet use through mobile phones.”

In addition: “Children are now more likely to play with their mobiles than watch television.”

But how children are using their phones may have an even more influential sway on television’s future: Namely, is there a clear shift away from the consumption of TV content to social media and online content, or is TV content also being watched on the net?

Things to ponder, especially for someone wanting to go into television.

And now, back to statistics.

 

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