Are TVs too Old?

Do you still watch TV? How often do you watch TV? Daily? Occasionally? When I take a closer look at my own TV-watching behavior, I come to the shocking conclusion that I only watch television 2-3 times per week and the only reason that I watch TV those 2-3 times is because it concerns a Dutch television programme that I cannot watch online.

Back when I was 10, you could not get me away from the television because I had so many TV programmes that I wanted to watch. Every day from 15.15 (after school) until diner (18.00), I would be watching TV programmes such as Totally Spies, Winx Club, Martin Mystery, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Lab and many, many more. In the evening, I would be watching The Fairly Odd Parents, Scooby Doo, and Courage, the Cowardly Dog. Has growing up made me lose my interest in watching TV? Maybe, but I can also remember a time that I would watch movies on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and watch series on Monday and Tuesday.

So what happened? I would probably have to rephrase this question to What did NOT happen? The real world has changed so much while the television world has not changed much. As Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) puts it: The television world is an industry that is stuck in the 70s. The things that a television has to offer has not changed much in the past couple of decades. In my opinion, the television programmes (the supply) that TVs have to offer nowadays has even got worse. Consider all the talent shows that all look-a-like but because they provide the big bosses at the big TV stations a lot of money, they keep on milking the cow.

Contrast this with the what the World Wide Web has to offer. Movies and television series on demand! Why would you adapt your schedule to your television programmes while you can have the television programmes adapt to your schedule?

Only recently have the makers of TVs realized this change in attitude of consumers… Finally, they have become SMART and so came into existence the so-called SMART TVs. Do you have one? I have one since the end of this summer but it has not yet changed my TV-watching behavior. I don’t think that I can blame the TV for this though… I just have not had much time yet to watch TV…


6 responses to “Are TVs too Old?”

  1. cmdekeijzer says :

    In my opinion it is not the companies that produce the televisions (like Samsung, Philips, etc.) who aren’t progressive enough, but the producers of the programs, shown on the television.
    Multiple initiatives were already launched over the passed decade, to make programs more interactive. People had the option to send text messages or make phone calls when voting for their favorite singer, dancer or other performer. Live programs are answering questions, which people text during the show. But these initiatives don’t seem to break the trend of less and less people watching live television. In combination with the fact that extra episodes of your favorite series can be watched only online don’t change the decline.
    Television producers however are looking for new ideas, they offer SMART TV (like you mentioned), give the option to record programs and watch on demand movies. In this case the television as a medium is still fully supporting new trends and becoming more like a family computer. With the rise of Netflix and different companies delivering online movies, people are buying more televisions (around 4-6% growth on an annual basis). Question is, whether the program producers are able to seduce people to keep watching programs instead of movies. People are still looking for a stress relieve and moment to relax, like stated in the Lee’s 1995 article. In that case watching an on demand program might be a better solution, compared to watching a two-and-a-half hour Tolkien movie.

  2. thegroupofdeath2014 says :

    Don’t you just think that they way we use TV’s is changing currently. There are many products arrising, which make active use of TV’s as an external source e.g. Google Chromecast.

    I do agree that less and less people are watching TV’s (in our age group – older people still watch a ton of TV). THis said, I do not see TV’s rendering to exist completely, rather I feel that the use of TV’s will be changing in time fueled by technologies which make use them.

    THe bottom line is that TV’s are very big screens. That is there USP and that is where they stand out. I don’t really see a possibility to change this (unless Oculus Rift and such can do smth about this).

    Then again, I concentrated more on the physical technology of a TV and not necessarily the watching of television. THis is decreasing, but I don’t see it fading completely.

    What do you think?

  3. annemiekevtz says :

    I remember those days with the same TV programs you described! However, nowadays more and more people – even children with their child friendly tablets – seem to be less interested in the big screen and turn more often to the Internet. And why shouldn’t we? The Internet has a lot to offer, all on demand and it gives you exactly what you are looking for. We can watch series at the same time as the Americans do and possibly we do this because of the main reason; most of it is FREE. Unfortunately this is also frequently illegal, but who cares… Well, actually the Dutch association, because they are currently working on a – according to them – very effective and educational way to instruct the Dutch illegal downloaders by sending them a real warning via email ( That will definitely impress illegal downloaders, don’t you think? 😉

    To come back at your argument about the current common programs that television has to offer; I think that it has mainly to do with the Long Tail principle we see more and more these days. All forms of media are changing rapidly and especially ‘old media’ such as television and bookstores are changing their offer to the crowd. To avoid missteps, poor ratings and bad purchases, program makers are hesitant to try new formats. As a result, we are forced to accept that the Dutch television invests in plenty talent shows, real life soaps and other look-a-like and low budget ‘entertaining’. To make television profitable while television makers face scarcity of time and money, only programs that are hit-driven at the moment are worth investing, according to the Long Tail principle. With the new online possibilities, we are exploring a world of abundance and we discover that our taste is not as mainstream as television makers let us believe (Anderson, C. (2004) ‘The Long Tail’, Wired Magazine, Issue 12.10).

    Together with the above developments and the current regulations about rights of American series, I definitely think that the television is becoming rather old compared to the new Internet possibilities. And as long as the Dutch government doesn’t change the way we are ‘allowed’ to watch TV, I fear for its future…

  4. deedee2610 says :

    Interesting article!
    Looking at my own TV-behavior, I have to honestly admit that we have unsubscribed from our digital channel provider due to the simple reason that we no longer watch TV..
    And indeed, not even that many years ago it was a regular exercised activity, sometimes organised with a group of friends so as to all together watch that super exciting or funny tv program/movie. And true, the offer in tv programs no longer sparks my interest, and the programs that do interest me I watch online, for example via Netflix. And also true, I do not have the urgency to adapt my schedule to the timings of the shows I do still want to see.

    But, as the previous comment also mentioned, TV screens are big. Usually you have a surround system attached to it, making the viewing experience so much more intense and full than you would ever get with simply a laptop on a table/lap. I actually believe that the focus will be more and more on the viewing experience of the TV than the actual content it can show via traditional channels. I think the future is in having it incorporated with your wireless home network, the Internet, your surround system, your phone etc., so as to make it easier to watch ANYTHING comfortably on your TV. I know I would be making a lot of use of that!

  5. 354079mf says :

    I have to agree with most of the comments above, I don’t feel the need to have a tv since I can watch whatever program I want streamed online on my laptop. Before the television industry was completely in control, now due to all the channels available to watch a program or movie at specific times and at a low cost, customers are in control.

    A study carried out by EYGM (2013) identified 6 trends that will influence the future of television:

    1. Storytelling will evolve to make better use of an omniplatform environment: metadata that enables synchronization between screens.

    2. Ubiquitous screens will demand greater content mobility: optimizing the customer experience and ad placement.

    3. Social dynamics and synergistic experiences will drive more event based viewing: trying to build a social experience around a program that viewers wont want to be left out of.

    4. Innovation in program discovery and television controls will drive new techniques to cut through the clutter: Program search and discovery will be more intuitive and tailored to the viewer’s need. –> content discovery optimization

    5. Bingeing will drive more innovation in measurement and personalization: tv bingeing should be more carefully measured to deliver the right packages and experiences to customers, and target them with the right ads.

    6. New entrants demanding unique content will drive innovation beyond the traditional studio system

    These trends map out the future of television and companies should start adopting such practices if they want to remain in the industry.


  6. cupcake288 says :

    Judging from my own TV watching behavior I would agree with the former comments that less and less people in our age group spend huge amounts of their time in front of the television. Having a smart TV has only kept me from abandoning television at all. So, personally I am a bit sceptic if the above mentioned trends would bring young adults back to the big screens to watch movies and TV shows on a large scale. Yet, there might be other more life assistant functionalities that can be uncovered with future TV technology due to the large screen embedded in the surroundings of most people´s home.

    One forecasted trend that pushes further the idea of bingeing is augmented shopping with your TV. Companies can use the TVs complemented with a webcam to grant customers a virtual experience with the product. Whereas the idea of augmented shopping is not the newest, the possibilities of connecting with large TV screens in everyone´s home has only been seized by few companies (e.g. Zugara). And since most people own a TV augmented home shopping could provide companies with a large scale new advertisement and sales channel. Also, the TV usage from a consumer point of view might shift from pure leisure to a more service-oriented character.

    Another game changer might be the prospective development of an Assisted-Living-TV experience. Various data or video sources can be connected to the personal TV so that for example door cameras, baby phones or other devices can be supervised while sitting in front of the TV. This would also be able with mobile devices. But one big advantage of the use of a TV is that it can be easier for elderly people to use. Since those are not confronted with a whole new technology but instead use a device they are familiar with the life of elderly people might significantly facilitated. For example, cost-intensive home visits from doctors can be realized as effortless as quick drop byes of medical attendants or friends. Given the current demographic development this might be not only a great business opportunity for companies but also entail a significant social improvement for tomorrow´s societies.

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