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article imageOp-Ed: How can the Web help the future of television?

By Eduardo Arrufat     Aug 4, 2013 in Internet
TV is no longer a device which gathers families in a single room of the house while they share hours together. Thanks to the Internet, it evolved into allowing individual viewers to chose what they want to watch without the constraints of space or time.
In the last couple of years, viewers have gone through an evolution on how they consume their television. People have gone from sitting in front of the fixed TV set in the living room to a more dynamic and convenient TV environment dominated by laptops, tablets and even cell phones. But is this the beginning of the cord-cutting era? Or is it that TV is no longer a physical item in the house and it has become a concept that is evolving at the pace of technology?
Following a recent article on WIRED about the future of Television and how it goes hand in hand with the Internet, it can be deduced that there are two trends currently in the business. One thinking group fears the Internet as the final doom for TV and all it is produced around it. However, another ideological group argues that the Television as we used to know it needs to evolve into a more abstract concept and can't be described as a device in the living room no more.
Deepening into the reasons behind the latter trend, it is very clear that viewers are demanding this evolution. A recent poll carried out by TiVo proves that Internet produced programs that follow the television format are not taking away traditional television viewers. "Our data show that Netflix is not currently a substitute for traditional television, but offers a way for TV lovers to watch more of the kinds of programs they love. The future of television may tell a different story, but as of today we've found that the Netflix subscribers in our study are not watching less traditional TV." said Mark Lieberman, CEO of TRA
Looking specifically at the Netflix case, where House of Cards was premiered all at once with its first 13-episode season, it is very clear that the success of the show proves that there is a large demand for on-demand shows that aspire to higher quality than regular web series that currently can be caught on YouTube.
And Google, YouTube parent company, have realized about that. The New York Times recently reported that Google has been eyeing different marketing strategies to make the big jump to TV distribution and production in an attempt to beat Apple to the punch of the new Internet/TV wave.
YouTube is the largest video sharing platform in the world, and it so happens to be online. If Google was able to combine its reaching power with, let's say, a big television production firm; the cannibalism that many have feared might become true. Google is a company that profits from ads, and thousands of companies are becoming more self aware of the power on advertising in the Internet. If those companies where to put their big bucks in online commercials because the most popular TV shows were watched on YouTube, maybe that would be the day that Television sets were to be considered dead. However, another scenario can happen, where Google does not compete directly with the network in an attempt to get the distribution of the most popular shows; but where they join forces and YouTube serves as the new environment where you can go watch the prime time show on your favorite channel or Game 7 of the final play offs round.
That would be an ideal world where the power of the Internet is used to boost the domain that television has had over the last century as the single point for in house family entertaining. Only time will tell if Internet will serve as the ultimate ally to the television industry or instead, it will throw the death blow to a medium losing its center place as the source of entertainment.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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