Future of Linear Scheduled Television

story-of-televisionThe Future of Innovation in Television Technology (FITT) just came out with it’s second report for August 2013 that predicts the 2025 television landscape. The report evaluated transformations to the music industry as a result of the analog to digital shift in order to draw many of it’s conclusions. Here are some of the noteworthy predictions:

  • Mobile devices in 2025 will contain processing power greater than todays fastest and most powerful desktop computers.
  • The storage capacity of SD cards has been doubling every year for a decade, by 2025, it is predicted that an SD card will 2 Petabytes, enough space to store 500 million MP3 songs.
  • Broadband internet speeds will be up at 2.5,GBPS while currently in Singapore, a range of 5mbps to 100mbps is most common.
  • Linear TV with a desire to watch high quality live TV content will still be dominant. Even when the content is not live, sharing a cultural experience with others by tuning into the same content, at the same time, is a powerful phenomena.
  • Expect an increase in catch-up TV and video on demand at the expense of live and time-shifted content.
  • There will be an industry in search, just for TV content, ability to perform granular searches on 40 years of linear TV content.

The report goes on to discuss the future of TV Networks and Infrastructures, data management and the evolution of devices and applications. It is an excellent, fact filled and well written report, a must-read for those in the TV industry.

While most of the 2025 predictions seem like safe bets, we believe the demand for linear scheduled TV, as highlighted above, is greatly overstated, if not just plain wrong.

When the VCR was introduced, many predictions called for the demise of movie theaters, but that never happened, due to a phenomena pointed out by John Naisbitt termed High Tech High Touch.

The high-touch phenomena has allowed movie theaters to thrive over the years, despite technological advances that have rendered it obsolete, but can this phenomena hold together linear scheduled broadcast television? We say no.

Live TV and broadcast sporting events will of course will thrive, due to the high touch phenomena of this experience. However, linear scheduled TV programming is becoming increasingly fragmented as time-shift devices such as bhaalu allows consumers to watch what they want, whenever they want.

Unlike a movie theatre, where you are surrounded by others, watching linear scheduled Television is an alone experience, with nothing more than a perception that others are out there watching it along with you. The first time you experience time-shifted television, you will know just how thin that perception is.

With the growth of time-shifting DVR devices, the perception that others are watching the same program along with you dissolves. We believe by 2025, scheduled linear TV programming will continue to exist, but there will be little if any demand for it, it will have no high-touch cohesive power and will be unable to draw cultural phenomena feelings. In essence, we believe it will be as bland and one dimensional as FM radio is today.

Arrested Development  pioneered a new way of consuming television, which through social media platforms, did in fact draw together a cohesive cultural movement, offering a new model for the future of high-touch television.

Full FITT report here.

Share:

Leave a Reply