Will TV Die in the Future?

Apple TV

Current trends for broadcast television aren’t looking too good for 2010. With new technology always on the horizon, and improved methods for quicker implementation, the possibility of broadcasters to finally make a shift into the digital era may actually become a reality in the coming year.

A recent article on msnbc highlights the glory days of broadcast television, harking on the magic the small screen once held over an entire nation. Broadcast television was our social networking, aggregating viewers around the television at appointed times each evening. The office copy room became the watering hole for discussing all the things we saw on TV the previous night, comparing notes, receiving recommendations, and being brought up to date on the programs we couldn’t catch.

Since then, things have changed. Cool gadgets like TiVo removed the power of advertisers around television programing, with online distribution becoming far more commonplace in the new era. iTunes furthered the on-demand capabilities of broadcast television programing, with the cable companies finally jumping in with their own set-top offerings.

The monetization of regular broadcast television programing through ad-supported and direct purchase options through cable and iTunes meant that broadcasters could begin to explore new technology. We’ve witnessed the growing pains for the past couple of years, and the ongoing falters of broadcast TV means that a major change is imminent.

As msnbc points out, the revenue-generating opportunities around regular broadcast television is getting more dismal by the day. The current model is being broken apart as consumers wield more power over how and when they view media content. Gaining access to those consumers is an easier task with a growing number of set-top box developers, distribution options through iTunes and Amazon, and the explosive growth of smart phones.

The necessity for technology-based companies to work cooperatively means that major broadcaster can finally take advantage of the new technology at hand. Monetization is still the primary issue, so companies such as Apple are in great positions to further push the digital implementation forward. This all boils down to broadcast television producers being able to take on pricing models similar to cable content providers.

Is that good or bad? Cable providers have really gotten over on consumers these past few years, with subscription methods that are anything but comprehensive. The silver lining in the broadcast TV trend is that taking on cable pricing models would have to be modified to support an a la carte format that still appeals to the customers.

The good thing about all this impeding change is the fact that consumers still hold a good amount of power. Simply avoiding the viewing or purchase of certain content will send a ready message to broadcasters, just as its done with our regular TV sets.

As televisions, mobile devices and set-top boxes become more integrated with each other, we’ll eventually see a balancing of program offerings and an ability for broadcasters to return to a more ad-based revenue model if they so choose. The presence of free services for viewing premium content from broadcasters will likely continue to rise in popularity, repositioning much of the current broadcasting distribution tactics full circle to our future all-in-one device.

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