Many years ago, one was restricted to only a handful of TV channels. You watched what show was coming up next on the schedule. There wasn’t a great deal of choice. There was no movie streaming, no DVD, no VCR. Your choices were limited.
Technology, whether through high-speed internet service or the digitization of media content, has changed how we consume content forever. The handful of TV channels turned into hundreds, streaming media opened up the world of entertainment, and sites like YouTube and Netflix altered the viewing habits of consumers of media content.
Here are a few of the ways that technology is changing TV viewing habits.
When TV networks and cable channels discovered that enthusiastic viewers were tweeting and talking online about their favorite show while watching them, an opportunity was seized to make this more interactive. An executive producer like Michael Palance, who is involved with the “My Hollywood” reality series, could live tweet about his experience of helping make the series. Michael David Palance might also share behind the scenes photos on-set too.
The advent of social viewing has allowed actors, producers, and other people to participate with the audience, in real-time, in a way never possible before. A whole new conversation develops between viewers and producers of the show when each plot twist is revealed. It makes it more fun and interactive.
Before steaming services, unless recording an entire TV season on TiVo and then enjoying the episodes in quick succession, we were stuck with watching one episode at a time. Networks drip fed the episodes over 10-25 weeks, depending on the length of the season. If you wanted to watch your favorite show faster, you couldn’t.
With streaming movies and TV, it’s possible for providers like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix to release an entire season of a popular show on the same day. Avid fans are then able to watch as many episodes of that season of their favorite show as they can squeeze into the day. Many people are now binge watching several episodes back-to-back, unable to get enough. Sometimes this is just because they love what they’re seeing, but other times it’s because they’ve only just learned about the show and are trying to catch up to the current season.
Resurrecting Canceled TV Shows
A new phenomenon is streaming services either creating their own TV series or resurrecting earlier ones that were canceled too soon due to declining ratings.
Netflix resurrected Arrested Development (a FOX drama) and The Killing (an AMC drama) to produce a new season, completing the story for viewers who felt short-changed. Given that a business such as Netflix is not tied to advertiser revenue to fund continued TV show development (they use a subscription-based model), this gives them more options.
Several streaming providers made pilots and let the viewers decide which ones to make into a full season. Amazon Prime is one example of this, creating their own pilot season separate to the TV networks and letting viewers decide.
The rapidly changing technology is exciting because it’s bringing canceled TV shows back to life, letting fans watch more of the shows they love and gets them inside the creative forces behind their favorite shows. How will TV evolve over the next decade? Only time will tell.