Is television heading in the same direction as the record labels?


The online phenomenon has all but ended the need and commercial viability of the record labels, in the music industry. With significant decline in revenue – the transition of the “New Music Economy” is very real. Television is now facing the same dilemma as the music industry, as the advancement of technology has shifted consumers towards readily available information.

The transition towards streaming and the ability to download readily available content, anytime and in an unlimited amounts available to storage space – it spells a potential doom for tv viewership. The format of television which is relatively rigid and inflexible, even when encompassing digital streaming from satellite technology, has failed to retain audiences in its inability to keep the casual tv watcher, to passively sit in front of the “tubular box” and entertain them in prolonged durations. The internet has created that flexibility of the target audience, to choose what they want to watch at a time that best suits them. The added dimension of “free viewing” in terms of financial increment, has forced television executives hands in order to accept the reality, of competing with a force that offers fresh content at a faster rate and for relatively NO COST to the consumer.

A great example in the pay TV market has been ESPN, which has been discontinued on the Multichoice format. The trend now is that even broadcasters are now going direct to consumer and looking to profit from the on-demand and pay per view market. Media companies are owning their products and distributing it themselves, in some new radical form of “decentralizing”  their final products. What has been rumoured, is that ESPN are not budging as far as trying to avoid a joint venture with host country/regional television network providers, as they are moving away from the typical multinational broadcaster model. Will this be an oncoming trend for other broadcasters?  ESPN has to be noted as having contracts with mainly American sporting giants with even the NFL and NBA, having packaged towards streaming via the internet, as far as catering towards international viewers in particular.

Apple (forever the innovators) have moved into “channeling” this internet phenomena and also, the On-Demand/Pay Per View into their latest mini gadget. This transition towards being able to purchase content directly, has been embraced by Apple.

Television will have less advertisers willing to pay for TV advertisements at a rapid rate, as advertising through the internet is proving more beneficial. In the same way, television benefitted from the radio and print industry losing advertising revenue. Growth strategies into migration over the internet will have to be adapted by television executives, if the present branding presence gained through television is to be carried on to ensure strategic survival, beyond the present day dilemma – and experience new exponential growth in years to come.



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