Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Media: A New Golden Age Of TV

(Drivebycuriosity) - If we believe the New York Times a "new golden age of TV" has arrived (nytimes). I agree. I am under the spell of series like "True Detective", "Homeland", "Breaking Bad", "The Americans" and more.

And it will even get better I believe. The reason: The number of suppliers is rising. Traditional producers of quality TV like HBO, AMC, FX and others are getting more and more challenged by newcomers like Netflix ("House of Cards", "Orange is the New Black"). started recently the production of at least six TV series and Yahoo, Sony and Microsoft also announced that they will produce their own TV series (imdb investors). 

I think that the growing competition is generally lifting the quality of TV productions. Competition is always good for consumers because producers have to be better than their competitors or at least as good as them to stay in business. TV-top dogs like HBO and AMC have to invest more money to defend their turf against the newcomers who on the other hand need quality to "steal" the viewers. According to BusinessInsider HBO spend  $8 million for just one episode of their famous series "Game of Thrones", the site also claims that an average cable episode costs around $2 million (businessinsider).

Behind the rising TV competition - and the quality gains -  are 2 trends:

1. Technological progress.

Without the technological advances of the recent years newcomers like Netflix and Amazon wouldn`t exist. The possibility to downstream TV programs on a growing number of devices - TV-receivers, computers, tablets, smartphones, games consoles and other platforms - creates new markets and expands the number of potential viewers enormously. This encourages the producers to spend more money for script writers, actors, directors, cinematography and post production including special effects.

The technological progress also helps producers to realize their ideas because they can alter scenes in the (digital) post-production and make the results looking better. And technological advances are reducing costs of production. For instance a scene which needs many actors can now be faked in post-production by digitally multiplying the photographed persons. 

2. Globalization

I also believe that the ongoing globalization contributes to the rise of TV quality.  Producers can sell their series in many countries (to local TV-channels or directly as downloads to the consumers) which again justifies costlier productions. I also expect that the number of foreign productions we can see will sharply rise in the coming years which will strengthen the competition. British TV-series like "Sherlock" and Downton Abbey" are already popular in the US. Why not some fresh TV from Scandinavia, China or Latin America. Enjoy!

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