Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Media: The Golden Age Of TV Is Doomed! Really?

(Drivebycuriosity) - "TV's new Golden Age is doomed", claims Bloomberg View (bloomberg). Justin Fox, the author of this claim, believes that the current boom of high quality TV series is "unsustainable".

According to him "today’s quality programming is being financed from the past (broadcast and basic-cable advertising revenue, DVD sales), the present (cable subscriber fees, iTunes), and the future (streaming subscription fees and ad revenue)" (bloomberg). He sees the "present" "under threat". His explanation: "Cable’s lucrative mix of ad revenue and user fees is being attacked by streaming services that are already stealing away viewers and new “skinny bundles” from Dish Network, Apple and soon others that could soon be stealing away lucrative subscribers." compares TV with "Recorded-music and newspaper revenue collapsed under digital assault"

I don´t agree. I expect quite the opposite. Thanks to Amazon & Netflix I can watch now "Game of Thrones" and other HBO gems which I couldn`t afford before. Thanks to Amazon & Co. I am binge watching "Rectify", a brilliant series produced by the ambitious Sundance Channel. Just the rich can afford to subscript to the bunch of expensive elite TV producers like HBO, Sundance, FX, SYFY, AMC and others. But thanks to Amazon & Netflix I am capable to enjoy "The Americans" and other high quality TV series for a reasonable price.

Newcomers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple, Yahoo and others create new platforms and new channels to sell the content of elite producers like HBO. And the newcomers also produce their own ambitious series like Netflix´s "House of Cards" or Amazon`s "Transparent". They are assisted by devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecasts which make it easy to stream online content to the TV.

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.

                                                    Technological Advances

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.

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.?

We are experiencing a win-win situation: HBO & Co. find many more customers, TV-newcomers like Amazon earn additional incomes and the TV watchers get more quality for cheap.


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