The Demise of Television


A beautiful irony is when some self-impressed cat like Steve Gillmor talks about the “stupid blogosphere” in a blog post.

Another beautiful irony is when I am forced to agree with someone whose entire internet persona I find utterly irritating.  But, sadly, Steve is right about TV.  He’s just wrong about the reason.

It is dead.  When shows like Deadwood can’t make it and Deal or No Deal can, TV is dead.  When I have to find out about a show as perfect as Firefly after it has been off the air for almost 4 years, TV is dead.

When I can watch the entire season of Firefly in a week via Netflix, TV is dead.

When there are no network shows that I would allow my kids to watch, TV is dead.

But it’s not about the internet.  No one other than a honking nerd wants to watch TV in a little window on a computer, when a big screen HDTV plasma is sitting 20 feet away.

Podcasts are too hard to make and no one listens to them.  I do a podcast, but it is becoming more chore than pleasure.  If someone can put their favorite songs on an iPod and listen to them on the train, why in the world would they download and listen to the nasal rants of some geek talking about technology that no one cares about?

It would be more productive to have open Skype calls once a week than to do podcast after podcast and toss them into the ether.  But most podcasters are doing it for themselves, not for the audience, so that doesn’t happen.

It’s not about Digg or MySpace either.  Grownups don’t use those sites.  And most of the 20-somethings I know who do still watch plenty of TV content.  Sometimes they TIVO it; sometimes they wait a season and watch the episodes on DVD.  But in no way, shape or form has some butt-ugly MySpace page or the geek-o-river of news at Digg replaced TV.  The fact that some people think they have tells you how completely out of touch with the real world some bloggers are.

It’s not the content of TV that is dead.  It’s TV as a medium for that sort of content that’s dead.  The networks should just release their shows straight to DVD.  It would save them money and us time.

Crappy shows that cater to some imaginary brainless demographic and a better, ad-free alternative in the form of DVDs and TIVO killed TV as anything other than a screen on which to view carefully selected content.

Ed Sullivan and the important half of the Beatles are gone.  I don’t see anyone rushing in to make TV relevant again.

Technorati tags: ,