Where, When, and Why We Will Watch Media Content in 2025

Today we will peer into the future…..imagine fast-forwarding ten years ahead — Wait —  I got a little queasy at the thought.  First off, l I’ll be ten years older…yeah…for some of us that represents a large chunk of what’s left. Secondly, with the rapid changes in technology, society, and medicine, there’s a good chance I’ll  be implanted with bits and chips, hooked up permanently to the internet (wait, too late), and probably trying to figure out how to upgrade my kitchen’s food synthesizer.

too.star-trek-food-synthesizer

 Luckily, I’ll focus my discussion on the future of broadcast television.

That’s good because I could go on for days about hovercraft, self-diving cars, and drone shipments from Amazon going rogue.

jetsons-tv-production-studio

To be honest, I haven’t watched much TV in the past three years thanks to school. In the rare moments I do watch, it involves PBS (Go, Downton Abbey), the food network (Chopped), or a movie on Netflix (yea ,commercial free).

My chosen major of Converged Communications requires a working knowledge of all media….whether I like it or not.

It is not so much a dislike of ALL television, but rather disdain for MOST of it. Examples include; Housewives of Anywhere, Duck Disaster, Honey Bunches of Boo Boo, Dating Nekkid, and anything with a bachelor or bachelorette.

I use entertainment as a refuge from the violence and horrors of both the real world and my nightmares after a large pizza and a liter of Diet Coke. But, I digress….

Let me gaze into my crystal ball and make my first predictionwizard-of-oz-crystal-ball

Your Television set will know a great deal about you — maybe more than you know about yourself.

Smart TVs are already hot in the market ,and in ten years’ time we will willingly give our permission for anyone — meaning corporations — to track our viewing habits.  This is always under the guise of “improving your viewing experience”.  A few months ago Samsung got in a bit of hot water when its smart TV privacy policy included this statement

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third-party through your use of Voice Recognition,”

ES6100_SmartTV._V148036898_eavesdropping-e1313008985884-600x385

By 2025, we won’t even give it a thought.  Frankly, enough of us old codgers who care about privacy will either be dead or senile, so we won’t put up much of a fuss.  The younger generations grow up with little expectation of privacy.  To them, privacy is an archaic word with little meaning in their techno-driven lives. Smart TVs will know what you like and when you like to view it.  Using algorithms, to aggregate your tastes, providers will be able to create a unique TV “station” filled with your favorite homicidal zombie Apocalypse shows and sports — two more reasons I don’t watch TV. (I know….curmudgeon is my middle name)

Here comes another vision....
Here comes another vision

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Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, and online entertainment will battle for dominance as network broadcasters work feverishly to protect their ad-based business model

amazon_vs_netflix-1200-80

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Netflix only won a single Emmy out of 14 nominations.  That Emmy, however, represents the first time a show, that never appeared on network television, received a major-category Emmy. Times; they are a changin’. The Internet is evolving much faster than cable TV did. The explosion of technology, and society’s ravenous appetite for Internet and mobile media, are creating opportunity for digital entertainment to far exceed traditional broadcasting.

At the end of the first half of 2013, roughly 55 percent of the U.S. population (age 13 and up) had some type of streaming video subscription, says research house NPD. Of that total, 38 million subscribe to Netflix, at least 7 million watch the Amazon Instant Video service, and Hulu counts more than 4 million Hulu Plus subscribers.

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More reasons why TV may be dead in ten years

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personalization-guys-mePersonalization and unlimited content for all

We are spoiled and we like it that way.  In 2025, viewers will expect and receive even more ability to customize their viewing experience.  With the lower costs of producing and distributing digital content, producers  readily pay attention to niche markets.  Smaller audiences are now profitable.  Companies will produce new shows and either ramp up the production or cancel them based on consumer feedback.

We’ve learned to say hello or goodbye to shows without much thought.  The speed at which new shows are thrown at us is matched by the speed of how quickly we become bored.  Like petulant children, we cast aside anything that doesn’t immediately bemuse us,and then demand something more.  Yes…you petulant  consumers….I’m talking to you.  The availability of a trillion shows will be pure visual opium for the masses and intense competition for the producers.

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future-crystal-ball-308x188

 Transmedia content creates in-depth story telling and captures audiences’ attention

The linear form of story telling may be the ghost of Christmas past by 2025. Transmedia experiences will become the norm rather than the exception. Online viewers currently experience much content in a transmedia approach. Fans join groups, play games, enter contests, and meet in person for events specifically designed to enhance loyalty to the content/product.  Future viewers will be expected to immerse themselves in a variety of experiential and interactive platforms in order to reach a deeper level of understanding of complex story lines — consuming along the way. Producers, artists, marketing professionals, product lines, and fans will create collaborative content not currently seen on TV.

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384206208_oHollywood artists and independent film makers are heading online.  With the likes of Netflix,HBO, and Amazon creating original content, creative professionals are finding open istock_moviearms and a willingness to try new and largely unproven projects.  Digital media can easily supply the small but veracious audiences with diverse content. By 2025, this trend will create a serious shift towards  creative content moving online.

If you can’t beat them — buy them.  stock-footage-three-golden-dollar-signs

Gargantuan corporations control most aspects of media and entertainment venues. Their power to manipulate content is astounding.  Take a look at the top ten media corporations. You can click on the top five to see what they own.

Top Ten Media Corporations (Forbes 2014)

1. Comcast                       6. Direct TV

2. Walt Disney                  7.  WPP (U.K.)

3. Fox                                8. CBS Corporation

4. Time Warner                 9. Viacom

5. Time Warner-Cable     10. Dish Network

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Media conglomeration may push traditional TV to go the way of the Do Do bird. Change is inevitable, but television is the foundation of the new media we experience today.  Its formats, successes, and failures will help build the framework of things to come. A medium doesn’t disappear, but rather transforms into something new.

The assumption that such change is always positive will be tested through the convergence of entertainment, news, and advertising.

Ethics

NOTHING IS REALLY FREE — except maybe the toothbrushes the wacky dentist on my block  gave out for Halloween — But hey! He was advertising, and got a tax write-off, AND we had to thank him! So, NOT really free!

Digital platforms are drawing advertisers away from TV forcing the networks to change their advertising model.  Ads as entertainment have long been popular on the Internet. Reflexively, the Networks hare blurring the lines between ad space and content.

— a brief, historical synopsis of crafty ad placement–

Oh those product placements!

A further blurring of content and marketing

More sophisticated types of ad-sneak (my new term) include ads disguised as social media buzz.

Crossing the line

How about ad content as news?  Yup. The  premise is the ad is so “intriguing” that it becomes a news story…..Or as I like to call it, “a blatant promotion wrapped in media paper with a bow of journalistic decoration”.

 Traditional news outlets in the United States are struggling

to keep ratings…and profits962eea0b24db18f4dfc32710298f868a

Commercialization is creeping more and more into news content.  News is big business — run by big corporations — for big profits.

Both what is covered and what isn’t can be influenced by the parent corporations of the media outlets.

 Globalissues.org says in a report on Media conglomeration

On such television channels or newspapers/magazines owned by such large corporations, you are understandably not going to read much criticism about those companies. Furthermore, you are not likely to see much deep criticism about economic, political or other policies that go against the interest of that parent company.

In ten years, I see larger corporations creating even greater pressure on news media to earn profits .News, as we know it, will be more “ad-fo-mercianal” than hard news content  It is my hope that the democracy of the Internet will allow independent voices to still be heard (Net Neutrality) but, the media corporations are working hard to control that content too. Perhaps, the traditional role of unbiased reporting will shift to citizen journalists who won’t have a paycheck to worry about while covering world events. Sadly, the media we’ve relied on to produce unbiased reporting often gives us analysis from celebrity pundits rather than hard facts from journalists.

CBS_Evening_News_with_Cronkite,_1968

I think we need a distinct line between journalism and commercialism.  News should be freer of profit controlled content. I’m not naive enough to think the corporations will give up the big bucks. Many argue that we, the viewers, are getting exactly what we want — that the producers are simply responding to demand — which means we’re dumbing ourselves down.  Gone are the days when audiences analyzed information based on a balanced presentation of the facts.  No, we jumped that shark a long time ago. I may be old, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.  Hey! I’d like to have SOME form of media that I could trust while I sit in my rocker and gum my oatmeal.

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