I’ve stopped watching television. Name any channel, I don’t watch it. At least not in the sense of how I used to watch television.
When I was a kid, I’d come home from school and camp in front of my television from 4pm-6pm to watch four cartoons in a row. As I grew older, the slots changed to 8.30pm-11.30pm and sometimes till after midnight as I moved on to dramas, action movies and sitcoms.
But that’s changed today. In fact, I hardly see children older than 12 sitting in front of their television sets to watch shows anymore (note: then again, my sample size is really small).
It’s not that there aren’t any more interesting programmes to watch on television anymore, although I wish we’d get better locally-produced shows. It’s simply because we’ve started shifting our television viewing hours to suit us.
Blame flexi-working hours. Blame the Internet. Blame our culture that’s moving into a 24/7, ”always switched on” culture. Or not.
I’ve lately gotten the habit of not wanting to watch or follow any television series as it runs on the local station programming. I’d much prefer to have an entire season of shows on DVD, which I can consume on my own time when I am free.
However, dictating for ourselves when we consume media now is just one-third the story.
On one hand, we’re still consuming what we’ve always consumed on television now, albeit at a time of our choosing.
But there are two other important changes too — what and when we are consuming our television programmes is shifting.
Let’s tackle what we are consuming first. Years ago, people touted the democratisation the Internet would bring to content creation. Thanks to sites like YouTube, anyone could create video content and distribute it to a large audience online. It didn’t take off then. Cat videos weren’t exactly what you would call ”compelling” content.
Once creative people started getting the hang of it, though, the quality started coming through. Add in a couple of corporate sponsorship deals, and Internet-only shows began to take off. Some good examples close to home are Malaysian Dreamgirl and Singapore’s ClickNetwork.television. If you’re a huge geek, check out www.twit.television for some great video content covering the world of technology.
It’s not just videos — audio-format shows called podcasts have also emerged. A podcast is essentially like a radio show but in a digital file (most commonly MP3) and made available for download on a regular basis.
Some are daily shows, like Buzz Out Loud (bol.cnet.com) while there are weekly and monthly shows as well. For local content, if you search iTunes, you will find a local food reviews show called OmNomCast.
This brings me to where we are consuming our media content. I’ve mused before that the Internet is going more and more mobile. And it’s taking its content along with it.
When I’m driving, I don’t listen to radio anymore either. I’m listening to the latest episode of Buzz Out Loud to catch up with the latest technology news . And let’s face it, being the young people we are, we’re not home very often, right?
However, don’t think that all the innovation on putting media on the Internet is only happening overseas. The Media Prima group, which runs TV3, 8TV and NTV7 amongst other channels, has just launched Tonton, which is essentially television on the web. You can catch local television programmes on tonton.com.my from any Internet-capable device — your laptop or netbook — and choose where, when and what you want to watch (although currently it does have very limited catalogue of shows).
Now, if they would just make an app available for mobile phones, it would really be just television anywhere.
* Somewhere in his past, David Lian‘s favourite television show was Xena: Warrior Princess. He’s wondering if someone would just put it up on the Internet for viewing. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/davidlian.