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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Digital 4 Lyfe... or Something

I found this online today:

According to the Calgary Herald:

"For the first time ever, Canadians are spending more time online than they are watching television, according to a new report."

I dunno, but maybe it's something for people to be thinking about -- especially in the light of the recent CRTC semi-decision.

Something to mull.

I know that, personally, unless it's PVR'd I don't watch TV anymore.

I mean that as in sitting on the couch, remote in hand, aimlessly flicking through my 900+ channels.

That just doesn't happen.

1 - My PVR is always full

2 - Finding anything that I actually want to watch on either the Rogers guide, Rogers On Demand or the Rogers Search (yes, it's got a -- very, very broken -- Search feature) is an utter chore.

3 - I'm on the web 6+ hours a day anyway. Why leave my computer to sit in front of a TV? My computer chair is comfy, my monitor's as good as my TV at comparable distance, and I can multitask if I choose to.

Now, yes, this is a heartbreaking personal revelation for someone who wants to be a TV writer.

But it's something that's evolved organically.

It's not like I went 'screw TV!' and fled to the web.

No, like so many things in life, I ended up on the path of least resistance.

I found options that were easier, that suited my needs and allowed me to do whatever I wanted.

Yes, even legally.

I can go to watch.ctv.ca, load up a show, resize the window and edit documents while watching the tiny box off to my left. I can move that window, re-size it or close it at will. I can click through a library and find whatever I want to watch in 3-5 seconds, tops.

Heck, I'm even fine with the commercials.

And the thing is, that's only one site. CBC has... well, a frustrating setup but if you bookmark things it's easy to get back to some of their better stuff.

Global's got a site too.

Add in TED.com, Youtube and a few others and, well, that's time folks.

Simply put: The simple convenience of sitting down on the couch and flipping through channels really isn't all that convenient anymore.

Or, well, less convenient than the next best options (PVR & Web).

That said, you want to know the times I'm most likely to watch TV? It's when I'm relaxing with my wife.

Sometimes we'll chill on the couch, flick through what's on the PVR and be not in the mood for any of it.

Then, in that brief span of time, that's when you can grab me.

That's when we'll trek through the 'Guide' or the (slow as all hell) 'Rogers on Demand'.

Usually we give up and watch a DVD... 'cause, heck, loading a DVD tray is easier than finding something interesting on that hot mess.

What a shame.

Yes, the problem at hand is absolutely freaking complex.

Making TV for the web seems like a money pit at this point (unless you're Joss Whedon or Will Farrell) and making TV in Canada... well, the broadcasters who do it still think it's a lodestone around their neck.

So... I'm not sure what the answers are just yet.

But when I figure it out, I'll meet you at the bank.



John McFetridge said...

Joss Whedon and Will Farrell are interesting examples because it makes it seem like the new media is an aftermarket for people who have already been established in traditional media.

The challenge will be breaking someone out in new media.

Or, the challenge will be niche.

I usually work publishing and we've seen how some writers (okay, mostly JA Konrath so far) are doing very well with their backlists as e-books but there hasn't really been a breakout new author without a big publishing company. Yet.

Because writing books and publishing to e-book can be done by one person, not that many need to sell to make it worthwhile so they can be directed at niche markets.

TV shows for niche markets are a challenge, for sure, but possible, I guess.

Peter said...

Ultimately I'm not sure how much it actually means. What are they DOING online? I doubt people spend 18 hours a day on their email account, a lot of that time is going to be spent like you say, watching TV (or film, or Youtube) online.

Yes it's bad news for traditional OTA broadcasters, but they're struggling for any number of reasons. I don't think that the medium of television's in any danger, I just think the delivery mechanism will be changing in the near future.

John McFetridge said...

I guess now we'll really get to test that whole, the medium is the message thing, see what changes there are to the content when the delivery system changes.

Laci said...

I tried to take a look at your Chuck spec, but there was nothing there... you can send it me via email... i am interested in reading. I am writing one right now, and I have fallen into a similar trap and Casey's character.

Brandon Laraby said...

Hi Laci!

Ooh! Sorry about that, let me take a look and see what's going on.

Thanks for letting me know!

Brandon Laraby said...

Okay, I think it's up and running proper again!

Please give it a shot, let me know if it works!


Laci said...

I was able to download it!

Thanks so much

Brandon Laraby said...

Glad to hear it ;)

Please write back and let me know what you think once you've had a chance to read it.

Hope it helps!