I don’t miss TV but that doesn’t mean the show’s over. (Part II)
March 27, 2009
Whether TV is dying, I suppose, is debatable. But it certainly is changing, as are all mass media. Which got me to thinking…
I already said I don’t miss TV but that doesn’t mean I’ve rid it from my life. Given I have ten of them in my house, I can hardly be called an abolitionist.
We still make TV commercials at our agency. I still love the craft of making them. For that matter, I came very close to selling my first novel, The Last Generation to Touchstone Television for a possible series. I helped all I could on my good friend’s TV show “Trust Me.” TV is part of my life as it is part of everyone’s life.
So, let me rephrase the point: I don’t miss TV as a primary part of my life. Having the Bears game on in the background while I read the paper. Watching Sportscenter while I jog on the treadmill. Waking up to Sponge Bob with my children. Yes to all of that. Yes to TV.
The key here is that TV is not a primary part of these vignettes. It has moved out of the living room and into the background. It has become a secondary or even more distant player in my life.
Other mass media have evolved (devolved?) similarly. Radio started out as a communication tool and quickly grew to be an important part of household entertainment. TV came along and took its place in the family room. Radio quickly moved into the automobile, where it still plays a meaningful role today. I’m guessing, before long, it will end up where it began: as a communication tool.
And what about newspapers and magazines? Their imminent demise is even more speculated than television. Clearly the Internet is forcing their hand. But they will not fold. Mass media will merely recede as it evolves, occupying peripheral space as opposed to front and center.
In other words, it doesn’t go away but it becomes less than it was. For advertisers, that means no more paying out the nose for commercials (production and media). The rise of so-called “virals” has already cheapened the form. Agencies will have to adjust accordingly. The smart ones already are.