Why Netflix Won’t Kill TV

BY Dr Tomi Oladepo:

Netflix won't kill tV

As much as we might like to romanticise about how digital media products and services bring “disruption” and upset traditional models of running everyday life as-we-know it, I’m here to say that Neflix and other screen streaming services will not be killing the Television anytime soon.

1. The need for LIVE
Television is more than entertainment. It today’s media economy, it might appear that video-on-demand is all the rave. Gone are the days we waited for the next episode of a favourite show in the coming week. Now we just binge-watch House of Cards on Netflix and get over it. However, there has been no substitute for live news and reports yet. Some might say we make up for this through following live updates online. In fact, I have observed news premiere on Twitter before traditional news organisations caught on. Yet, until there’s a substitute for live news reportage, the TV as a broadcast channel (not just a box to stream Netflix) will remain relevant.

2. Local news is still news 

It is no news that CNN and the other media big boys underreport certain parts of the world except it’s something catastrophic – a disease outbreak or war. Local television stations provide the perspective that is found missing on global media platforms. Yes, citizen journalists now churn local news on blogs and Twitter, especially reports that do not make it to traditional local channels. However, once again, access to live TV news on events happening locally is not a demand digital streaming services are meeting at the moment. For this reason, TV, especially local TV, is not going to bow to the new digital kid on the block (just yet).

3. The internet is not (affordable) everywhere 

The Internet is not available everywhere, and where it is, it’s not affordable for everyone. Video streaming services such as Netflix, thrive on a substantial chunk of data and a decent monthly fee. Without access to stable internet infrastructure, it’s a bit far-fetched to imagine how the Television that “streams” with power supply at the minimum, will become extinct. The digital divide is still very much with us, and needs to be tackled first before we can imagine this scale of disruption of old media.

4. It is all converging 

Whether you stream the BBC from the internet, or watch it via Sky Box (satellite), you are still tuned into traditional television. This convergence demonstrates that TV will not be left behind in any form. As the idea of media evolves, I foresee the Television (and radio) adapting with the times in order to remain relevant.

I believe that of all old media platforms, the paper book might be the worst hit with the introduction of eBooks. Yet even then, eBooks are not finding it that easy to disrupt, because of people like me who are loyal to both formats. I won’t be quick to dismiss any medium of communication just yet. It might change gradually, but it’s not likely to become extinct anytime soon. I’m glad Mashable (the inspiration for this post) also agrees.


Feature Photo: Televisione Streaming/Creative Commons

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