Is TV dead?

Many of those who left the TV fest on the mountains this week would be thinking – TV is dead. At least for those who also attended another event on digital content a few days before. I find myself scouring my brains every night thinking of various ways to make a TV show multi-platform, and itched to get back to Vancouver to run my ideas to my trusty supergeek husband. DH is usually the best person to criticise my ideas anyway (and he does it mercilessly!) and takes me through the methodical aspects of their practicality.

Anyway, I was bowled over by 2 projects that have been kicking ass in the US right now. CurrentTV and LonelyGirl15.

If you are not in the US, chances are you won’t know that there is a riot going on about the above two. CurrentTV is an online aggregator of shows made by users, for users. It is like a professional youtube with an editorial mandate. It is citizen journalism in the digital age. The site even provides tutorials in their online studio on how to edit what you shot, and had roaring success with users shooting commercials for various sponsors. You cannot get more exciting than that when it comes to handing power to the people. The users are also paid for their content.

LonelyGirl15 is a phenomena on its own – it is about a girl who vlog on youtube about her ‘life’, except that she is an actress. There is an entire storyline to her life – she is running away from a cult, an evil order and her entire life is semi-dictated by other online youtube viewers who also try to solve puzzles for her. This, mind you, include the users attending live events where the entire story premise is lived out as if it is real. How’s that for interactivity?

It is uncanny that one of my last few posts was about how digital Hollywood, and compared to the above two – my theory is so outdated.

Is going online, dictating story lines and acting out stories the future of entertainment? I don’t know. But I am damn excited.


  1. TV is far from dead. It’s just beginning. It’s the delivery systems that are going to change. Most content WILL be delivered through the Internet. Most content WILL be free from the stranglehold that the cable companies have on your choice of content. Most content WILL be free from network censors, and formulaic plotlines (really, everything is recycled. For example, see sitcoms). Apple has foreseen this obviously — with their Internet set-top box (the Apple TV) and the ITunes store (you can buy movies, songs, etc). The box even can connect to YouTube for content. If you think you have 200 channels now, imagine the future.

    Delivery system change: Yes (companies will have to adapt to different formats, run-length)
    TV Production companies needed: Of course. Good content will still be in demand.
    Broadcasters needed: Yes. There will be more of these smaller ones — handling financing, subscriptions. Everyone will be able to get into the “game”.
    Interactivity: I believe that this is over-hyped. TV is a passive activity, and does anyone really want to interact? (unless its an “adult” situation perhaps)

    Content is king. Exciting and fresh content, whether it comes from “users” or professional companies, will always be in demand.

  2. I agree TV isn’t dead, it (at least its content) is just evolving. I don’t know if you know this already but there is a company in Vancouver already producing a sci-fi series marketed straight to the Internet.

    Interactivity with your audience is almost de rigeur for any program to succeed nowadays. I’m not talking about physical interactions, like Shazron implied, but a forum for fans to discuss and possibly shape the creation of the “user-centred” content. That’s why the reality show genre will never really die even though some of us might want them to!


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