Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TV Shifts While Retaining Dominance.

People are watching more video programming, but over an increasingly diverse set of devices and technologies.  Television has long dominated entertainment media use, but technological change has shifted the locus of control in what seems an ever-expanding variety of media forms and viewing devices.  Traditional TV has long dominated the market, first through local broadcasters and national networks, then through cable and satellite (with the expansion of networks on offer),  VCRs, and then DVDs provided an additional source of content for viewing, and video recorders gave viewers greater control over when to watch programs.  The expansion of video-on-demand and streaming services have continued that shift in control to the users, as well as expanding their viewing options.  IDC research manager Greg Ireland noted that "now you are seeing remarkable levels of online consumption through so many Internet-connected devices in the living room... Media and tech industries are clearly looking forward."
And even more competitors are jumping into the fray, with major moves by Netflix, Apple, Google, and Amazon to expand the range of content available on demand or through streaming.  Movie studios and other content producers are also exploring ways to make direct sales of digital video content.  On the device side, Amazon's latest contribution is the Kindle Fire, a $199 tablet powered by Android and using a high-resolution color touch screen.  The Fire is positioned as more than a snazzy reader - it's also optimized for audio and video playback and let's users access all of their purchased or rented media content (books, music, videos) from Amazon's Cloud Service.  (There are other new Kindle entries across a range of price points, including a base model at $79).
The appetite for content and new media devices continues to look strong, even in tough economic times.  A new Consumer Electronics report suggests that the typical home of 2.6 people has an average of 24 media gadgets, including at least one smartphone. And the decline in household consumer electronics spending, from an average of $1500 in 2005 to $1179 in 2011 seems to be more a reflection of declining costs than reduced demand.
So while there's more viewing, there's also been strong shifts in how, when and where viewing occurs.  Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist working for Intel and researching how people use and relate to technology, described what's happening -
“Television is now viewed over more devices than ever, and viewers are in control over what they watch more than ever. ... What’s been remarkable is the extraordinary power of television, because at the heart of this is that people just want a good story.”

Source - As more tech-titans provide TV, at-home gadgets multiply, Washington Post 

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