Ten years ago I attended a media conference in London where a speaker from Vodaphone claimed they intended to be the largest broadcaster within 30 years. It seemed an extraordinary hope, but now I am thinking it was extraordinary only because it hugely overestimated how long it would take.
The viewers have tasted 'On Demand' content because the laws and safegaurds, even contracts to re-broadcast, didn't cover any internet platform until only recently. People don't want to wait 6 months to see episodes of their favourite show. They want it now! And they can get it. The Olympics and other events like it are being packaged and scheduled to suit networks and bring them the highest paying rewards in a world that is now ten years gone.
Are they not paying attention? Last night I stayed up to watch a live broadcast of the hammer throw. During the competition the commentator had to keep reminding us the cheering and gasps of the crowd were for something else going on in the stadium. I jumped online and watched that other thing because the crowd made it very clear it was far more exciting than what my free to air channel and my 16 Olympic cable channels were offering.
The reason democracy is such a cherished concept is because it allows for popular choice. The reason democracy breaks down is because it stops being a genuine democracy as money and power take away those foundations. The internet is the ultimate democracy. It is me's-ville. I log on and I am in my cyber world where my clicks dictate what I want and what I get.
At the moment the content users of all entertainment are being offered a genuine choice. They can choose what they watch and when they watch it as individuals. And the 'suits' who control today's media, using ideas from a decade or more ago, are trying desperately to stop this revolution. Good luck!
The Olympics the networks are giving me, are offered as recorded material. That's fine in truth. London to Australia is half a world away. When most competition starts in London it's 11pm in Australia. When it finishes we are just waking up. So I would never expect anything but recorded material to run during the day. But the material is served up, packaged and puffed out to include magazine style editorial pieces on stories about athletes home life and the many interesting features that London offers as a city. A few of these are fine, but my network seems to think they can treat me like a fool and deliver the material I am longing for when and how they want to, not when I want it. And they string their material out to keep me watching for as long as possible.
They are turning the Olympics into the highlights of a few sporting events alongside some sort of magazine styled variety show.
Viewers don't complain any more because they have become smarter. The young are tech savy and finally have alternative choices, like jumping to TunnelBear and similar, a site that creates a false read from your computer to make it appear to be in the country of your choice. My computer is currently in London having a jolly good time watching the BBC's wonderful live coverage of the Olympics. "Chip, chip, old boy. I'm off to a London rubbiddy dub dub for a Byte," my computer said to me and then left my home country.
The standard response for years from networks and show creators has been, if you don't like us, turn us off. We would have, but we had no other viewing choices - now we have lots. The revolution is upon us! We are moments away from having a large screen TV that is connected to the internet and not tuned in to receive a broadcasting channel that we're forced to accept. And the networks that had it so good for so long will soon become the cassette tapes of the broadcast industry. Forgotten somewhere in an old box and occasionally watched for nostalgia and nothing more.
It can't come to soon as far as I'm concerned.