Is on-demand slowly killing traditional broadcasting?

Is on-demand slowly killing traditional broadcasting?

Summary: I'm not a big TV watcher to be honest. In the UK, we have the "licence fee" which you need to pay the government before you even connect the telly to the wall.

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Is the traditional TV going to pot?I'm not a big TV watcher to be honest. In the UK, we have the "licence fee" which you need to pay the government before you even connect the telly to the wall. If you don't, you can bet your arse you'll have armed police storming the windows to your fourth-floor apartment, throwing in the tear gas and dragging you out by your feet, never to be seen again.

But with the rise of "next generation" television; on-demand and downloadable broadcasts, the future for the television is looking questionable, in whether this 80 year old invention can sustain the lead over it's 30 year old little sister, the Internet.

With the rise of YouTube and streaming media, it's been far easier to type in a few keywords and gets the content you're looking for. Before the great wave of DMCA notices last year, you could watch most television broadcasts online, albeit illegally. Whether the broadcast giants saw this threat as a potential solution or not, soon after on-demand television really took off.

The numbers are growing larger and larger, and not only in the US. Over the course of the last 3 years, Kontiki, a company which specialises in peer-assisting on-demand content, has rolled out its platform to Channel 4 and the BBC, making previously broadcast programmes available to anyone with a British IP address whenever they want it.

In the US, the top three television networks have launched on-demand services, ABC, NBC and our very own parent corporation CBS. These have revolutionised the way we watch broadcasts, enabling us to bypass the standard schedules and watch programmes when we wish to. Many see this as a great thing, but ISP's of course are worried about the toll it's having.

The toll that on-demand media is having on ISP's is a great one. I honestly don't completely understand how the US Internet network works; I know that in the UK, the bandwidth is very much shared amongst local geographic locations. This is slowing down the entire network with the amount of bandwidth being used, and ISP's are worried.

I, as many, get home after a difficult and tiring day and slump in front of the box for an hour or so, with a nice cup of tea. This most likely won't change, and seems to be the one thing that keeps the traditional television alive. But considering UK citizens can't avoid watching live broadcasts without a television licence, non-licence fee payers can still watch on-demand broadcasts for absolutely free. Where does this leave the broadcasters? Evidentially out of pocket, and with the current credit crisis, this is something that they will most likely try and avoid.

What do you think? Is this something you're aware of, or affected by it? Thoughts, theories and general rants are welcome.

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7 comments
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  • I'm happy for television and on-demand.

    I do have my antenna with my HDTV, so I can watch local shows broadcasted from ABC, FOX, and CBS (don't care for NBC due to broadcasting in real channel 2 in zip code 32304). I only watch local digital programming. I have a Channel Master 4221 Outdoor antenna, but I use it indoor, which picks up ABC just fine.

    I also like on-demand, but I wish I could get all the content in Windows Media Center from ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS (even if I contriduct myself about not caring for NBC, that's only when NBC broadcasts a channel lower than 7, which this requires a very large outdoor antenna and this will not fit in my apartment).

    I just don't like the hassle of going to ABC.com, NBC.com, CBS.com, FOX.com, Hulu.com, etc. just to find and watch TV shows on-demand.
    Grayson Peddie
  • Happy Holiday

    I watched Happy Thanksgiving Charlie Brown with kids and
    my own-demand from last nite's recording, how 'bout in the
    UK? ;)
    dascha1
    • RE: Happy Holiday

      Whenever I'm back up north and seeing my kids, if Zoe (the older one, 5 years old) is bored and playing up, I'll grab her mum's laptop and stick on something kid-related. Failing that, I'll use my phone. She's more than happy with that, and it makes everyone happy.

      TV for the kids to keep them occupied, and occupied kids to keep the parents and everyone else happy :-)
      zwhittaker
  • After looking at the page about licensing...

    I like that idea. It's like PBS here, which is certainly a concept that works. The per set license is the only thing I have a problem with, I think it should be per residence instead. Still, what a wonderful way to get better programming and have no stupid commercials.
    chrome_slinky@...
  • RE: Is on-demand slowly killing traditional broadcasting?

    Er, linear TV viewing in the UK is going up, not down, amongst all age groups.
    Have a look at Thinkbox, the advertising industry group that monitors such things.
    On-demand TV on different platforms is complementary to viewing linear TV and each just boosts the TV viewing habit.
    And that's the future, happening right now.
    jamesamoody@...
  • RE: Is on-demand slowly killing traditional broadcasting?

    Ok there's two sides to this. Firstly, licence fee == theft. It's illegal (but the BBC has the courts fooled into thinking it's not) and it should not exist.

    I don't watch the BBC channels much (twice this year), I don't listen to the radio at all, and I use the BBC websites but could live without them. Which means I'm paying best part of ??150 every single year (oops, sorry that's not right - they'll want to steal ??200 a year by the end of the decade) for absolutely bugger all. Sounds like theft to me.

    Secondly, I like to watch TV on my TV. The online players don't work very well in this scenario. Now, a podcast-like system might work. I pay for access to the podcast feed, which is downloaded to my NAS and accessible from my media streamer. Of course the NAS and media streamer don't currently have the software to support this model, but that's not unsurmountable.
    RangerFish
    • RE: RangerFish

      You're right, but the licence fee is [b]only[/b] to watch [b]television[/b] programmes which are within about 15 minutes of being broadcast. The fee no longer includes radio, it's been TV only for a few years now. The BBC website is open to all, and you don't need a TV licence to watch old or previously broadcast programmes on iPlayer. So you can get away without paying a penny... if you really wanted to.
      zwhittaker