Wed, Jan 13, 2010
[Image by Robert Couse-Baker]
As we take the first steps into this all-new, but as-yet-undefinitively-named, decade, we’d like to be the first to officially proclaim that TV certainly isn’t dead – despite the protestations of many of its opponents in the middle of the Noughties – but continues to be the cornerstone of visual entertainment in this multimedia millenium.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECT
Boosted no doubt by the proliferation of celebrity-led talent and schadenfreude shows, viewing figures have soared over the last twelve months and, ironically, the social media ‘TV Killer’ apps that now form part of our everyday lives are acting as effective viewer recruitment tools, as anyone on Twitter or Facebook can bear testament to – The Stephen Fry Effect on ITV4’s recent coverage of the darts is a classic example.
This cross-platform promotional model is perhaps not exactly what ‘Noo Meeja’ commissioners anticipated, but it’s a model that seems to have seized the general public’s imagination. Just this week Chris Moyles returned from his Christmas break with the chance for listeners to join him and his crew live from the Celebrity Big Brother house and, also on Radio 1, in Zane Lowe’s absence the cast of The Inbetweeners are taking over the airwaves.
Talking of celebrity, for ‘research purposes’ we thumbed through the latest issue of heat magazine and about 75% of all the pics, features – and even the ads – were of small screen ‘stars’. [Clearly this ‘research’ isn’t exactly a threat to the likes of Harris or MORI but, interesting nevertheless. Possibly.]
For would-be comedians, TV is a laughing [all the way to the bank] matter in the quest for fame and fortune, with stars of the stand-up circuit coining in the cash as part of the panel-show to DVD to sell-out stadium gig merry-go-round.
Just ask the likes of Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard, Bill Bailey and Michael ‘Apparently-it’s-‘cool’-to-hate-me-but-I-earned-eight-million-quid-last-year-so-I’m-not-too-worried-thanks’ McIntyre et al.
Pay-TV has seen another upsurge in subscribers – Sky is currently received in 9.5m UK households and heading swiftly towards the 10million mark – and DVD / BluRay box sets are flying off the shelves, thanks in no small measure to the frankly brilliant drama and comedy offerings streaming in steadily from the States.
And as TV producers get to grips with the benefits of HD production and broadcast, TV manufacturers are bending over backwards to constantly push the limits of technology and offer the viewer the best possible viewing experience. [Incidentally, we’re not yet entirely convinced by the push towards 3D in the home, but we’re following its evolution with interest].
Oh, and to top it all, the all-important teenage viewer – aka the advertisers’ wet dream – is BACK [did they ever really leave?] with ‘young people’ spending an increasing amount of their media time with the telly. Again, quality US imports must be a driving factor coupled with some pretty fantastic home-grown programming, especially on BBC Three, BBC Four and our old friends in Horseferry Road.
So to sum up, TV’s really not dead – far from it. There’s still plenty of work that can be done to make it even healthier – and we’re definitely leading the charge – but in the meantime, embrace it, immerse yourself in it and, most importantly, be part of it.
Happy New Year folks.