There once was a time when TV was the mecca of all things entertainment. Families treasured their box as an instant source for all things inherently attention grabbing. Advertisers subversively embraced television as the innovation it was; financing a PC-esque movement from moving imagery solely on the big screen to one being able to witness content from the comfort of one’s home. TV seemed to be a one-size-fits-all medium, with multiple channels designed for multiple people. All loaded with excitement, celebrities, and strategic product placement.
With the Internet came uncharted avenues. Whereas the television remains a staple in the American lifestyle (adapting primarily through the shows that create the experience; but also with add-ons such as video game consoles/dvd players etc.) the Internet absorbed TV’s capabilities and easily surpassed them. Companies such as Netflix and Hulu are now offering television services without the need for an actual television. We’ve transitioned from a society that demands TV to a society that demands content that TV once monopolized.
While it’s obvious that younger generations trend television downward- the question remains, should advertisers fight to save their sponsored medium? And, is it even possible for TV to recover from its slippery slope?
The struggle to save the TV’s popularity is one of interactivity. Companies such as Apple and Sony (and Microsoft if one counts gaming systems) have spent millions designing technologies destined to merge the two mediums together. While these different technologies help keep TV relevant, they still aren’t sufficient in innovating the platform itself. If advertisers are interested in keeping the television on top they need to stop thinking of commercials as “product entertainment” and more as designated two-screen marketing campaigns.
“I’m the idiot box. I’m the TV. I’m the all-seeing eye and the world of the cathode ray. I’m the boob tube. I’m the little shrine the family gathers to adore.’
You’re the television? Or someone in the television?’
The TV’s the altar. I’m what people are sacrificing to.
What do they sacrifice?’ asked Shadow.
Their time, mostly,’ said Lucy. ‘Sometimes each other.’ She raised two fingers, blew imaginary gunsmoke from the tips. Then she winked, a big old I Love Lucy wink.
You’re a God?’ said Shadow.
Lucy smirked, and took a ladylike puff of her cigarette. ‘You could say that,’ she said.
― American Gods