Scheduled TV is Dead – Long Live Binge TV
How long has it been since you missed an episode of your favourite TV show?
How long since you grumpily thumbed through the TV schedules and thought ‘There’s nothing on I want to watch’?
Exactly. It doesn’t happen any more.
The days when we’d be forced to endure what a committee of pin-striped programme controllers decided was prime-time are long gone.
Today, the hand that rocks the remote control has the ultimate power, like a 21st Century version of the Roman Emperor in the Colliseum, the consumer has become the God of all he surveys – pulsing finger on the killswitch.
The rise of On Demand TV means the aficionado of the small screen has never been better served. Or more powerful. Binge TV is here. And its here to stay.
Don’t want to watch Eastenders at its scheduled time? Discovered Orange is the New Black half way through the series?
Want to watch every single Sherlock back-to-back and turn Sunday into a sleuth-a-thon?
None of those are problems in 2014. No-one under 50 watches scheduled TV any more – unless its live football.
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky+, BBC iPlayer and catch-up TV services for pretty much every half decent broadcaster means we now dance to the beat of our own pace of life.
I recently discovered Orange is the New Black on Netflix (it’s awesome, in case you wondered). I came to the table late. No matter. I was up to speed by the end of one marathon weekend. Invested. Committed. Captivated.
And it isn’t just me. According to expert commentators Binge TV is now a thing.
A report in the Evening standard this week declared that a third of 25 – 34 year olds and almost as many aged 16 – 24 now prefer to watch several episodes of their favourite show in one sitting, rather than wait for a weekly broadcast.
Deloitte’s annual media consumer survey found 30% binge-view in a group compared with 19% of singletons and women were also keener than men. Almost 20% stayed up late to watch one more episode in a binge.
Quality is not an issue either. Don’t believe for a second that streaming TV services offer you second-rate programming. US drama series House of Cards — broadcast on Netflix in the UK and starring Kevin Spacey — was nominated for a Bafta at this year’s annual TV awards.
It lost out to Breaking Bad, which is also shown on Netflix in the UK. It is the first time that a show not broadcast on a traditional TV channel has won a Bafta.
As you’d expect, the phenomenon is having a detrimental effect on many of the established old-skool broadcasters. TV channels are feeling the sting as more subscribers opt for video streaming services.
But it looks rosier than rosy for the streamers.
Online video service Netflix reported profits of $71m (£42m) in the second quarter of this year, more than double compared with the same period a year ago.
The company said revenue from its streaming content service rose nearly 50% to $1.2bn, compared to $837m a year earlier.
It also added 1.69 million users during the period from March to June and now has 50 million users in over 40 countries.
Next on the ‘endangered list’? DVD and blu-ray. It surely can’t be long now till they disappear for good in favour of digitally delivered nirvana?
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