4 Reasons Why The Internet Hasn’t Made TV Redundant Yet (And Never Will)

What will happen

  • The internet will take an ever increasing share of advertising expenditure
  • The quality of TV programming may reduce because of less advertising dollars sponsoring development
  • The audience will continue to fragment between an ever increasing number of channels

But TV won’t become redundant.


4 Reasons Why The Internet Hasn’t Made TV Redundant Yet (And Never Will)

1. Watching TV Requires Less Equipment

To watch TV you just need 3 things: a TV, a remote control and some potato chips.

To watch videos on the internet you need keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, computer (or a laptop with all this build in), internet connection, desk (or a lap).

2. You Can Sit On The Couch When You Watch TV

That is more comfortable and more social than sitting on an office chair in the spare room.

And TV’s are big.

Who has a TV that is smaller than their computer monitor?

No one,  that’s who.

3. TV Content Is Always Playing

Just change the channel to change the content. One press of a button is all you need.  The channels are running 24 hours a day, you don’t have to click the “Play” button.

For videos on the internet you have the additional hassle of searching for them. Exhausting.

And then you have to click the “Play” button!

And then you have the added hassle of wading through all the garbage before you find something funny. At least on TV another human has deemed the content of interest to most people, with YouTube videos you’ll get all sorts of pointless shit in your face. It feels like your life is draining away.

4. TV Demands Your Attention Right Now Because Of The Schedule

If you don’t watch the TV show now, you’ll miss it. (Yes, yes, I’ve heard of TiVo, but most of the time a show is interesting enough to sit and watch it right now, but not valuable enough to actually bother to record it)

Videos on the internet are there forever, there’s no hurry.

Do you agree? Do you disagree?

Add your comments below, don’t just sit there like a passive vegetable, speak up!

22 Replies to “4 Reasons Why The Internet Hasn’t Made TV Redundant Yet (And Never Will)”

  1. I disagree with points 2 and 3 actually. Point 2, if you have the correct setup and have your internet connected to your big screen TV in your lounge there is no reason why you can’t watch on the couch, granted this takes a little bit more setup for your average pleb but it can be done pretty easily with an Xbox or PS3.

    Point 3, You can set tv shows to automatically download and automatically be renamed and placed into the correct folders these days and access them directly through your TV via your PS3 or X box, this is hardly a hassle, scroll through to the show you want and press play, no searching required.

    I do agree that most people do not have the technical know how to set themselves up properly to take advantage of watching TV through the Internet though so TV will always have its place for people that don’t know better.

  2. Thank you very much, that list of 18 steps doesn’t sound hard at all, I’m sure everybody on the planet will set it up as you have.


  3. Maybe you should have actually read my third paragraph instead of jumping to conclusions, as I said, you are right, most people would find setting it up too difficult but once setup, it is just as easy to control as normal TV. The thing is though it is getting easier and easier and eventually people will be able to control Internet TV through their normal remote and I think it’s a reality that’s closer than you think.

  4. I only ever read first, second and fourth paragraphs. Never third.

    I think reality is further away than you think.

  5. I doubt it will make TV redundant but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two technologies merge, the amount of benefit TV stations could gain from having 2 way communication is massive – targeted adverts, accurate viewer statistics, interactive content, on demand content. Considering your marketing background I doubt you didn’t think of this already. The internet will make traditional aerials redundant once the average users bandwidth is high enough.

    There will always be demand for the large screen + couch combination in that respect I doubt TV’s themselves will ever be replaced. However there is already a growing overlap between computers and TVs with newer TVs gaining built in UPnP support – TVs are basically simplified computers tailored to the desired result – no one wants to do their office work sitting on a couch at only 1080p.

    Personally I hate TVs scheduling, especially due to NZ getting content later than other countries. Of the TV I actually watch, all of it is sourced from the internet and very little of it is pushed to the big screen. I watch things when it suits me and I’m free to pursue other activities at the same time.

    Why not compare setting up an iMac to a TV, or settings up a home theatre system with amp + speakers to a desktop PC both seem like a much fairer comparison.

    Just because it’s currently not easy enough for the masses doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future.

  6. I agree with Betty, you might think it’s too hard to setup Sheldon but people that really care about content and don’t want to be railroaded into simply watching what is on will take the time to set these things up properly much like how people take the time to set up a home theater system, it takes a while to get it right but lots of people do it, they don’t just not do it because it’s too hard.

  7. “lots of people do it” yes. But not “all people”.

    A minority will make the effort.

    The majority won’t.

    The lazy majority will keep TV in it’s present format for a long long time yet until it’s not offered anymore and they are forced to change.

    Like when Telecom discontinued 025 mobiles, thousands of people waited until the day after it was dead to do something about it.

    It will be the same when analogue TV is turned off. Most people will not act until the day they must.

  8. How many people still have dial-up? 250,000 NZ homes. (With broadband in just over 1 million homes)

    Source: Stats NZ

    Most people resist change.

    Surely you have seen the normal distribution curve for techonological adoption?

    How long will it take for everyone to work through this process with internet TV? 10 years? 20 years? Longer?

  9. There is no way in hell it’s that far away. You Tube has already begun broadcasting things the same time as studios. It’s just a matter of time before the big TV studios realise how much they can save in overheads by releasing through the Internet and as soon as it’s viable technology will follow extremely quickly. All it would take is a one big TV studio to do it, the rest will follow suit as will the tech. It’s going to be within the next 5 years. Watching internet TV will be as easy as it is to watch regular TV now, people won’t even know the difference.

  10. What do you think TV stations do?

    They sell advertising. That’s all.

    Having watchable programmes that wrap around the ads are a neccessary evil from their perspective. Having good programmes attracts big audience = big advertising revenues.

    How does releasing their programmes through the internet earn them more advertising dollars? It doesn’t. It will earn less. No-one will sit through 4 minutes of ads online. They will click somewhere else.

    TVNZ OnDemand is playing 30 seconds of ads every 10 minutes of programming, and even that’s pushing it. And most of those ads are for other programmes, there are very few paid sponsors.

  11. All you’ve proven is that the current advertising revenue model for normal TV won’t work for internet TV, so what? Someone will think of a model that DOES work.

  12. Here we are in 2010 and no-one has come up with it yet.

    How much more time do we need?

    Maybe there is no answer?

  13. Internet broadcasting is still in it’s infancy, it’s very new, they won’t think of an advertising revenue model that quickly, it’s hardly like this has been going on for years yet.

  14. But don’t you think the viral nature of the internet means that billions of people have had an opportunity to figure out the answer, in a very short amount of time, but none of them have yet?

    Maybe it’s because the nature of the internet is in conflict with the nature of advertising.

    Internet is about freedom. I am in control of what I look at. I make the decisions. It’s about unlimited choices.

    Advertising is about limiting those choices eg “choose this product”. Advertisers want to control your actions and get you to buy from them. They want to make those buying decisions for you. They need to throw the ads in your face to get your attention.

  15. Yeah, and maybe someone HAS figured out the answer. The thing is the TV broadcasters and studios are behemoth organisations that will take a massive amount of effort to change the way they do things, their infrastructure is also so massive they probably are happier just dealing with the problems they currently have. But just maybe they already know but are just terrified someone else is going to do it before them, they’re just waiting for the bubble to burst when they have to change to, they don’t wanna be the first movers though, it’ll be too painful.

    Personally i think it will happen with Sports first. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is arguably the biggest money earning sporting event in the world at the moment, they just signed a deal with You Tube to broadcast all the matches. What happens if You Tube becomes the EXCLUSIVE content provider of that tournament? ONE BILLION indians watch the IPL. People will FIND A WAY to watch it.

    Also, its really easy to advertise in sport. You get the commentators saying things like, “The McDonalds Stump Vision shows that …..”, “If we look at the KFC run rate graph…”, they can have marquee’s occasionally drift across the screen, they can have a ‘powerade drinks break’, they can have not too intrusive adds fade in and out in the corner of your screen etc. The possibilities are actually endless and you don’t mind them as much watchign sport as you would watching Desperate Housewives.

  16. They could easily use a Pay-per-view approach which may work for items with limited distribution rights, probably wouldn’t work in USA where they have popular free services like Hulu but NZ really doesn’t have that yet (TVNZ on demand maybe?). Although country oriented distribution rights have never really made sense to me when concerning internet content.

    Targeting adverts could mean short ad breaks, I live in a flat of only guys and don’t really have a need/interest to purchase items such as nappies (or it would appear cleaning products if you’re judging by the state of the flat on occasion) potentially giving up some personal details for shorter ad breaks would be something people would be willing to live with. It wouldn’t work of course if the majority of adverts are aimed at one particular group (which they basically are), or if they are relying on me being indoctrinated by a brand of nappies for potential sales in the future when/if there are little Betty’s running around.

    I don’t imagine streaming via the net would be cheap meaning not just anyone can get into the business. I also imagine if you have a kick ass feature people will put up with more crap.

    As Tim said, there are much smarter people out there already thinking about these issues I’m sure someone will solve it soon if they haven’t already.

  17. I would hesitate to underestimate the youth of today. Even some of the 3rd generation now is familiar enough with mp3s. Pretty soon they will be the old people on the couch, with a desktop and an HDMI cable plugged into their first generation HDTV with a wireless remote using a trackstick for the mouse. Why would anyone who knows that they can cut out their TV bill not ask one of the many people who know how to do it? As has been stated there are always those who will keep the status quo which will keep progress steady, but as the younger generation becomes the workers of the world TV service will be seen as an unnecessary expense.

    Personally I plan on losing my TV within 6 months as soon as I get the right HD receiver for my area. TV (even HD) is free over the airwaves in many areas. Even if not for that, it’s not difficult to find what you want today with today’s high storage capacity drives and fast connection speeds. Although I probably only watch 3 hours a week of TV anyway. I will not mind the extra $30+ in my pocket, or the lack of mindraping advertising.

    Welcome to the future.

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