29 April 2010

A special report on television

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This week’s Economist contains a special report on television. The leader article presents television as the great survivor, which has coped well with technological change:

“It helps that TV is an inherently lazy form of entertainment. The much-repeated prediction that people will cancel their pay-TV subscriptions and piece together an evening’s worth of entertainment from free broadcasts and the internet “assumes that people are willing to work three times harder to get the same thing”, observes Mike Fries of Liberty Global, a cable giant. Laziness also mitigates the threat from piracy. Although many programmes are no more than three or four mouse clicks away, that still sounds too much like work for most of us. And television-watching is a more sociable activity than it may appear. People like to watch programmes when everybody else is watching them. Give them devices that allow them to record and play back programmes easily, and they will still watch live TV at least four-fifths of the time. […]

That box might appear to be sitting in the corner of the living room, not doing much. In fact, it is constantly evolving. If there is one media business with a chance of completing the perilous journey to the digital future looking as healthy as it did when it set off, it is television.”

Here is the rest of the report:

Changing the channel
Television is adapting better to technological change than any other media business, says Joel Budd

Beyond the box
Television rushes online, only to wonder where the money is

Ahoy there!
The perils of piracy

The lazy medium
How people really watch television

An emergency screen
Mobile television is unlikely to take off

The killer app
Television needs sport almost as much as sport needs television

Who needs it?
Three-dimensional television is coming, whether you want it or not

Here, there and everywhere
Television is spreading in new directions

An interactive future
The last remaining mass medium needs to engage with its audience and target its offerings

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