It’s a typical, run-of-the-mill Tuesday. Between running errands, hitting the gym, and getting to work I browse my Instagram feed taking in the usual monotony.
But there, within cat videos and between sips of coffee, is a notification from one of my favorite shows letting the world know the newest episode is streaming live right now on Hulu. I check the clock. I have an hour before work. And before I know it, I’ve dropped everything to view the newest installment of a story I’ve been following for years. I easily slip into a trance as I’m transported to an OBGYN office in New York City that’s inhabited by colorful characters and quippy one liners that keep me glued to my iPad for the next thirty minutes.
Thank you, Hulu, for this momentary escape.
For most people, television dictates schedules. But now it isn’t simply the box in your living room. It’s your computers, tablets, and even your smart phones. It’s a myriad of platforms that offer up hundreds of different ways to take in your news, sports, and favorite television shows.
Now let me be clear. The future of television is not unsure. It’s just changing as technology grows. And each of these platforms needs their competition to exist in order to succeed. With media giants such as Netflix and Hulu existing, traditional television is no longer the norm. Netflix offers you the opportunity to take in seasons of television at a time. We’ve all been in that shameful binge spiral, when Netflix ask if you’re still watching the show.
And we’ve all sheepishly hit “yes.”
Netflix gives us the ability to take in entire series in a day, and with their introduction of original series such as House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, we can spend hours soaking up prime television without interruption of commercials. It’s also great for catching up on popular series, such as The Walking Dead or American Horror Story. It’s on-demand TV for an instant gratification society.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings knows of the dissatisfaction with traditional TV and aims to be different.
Ken Auletta of the New Yorker claims…
“[Netflix CEO Reed Hastings] has succeeded, in large part, by taking advantage of what he calls viewers’ ”managed dissatisfaction” with traditional television: each hour of programming is crammed with about twenty minutes of commercials and promotional messages for other shows.”
“We now live in a world where every device is a television,” Richard Greenfield, a media and technology analyst for the New York-based B.T.I.G., told me. “TV is just becoming video. My kids watch Good Luck Charlie on Netflix. To my 10-year-old, that’s TV. Consumers don’t care that a show is ‘scheduled’ at eight o’clock,” he said.
Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley technology forecaster, says that couch potatoes have given way to “active hunters,” viewers who “snack” and control what they watch and when.”
Platforms like Hulu, which is owned by NBC, ABC, and Fox, allows you access to current shows that maybe you missed the night before. Every Tuesday morning, I hungrily devour episodes of Gotham and Once Upon A Time because I’m not usually in the position to catch them during their air time.
And that is where television’s future begins to change. Gone are the days of clearing your evening for your favorite shows. Life comes at you fast and we are in a golden era of TV, in my humble opinion, which means there is good TV on every night. Who has time for that? We all do now, as we can turn to Hulu to see how Cookie outsmarts Lucious on Empire, or to see if Mindy has finally landed Danny on The Mindy Project.
And these aren’t the only two platforms. Amazon offers up “Amazon Video” which is their incentive for Prime Members, Google and Youtube also have streaming services. When push comes to shove, the future of TV will largely be streaming, as most networks have embraced this, and most companies such as Time Warner and Comcast now offer streaming services of their own for any of your devices. But the key to TV is that they all rely on one another for success, and aim to bring us, the viewers, the best of the best no matter where we are. Even with all the wonderful things that Hulu and Netflix bring, I still have cable.
Television is ever-changing, but it always remains… it’s the perfect example of a media platform that has grown with technology. While print media has hit a brick wall, and radio has fallen off on ways to compete with its new adversaries, TV has grown, matured, and aged as technology has gotten faster and more complex.
And thanks to these streaming services there are so many ways to enjoy it. I, for one, love feeling a little bit decadent when binge-watching Gossip Girl, or feeling the cold chill of death while taking in a few episodes of Hannibal.
So cheers to a literal night of Netflix and chill. Pop some popcorn, crack open a beer, and enjoy.