Forget Prime-Time, I’ll Watch When I Want

I have to admit, I am a sucker for a good TV show.

Some years can prove sparse when it comes to finding quality TV programming. Ever since the rise of reality television (of which I refuse to watch…ok maybe American Idol but that’s it), networks have not, until recently, been putting their money into producing well-written television shows.

Fortunately, I have noticed a change in the tides of late.  Where a network would have pulled a television drama off the air a few years ago, shows are being given extended life these days…and it we really have the web to thank.

If you peruse the web, you’ll find that nearly every prime-time television show can be viewed online either for free (check out ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW, or just watch them all on Hulu) or purchased for under $3 on iTunes. Programs are being made available the day after their original television air date, and the quality of online streaming video has hit a point in which resolution is no longer an issue – the picture on my computer monitor is comparable to that of my television.

Networks that have adopted this new fad of program viewing are allowing for “time shifting,” a phenomenon in which viewers can choose to watch their favorite programs at a time they choose rather than having to be home by 8pm to catch the latest episode of Lost. Additionally, the viewer metrics and ratings from online viewership can be measured much easier and much more in depth than that of television viewership, which relies on surveys and Nielsen ratings.

If anything, being able to watch television over the web gives me a feeling of power over what shows are worthy continued production. If there is a show I enjoy thoroughly, I make a point to watch the show online so that my viewership can be traced and the networks know that I am “tuning in.” In the television broadcast model, there is no guarantee that my viewership is being counted.

I like viewing television programs online because I feel like I am in control. Less commercials, more choices, and the networks know what shows I think are worthy of my viewership. If things keep going the way they are, I’ll happily drop my cable service and not think twice about it.


~ by dparsonsmedia on May 11, 2010.

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