A piece on what the future of television might be
TELEVISION IN THE FUTURE.
There is much despondency when considering the future of television and the way it is presented and funded. The current models of advertising revenue and compulsory licence fees are beginning to show their weaknesses.
Advertising revenues are falling as viewer numbers are divided amongst a greater level of choice and a far greater number of available channels.
The doom and gloom merchants predict that program quality and diversity will suffer as funding reductions bite and The Corporate channel providers generate "cheap" and "Mindless" programs such as the era of "Reality shows". Like Big Brother, I'm a celebrity, etc.
I predict that the corporate supplier is past its zenith and the future will herald a radical new way of producing, supplying and funding programs.
Firstly Advertising is still King; I believe that Corporations can survive if there is a switch from advertising to program sponsor by commercial brands. By tying the program to a sponsor the public are able to assimilate a brand name. Without being able to switch off or Channel surf, as happens to the Commercial break today.
I predict that the internet can yield a new model of TV consumption. That of pay per view. Nothing new in that sphere. As it is already happening with BT Vision, Virgin and Sky box office. The radical difference will be that production companies will have the opportunity to deliver programs without the need of Corporate Channels. Also I predict the pricing policy of the channels will be challenged. Currently there is price fixing and very little competition within the Pay-per-view sector. Yet if Production companies can use the internet to cut out the middleman. Then you have a situation where by a program like "Eastenders" for example can be broadcast for a nominal fee on a pay per view basis. Lets pluck the figure of say 20 pence per episode. A figure no one in their right mind would object to paying.
What does that 20p mean?
A great deal for the consumer
With viewing figures for the UK of 11.4 million means a revenue stream of 2,280.000 per episode of Eastenders.
I predict this kind of revenue would financially enhance the production quality of the program. It would provide funding for future program development. As the bigger the diversity of programs, the greater your financial return shall be.
What about the temptation to produce cheaply and pocket the difference?
I believe competition between production companies will drive quality standards up poor quality will be fringe markets and not financially as rewarding as a product of superior quality.
There will be no more canning a series that fall in viewer figures, for as long as there is positive equity there will be no reason to terminate a program.
There will be greater choice of program types and more willingness to develop new products and genres. At the moment with the Corporate model there is a fear of stepping outside the tried and tested format. This makes Television very samey and staid.
Perhaps we should look at licencing production companies, to ensure adherence to a code of proper conduct is maintained.