Scheduled TV Programming Crushed by Demand for On-Demand

TVAs I descend to the depths of repetitious channel-flipping that offered nothing at all compelling, I decide to devote my time to a new show – Spy.  Spy is a hilarious comedy about a computer-savvy divorced father who decides to do good by his pertinaceous son’s expectations for parental responsibilities and so applies for a civil servant job.  Acing the employment screening test leads to an interview in which he discovers he is vying for a position as a trainee spy in MI-5.  Pink Panther-esque hilarity ensues.

The thing is that Spy is currently only accessible on Hulu Plus.  As channel-surfing through scheduled programming on dish or cable systems becomes less and less satsifying, I find that I am joining the multitudes by avoiding fixed schedules and going directly to my on-demand options available through a good internet connection.  Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go and many many others are the in-your-face beginning of the end for scheduled programming.  Thus, television programming – as we have know it – is on its way out.  Its jump-the-shark moment has long since passed.  There’s a laundry list of reasons we can thank its demise: subscription fees, satellite dropouts, 700+ channels I will never watch, obnoxious commercial interruptions…the bottom line is that we are living in the age of reasonably expecting to customize our entertainment experiences.  In much the way that I can customize my music experience to playlists and channels, so too do I expect to do so with my visual entertainment.  The traditional commercial television programming will never die, but it will certainly have to adapt to the new reality of personalization.  We are inexorably moving on to on-demand everything.

DVR functionality, like TIVO, is already a part of video-on-demand (VOD) functionality, and so a separate box (and distinct memory management) will not be required as we evolve to an on-demand universe.  No more hard drives filling up; no more having to go through and delete shows and timers.  Most VOD programs can be accessed through existing equipment configurations like Xbox, Wii, Playstation 3, Apple Tv, iPods, iPads, iPhones, and computers.  Televisions are now being shipped with Wi-Fi cards or LAN line ethernet connectivity to enable the shift to alternate content sources.  Certainly, the next generation of Apple TV will bring the entire on-demand universe to our monster flat screens through our iPhone functionality and thereby cement our slavish devotion to iEverything.  We have come to the sudden realization that we no longer need or want a one-size-fits-all programming schedule, and thereby commercial TV scheduled programming is already a dinosaur.

“An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted” (Arthur Miller “The Year it Came Apart”, New York magazine).