Thursday, September 16, 2010

Old Media Habits Die Hard as Wired, Fast Company Feature Look at the New Fall TV Season

There are some outliers who think we live in a post-TV world, but I think they're wrong. As a cost-savings tip, there have been plenty of articles over the past two years reporting that you can cut your expensive cable or satellite bill and still watch the programs you want...on your computer, for free.

Many of those articles ignore the fact that you still need to access the Internet to watch, Fancast, and YouTube or to download programs from iTunes -- and that many people use cable modems to get to the Internet.

What's more to the point of a post-TV world is that you no longer need an actual TV anymore to watch TV. You can now watch shows on a range of mobile devices that provide an immersive experience -- to the point that we may need a new term to describe a television program because what your watching is no longer on a TV and a program on a computer means, what -- that you're watching C++ on your laptop?

Yet the truth is there is still no simple alternative to cable or satellite to getting all the programs -- um, shows -- you might want to watch on whatever device you might want to watch them.

According to Chris Anderson in the Sept. cover story in Wired, "The Web is dead," 40 percent of advertising still goes to TV -- that's just one example that we don't live in a post-TV world.

Want another example? The editors of Wired and Fast Company apparently didn't get the memo -- the email, the text, mindmeld or whatever we'll be using in the near future -- that we truly livein a post-TV world. Both Wired and Fast Company featured extensive articles in their September issues to "The New Way to Watch TV" and "The New Fall Season," respectively.

Those born before the 1990s know that September meant new slate of TV shows. For the last couple of weeks, People Magazine has been thick with ads from the different networks touting their new Fall schedules. With cable starting off-season schedules -- new shows of TNT's "The Closer" and USA's "Psych" in the summer to capture viewers bored with reruns -- one might think that "the new fall schedule" isn't something that people anticipate any longer.

True to each magazine's DNA, Wired featured lots of McGyver-esque ways to cobble new ways to watch TV shows while Fast Company offered a look at content producers who are working to "redefine must-see viewing." Both articles are worth a look, depending on whether you're they type to want to "build a system that will make your neighbors cry" or the type interested in the latest content.

My real point here is that whether or not we live in a post-TV world, traditional media still often lives by a traditional media mindset. Fall means back-to-school for some while Sept. means big fall fashion issues for others. And it's not really surprising that Wired and Fast Company would kickoff Fall with looks at TV. Those of us in PR should not be afraid to consider old media conventions -- like back-to-school and the TV schedule -- to develop and pitch story angles.

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