Some things never change – Converse All-Stars, the height of the Empire State Building, and TV being the center of the entertainment universe. Oh, wait.
Over the last few, fast years, we’ve had our traditional language go fogey on us. Our notion of a “store” or of “radio” has changed with the digital times. Then, it was TV’s turn.
Change began in the spring of 2009 with gentle drizzles: A teen told us she never watched TV, and then proceeded to describe, in detail, every episode of “That 70s Show” and “Gossip Girl.” Clearly she watched TV content, but not on the traditional set top box. At all.
Within a year, streaming had swelled to a downpour. For teens and young adults, streaming to ones’ laptop became the day-to-day norm, and watching on an actual TV was more and more reserved for family time or social events. Next came mobile streaming, and with that, not coincidentally, we stopped being shocked to see a 10-year-old receive an iPhone for his birthday. Finally, in 2011, we saw cable TV increasingly going the way of the land line. Families were cancelling their subscriptions. Recent college grads didn’t even bother with it.
We have yet to come up with a consumer-friendly word for “content originally produced for TV but screened all over the place.” Perhaps it’s too late to create one, now that there is also plenty of “content originally produced for all over the place.”
So what does this mean for us, the esteemed community of media professionals? We see two near-term calls to action:
1. Create more programming that keeps the anytime, any screen mentality in mind.
This programming would not have to fit exact time limitations, and instead could cater to different occasions and need states throughout the day, like: “I need 2-minutes of thought-provoking high art to get that annoying Katy Perry song out of my head,” or, “I need a 98-minute distraction while I wait in line at The Shake Shack.”
2. Name the new thing that is content for the new era.
While “content originally produced for all over the place” is a relatively accurate turn of phrase, it rolls off the tongue like a brick. We may do well to think of it this way: “I produce ________.” Come on, creative cronies, help us out here!