Thursday, September 30, 2010

Now is the Time to Re-Think Television in All of its Manifestations

Older-think "public access" studios are like dinosaurs destined for extinction

What's on my mind this morning, after hearing about Seattle Community Access Network (SCAN) public access TV being eliminated from City of Seattle's 2011 budget,  is our need to "re-think" television, in all of its manifestations...not only "public" television...but also commercial television...and government television ..and for a number of reasons, all having to do with the technological change, economic change, media literacy, consciousness and it's growing  impact on the television marketplace itself.
  • Technology change - Public access television saw its birth driven by the explosion of cable television and the fact that cable companies gave up a few public access, education, and government (PEG) channels in exchange for being able to lay cable and access thousands of cable subscribers. More channels also drove the development of analog broadcast/industrial video and teleproduction technology that costed considerably less than professional broadcast technology. Back in the day, as a former broadcast/industrial television systems sales engineer, I used to design and sell public access studios to cable companies working with municipalities, experiencing and taking advantage of the growth.

    Then the digital revolution and the Internet hit changing the game from the early 1990s until now. Now the Internet is a much bigger "Internet-work" than cable. Any consumer who accesses YouTube, or Vimeo can create their own "channel" that can be be watched on the Web and new Google TV will even allow consumers to create their own channels that will be able to display on HDTVs without having to "access" an older think public access television channel.. at all. Consumers now even have access to easy to use HD-capable recording capabilities on ultra compact digital camcorders and  mobile devices.
  • Economic change - What has also radically changed from end-to-end has been the cost of television production and dissemination technology. Fast-forwarding my life a bit,  I was at KCTS Public Television when they brought in and started using first huge experimental hand-built High Definition camera in from NHK in Japan to do gorgeous Over Washington content. The technology then from camera to TV transmitters was extremely cost-prohibitive and broadband access over the Internet was non-existent for consumers and very expensive, affordable by only a handful of corporate users.

    Then the broadband explosion and the introduction of YouTube and its phenomenal success has now changed the game...for ALL television... both public and commercial. The price for everything, from cameras came way down as the quality continued to improve. A few years ago, a music video produced by consumer was virally shared by more sets of eyeballs than watch the SuperBowl. Advertisers paid attention, and this changed the commercial television marketplace forever. Now as television moves to the web, advertisers are following and as virally-shared Web 3.0 consumer-authored.... and consumer-recommended  television...will come to dominate even HDTV home television sets...with the advent of new Google TV. With it you can even watch TV and chat on Facebook...picture-in-picture... all at the same time.  (See below).

  • The Development of Media Literacy...and Consciousness - Changes in technology, making it more accessible and easier to buy and to use have also resulted in the development of media literacy..from "critical viewing".... to "critical doing"... Producing television ourselves...and understanding that now we don't have to access tightly controlled...older think "public access television" facilities or commercial stations... or pay for cable advertising... in order to do television....both public... as well as commercial... is what's radically new.

    The only thing that's preventing us from taking advantage of this is lack of consciousness and awareness of how people themselves are creating... and driving the development of a new television marketplace that promises to change a whole lot of things - e.g. education, economic development, community development....and over time the world itself. This is is where delivering the mission-critical learning a new world needs can come in. See the new series of  new world television workshops that I am putting together.
....Therefore, my recommendation is for folks to "re-think" how television can now be all of its newer-think manifestations rather than waste a whole lot of time and energy attempting to keep older-think government-controlled public access facilities going....because now in this exciting 21st century world... there are now "way bigger fish to fry".  See my New World Television Channel page and "What is Google TV?" for instance.. at least to get the conversation going. Call me and let's connect if you too are ready to "re-think" television in all of its manifestations. 425-780-6872

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