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A Day in 2018: #12

Categories: General, Stories Composed by OTB Participants
Date: 30 April 2008

Television in 2018. The Labour Government recognized the threat to Australian culture and creativity was not simply about teaching kids at school, about the arts but ensuring they had access to seeing, experiencing and at some time in the future creating their own content. It was big picture and bold- after years of waiting for the market to deliver and squeezing the ABC budget down investments were made into Australian content on ABC TV including a push into ABC online. The ABC’s initial ‘cheap’ version at on online presence was rejected by the public at large and by the content suppliers- it had to be bold and confident, and it had to redefine what broadcasting was all about.

Commercial providers also realised that without local content they could be out gunned by international streamed online services. Sure Disney, Viacom and so on still split rights, but audiences could choose to pay a premium to get the product direct without adds- local FTA broadcasters were struggling to create excitement with other peoples programs. In the end only two of the three FTA’s survived, but they are strong with international affiliations and ownership. The third was bought up and rolled up into Google.

So what does this mean for me now- ABC still say they don’t have enough money but they are well respected in Asia, have build quality user-generated and I look to them for news and current affairs and local drama via the net.

The idea of a broadcasters getting bogged down in making content now seems ludicrous- they’re aggregators, at time mad bidders in a fast auction- everyone wants audiences and the competition is fierce. For all the choice, finding good reliable content is an art.

The wonderful feature on the Telco portal service we’ve negotiated for our home package is that the traditional free to air services, along with a selection PAY TV and their own news, plus doorways into sister portal services overseas are all available via my online package plus mobile and phone line is included in an all up price. I can choose a price band that is with or without advertising, on a program, daily or weekly basis.

Adverting can be tweaked according to viewer profiling information at an instant. Streaming of advertising to select audiences based on viewer profiles can be booked almost instantly. Global advertising exchanges have developed as intense as airport traffic control towers, and stock exchange floors. Advertising’s performance is transparent and instant. While I don’t like most advertising, when it’s relevant it really isn’t as irritating.

The Telco’s didn’t know how to fill the news and entertainment pipes so they’ve negotiated exclusive pipe fillers for prime material from the content suppliers of a past era- the television networks, newspapers and radio. The networks broadcast and hold some big events back to keep them special but for what I want I don’t really need to view them direct. My provider offers add on interactivity and personalized scheduling that really is personalized- They’ve also developed upload portals for random /user content, this can be posted direct to their service or channelled first to the channel providers for a first look (channels pay a premium to gain re-use rights on selected user content, the user can get some rewards: fame and notoriety being a major incentive in this crowded space.

In addition the service has developed software that not only suggested other programs I might like to watch, but aggregates what my (nominated) friends/tribe are interested in and what they have watched recently. I can arrange shared screenings complete with online audio/visual connection with others opting. Is this television? Does it matter? It’s a novelty for normally more effort than I could be bothered with, but for my 16-year-old niece this is the new pizza night. Half the time they’re actually surfing and sharing u-Tube type films or looking at their own uploaded video, shop online together and chit chat- the film takes second fiddle most of the time- give or take a few pivotal scene.

My young son and daughter want to do the same but with the dedicated children’s service. We pay a premium for this so there are no advertisements; the shows are rated and classified according to ‘p’, ‘c’ and ‘g’ and are accessed through an online portal. The service we have nominated included classification of their websites- any web without ACMA approved classification can’t be accessed without our adult pin.

Are we paying more that we might have ten years ago? Well it’s more than FTA analogue, but the economies of phone Internet and our entertainment news package isn’t bad. If we we’re not happy we’d shop around, we’re not restricted to an Australian provider and ABC allow us to roll them into any portal service we might nominate.

I do still have a dedicated TV set but it rarely gets put on, occasionally when bright techni-phobe mum or dad who believes he’s switched on (but for all the support calls we’ve had at times I beg to differ).. We dust it down and suggest they drive the old remote.
The kids think it’s fun. We tend to sling our viewing to the new virtual screen we’ve installed as part of a video wall. We can control the image remotely within my mobile.

Partner who seems to have much more time and passion to dig around and view obscure material, combined with a passionate dislike of being told what to watch, tends to use the power searches now available for audio visual content online rather than the viewing lists presented by our Telco. Massive amounts of visual data can be searched online or downloaded and sorted and searched in far greater detail than the traditional synopsis or a news headline method might allow. Material is tagged with – emotional content, locations, time, weather, actors, dialogue, – and so on. It can also merge all the available imagery, syncing the time of day and change of angle for a news story/crime scene. Partner loves it- I just want to get my viewing list and send a second streaming to the video wall.. as I can’t get onto the computer.. Its busy I command the service via my mobile.

I don’t need to have a whole lot of different devices anymore-thankfully- there’s room on the bench for keys and letters once again.

Technically life is much simpler but the choices of can be overwhelming. Even with my personal filters on.. for 48 weeks of the year I generally scan through a few favourite streams and check out the ABC. I prefer to pay for my movies than to have the adverts but it’s not a perfect service, some events, big releases are ridiculously pricey for ad-free versions and hence I either have to wait or cope with the ads.