The Changing Nature Of How We Consume Media

The date is June 1st, 1960, and it is the first broadcast of television in New Zealand. 

From then until the 1989, broadcasts were mostly controlled by the Government. New Zealand’s first pay-to-view television came in 1990 – and Sky Television still holds a large part of the market share today.

Who could’ve thought that in little over 50-years time, the landscape of what seemed to be the one constant in home entertainment would change forever.

By todays standards; 50-years seems almost like an eternity for one solitary entity to remain the primary way people consume their entertainment. But that’s exactly what happened with TV.

In the late 2000s, Apple released a phone that caught the attention of the world, and it would change the way people consume media forever.

The iPhone was a game changer, and nothing like it has been achieved since.

We’ve seen Samsung battle Apple at the top of the smartphone market, but companies like Huawai and Sony have also made significant progress in the past few years.

And then came instant streaming, on demand, and relatively cheap ways of viewing the content that people want, not what they are given. Yes, I am talking about Netflix.

Netflix has fundamentally ‘changed the game’, especially in recent times. It’s cheaper to create content and doesn’t rely on the backing of major television companies. Netflix allows people to stream content on their phones and tablets, but a large percentage of the service’s user base still uses it on their televisions at home.

So therefore, it keeps a tradition that seemed doomed not too long ago very much still alive. That tradition? Consuming content on a fixed television screen in peoples homes, or at least those who choose to view it that way.

Sky Television’s Future Will Be Determined By Their Own Values 

With all this change toward a more digital and noncommittal nature of media consumption – it leaves companies like Sky Television facing an uncertain future.

Sky’s biggest, and perhaps only real drawcard right now, is their exclusive rights to the rugby.

Overpriced, yes, but still not real value for money when you compare to the likes of Netflix and others. Currently, Sky’s only alternative to having a monthly subscription with a set top box is what they call FANPASS – and that actually costs more to buy than the prior.

How is it that Sky can justify a few hundred dollars for six months of online sports content in 2017?

Sky have signalled their intention to remain on top of the rugby coverage market and they did this when they took most of New Zealand’s media companies to court over what they call “theft of content”.

Sky’s rationale behind this is due to news sites using video clips of games in their editorial coverage, but they simply don’t realise that video has become a key component of how news is delivered in 2017.

The Changing Nature Of How We Consume Media 

Is TV a dying form of media? No way.

If radio can survive the TV broadcast revolution; then TV can definitely survive the instant streaming revolution. Prices for Netflix and other only-online services will likely increase over time, and it could become a point of contention in the future.

But TV, and to a lesser extent media, still involves consumers looking at screens and working with devices that continue to adapt themselves to fit into our lifestyle. How we consume these mediums is changing, and that is the only certainty right now.