Mobile Killed the Television Star?
“It’s clear that television is mostly watched online” – these were the opening words of Doug Barrett, president and CEO of PS Productions Services, former partner at McMillan, and Director of the Canadian Media Production Association.
There’s no question that we’re moving to a different way of watching television, and while online viewership typically consisted of younger audiences, today there is a wide mix of age groups that watch most of their tv favourites online.
What does all of this mean for the industry? There is currently a surplus of new media companies, but not enough business to keep them all sustained, Barrett said, and conventional tv is not growing. In the heavily government-funded television industry, producers start investing in web-based products to qualify for funding, even though products aren’t always useful or successful. In regards to financing and media production, Barrett brought these questions to mind:
1) Why do figures matter?
2) What is television?
3) Where is the growth?
Barrett credited the digital media revolution as partly happening due to venture capitalist and their desire for a little bit of risk. A high risk, high return investment is understandably appealing. Barrett’s use of number and statistics reminded me that there is a lot of use for analysis and research in the television industry. In a time of specialty channels and online avenues that allow a viewer to be incredibly selective in the content that they observe , it is especially important to understand one’s audience and to cater to the needs of that demographic.
I think when it comes to Canadian content, we still have some ways to go in terms of figuring out what audiences want, and this is specifically in reference to younger audiences who are tech-savvy and are interested in a rewarding interactive experience. I would be curious to see if the popular practice of watching tv on mobile devices will thrive as more and more television content becomes available online, and how that might translate for producers who are looking to find new means of funding their content.
This entry is part of a series based on a seminar class that I’m taking as part of the M.A. program that I am enrolled in. The class is taught by Charles Falzon, a professor and media entrepreneur. The class consists of a talk, a discussion, and an answer and question period involving distinguished media entrepreneurs and executives.