SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
The new definition of TV

Like many TV viewers I was tuned into the Emmys last weekend. I am still one of the few people who watches traditional television. The term “television” seems to have evolved in recent years from being that big picture box in the living room to a tablet, phone or computer screen.

So it is interesting to see that every year more and more nominations are going to new platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. For a while it seemed like the television academy was going to remain old school for its nominations but as viewer habits have shifted, the academy had to adapt.

It was no different when satellite or online radio stations came around. The AM and FM dials offered limited selection and with new technology it became increasingly popular for people to expand their horizons and enjoy programming on whatever avenue they chose.

What’s interesting to note is that traditional TV is still ruled by a governing body in the U.S. and Canada whereas streaming TV services and satellite and Internet radio are fair game. Censorship is rampant on network television and radio but as new platforms have evolved the FCC – and Canada’s equivalent, CRTC – really have no say in what can and can’t be done on the Internet or satellite.

In recent years studies have shown that people are consuming less television thanks to the Internet and other entertainment models but I think it’s more just a shift that people don’t want to be told that “this word is bad so I can’t hear it on my favourite show” and decide they want to go for edgier content.

When you think about how live news coverage shows so much gore, hatred and devastation, it is almost comical that a scripted TV drama or comedy is so limited in what it can and can’t get away with on a conventional network. (Have you seen any of the American political campaign?!?!)

As much as the traditional networks might want to blame the streaming newbies for altering the state of TV viewing, the networks might want to talk to the governing bodies and suggest a revamp of the current rules for broadcasting so they can keep up with the trends.

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