Has Telly's Obituary Been Written Prematurely?

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The aul tellybox!

The much whispered words that television is dead has been bandied around for a while now. To assume that television is on its last legs, pottering slowly towards the mortuary is a common proclamation today. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have become very popular here in Ireland and further afield reinforcing assertions that television is no longer the powerful medium it once was.

Fake news was the hot topic of 2017 and I’m not a person that lets hearsay form my own opinions. So it was time to do a little research and see if the poor old television’s obituary has been written prematurely.

Television Performance 2017

You might not believe me when I say it but television had a strong performance in Ireland in 2017. The average viewer watched 3 hours and 13 minutes of television per day in 2017 in Ireland (Television Audience Measurement Ireland, 2018). That’s 5 minutes more per day than 10 years ago which is remarkable considering the increased options available to the public for the consumption of video content. Moreover, linear TV (live TV plus playback within a seven-day period) represented 79.9% of all video consumption by all adults in the Republic of Ireland in 2017 (Core Media, 2018). So on the back of this information it might be a bit premature to be mourning television as an entertainment medium of the past.

You might say fair enough, television is not dead yet...but with millennial's maturing it soon will be as their preferred means of consuming video is online and not in the front room in front of the fire with a mug of tea and a biscuit. The fact of the matter is that 55.5% of video consumption for millennial's (18 - 35 years old) remains on linear TV (Core Media, 2018). This represents a significant share of video consumption for the millennial demographic and reality/live TV is the key to maintaining this share and increasing it further. Why is reality and live TV so important? Because reality and live TV drive a huge amount of social media chatter. Shows like First Dates Ireland, Ireland’s Got Talent and the brilliant Tommy Tiernan Show always get conversations going and this is where the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect takes hold of the millennial generation. The thought of not knowing what all the hullabaloo is about on social media is enough to cause a restless night in mild cases and represent the end of the world on the more extreme end of the spectrum!

All jokes aside, people and millennials in particular love to express opinion on social media and reality/live television is certainly one of the most popular online conversation starters in Ireland today. Reality and live television is immediate. The format means that story lines move quick and watching these shows as they happen is often the most convenient way of keeping up to date. Television will always be the pound for pound champion for these extremely popular programming formats.

Television is certainly not dead and its enduring success continues to surprise many outside of the industry. I for one am looking forward to putting the feet up with a big mug of tea with a few ginger nuts this evening  and seeing what’s on the tellybox tonight. Who knows, I might even tweet about it!