In a world where everything is available on demand, and instant gratification is a given — television has ceased to be a domestic medium and is on its way to fully transversing into the online world. The technology that has developed over time in New Zealand, and around the globe, presents a unique opportunity to create a multi-media platform where television, radio and the internet are simultaneously presenting quality journalism. This is very much what the recent merging of RadioLive and 3News into Newshub attempts to facilitate.
Interestingly enough, it is the rapid progression of television in correlation with technology that has directly caused the conundrum faced by many media brands. How to sustain real investigative journalism and meet public demands is an issue that remains elusive to New Zealand outlets. Statistics show that Sky Television have drastically fallen in profits and subscriptions while there has been significant uptakes in services such as Netflix and Lightbox. In June 2015, a massive 143 percent more data was used than at the same time in 2013. The same survey also found that New Zealanders consumed over 84,000 terabytes of data, which unbelievably even excludes use of mobile data. To put that into perspective, households were accessing data that equates to around 27 hours of on-demand TV, or 11 hours of streamed HD video, a week.
What is generally appealing to New Zealand audiences too is the content that isn’t often broadcast in the country.
Regan Cunliffe, editor of television commentary website Throng.co.nz, has said that there continues to be a huge shift to digital platforms — “For a lot of people, particularly early adopters, they have been wanting to get content faster than networks are willing to provide.”While he applauded moving to same-day broadcasting, airing shows like The Walking Dead on the same day they are released in the United States, he noted there was still a lot of illegal downloading happening.
On a whole it is evident that, although the numbers may be looking good right now, as Neilsen Research suggests, the future is eventually going to catch up on broadcast television. Hence, the key to survival is in TV reinventing itself. It has been advised that New Zealand television should take note and pair with Australian networks to fund original pieces of content for Australian and New Zealand audiences. Cunliffe, for example, predicts that in five years’ time, those who are generating their own content and giving viewers a reason to commit to their online service would be the ones surviving and thriving.
In summary, there is no other way of putting it — technological change and and digitalisation of the modern media industry have created an issue that is compounding global outlets.
Is it a problem though — the fact that viewers now have almost unlimited viewing choice?
I guess that’s up to each individual to decide.