I was considering the Loudness question recently and had a thought (an all too rare occasion for me).
We are all aware that adverts, other programs and other channels seem to be louder than that of the program we are watching. We know that when we flick from one channel to the next that the audio level differs, but does that happen as much as it used to?
Or, put another way, do we still watch TV in the same way?
Take me for example. In the UK, I watched all the programs I liked on Sky Plus (a series record function as is now commonly available). In Australia that was called Foxtel IQ and now I live in the US, I use AT&T U-Verse. I record the series and watch the programs when I want and FF through the adverts and promos.
I recently had a discussion with one of my colleagues who now watches most of his programming through Netflix, again avoiding those pesky adverts. He accepts that they may be slightly out of date but it is less hassle and he has a vast choice of programs, with some even in HD.
So taken with this concept, I went out and bought an Apple TV and am currently watching a number of TV series I missed out on, and I have to say it suits my lifestyle. When I travel, I occasionally catch up on the latest episode sat in the airport lounge on my laptop through one of a number TV channels now offering there programs on-line. In Japan, last year I was amazed at the number of people watching TV content on their mobile phones on the trains – and new technologies are also improving how this content is carried, such as Dolby’s work in creating virtual 5.1 for mobiles (we wrote about this last year – you can read it here).
Consumption of TV content is changing rapidly and we are adapting a fast-food culture to devouring content with attention spans shorter than those of a toddler.
Where does that leave us as an industry? We all know that many TV companies rely on advertising revenue to make TV programs – should we be concerned?
I don’t think so. To watch those programs in the airport lounge, I know and accept that the program will have three or four commercials or that the whole show’s presence on-line will be sponsored. This gives the opportunity for some very targeted advertising and I think we will see more and more of this style adopted.
The important thing for us to understand is that it is the content and its availability through all these new channels including on-line, mobile, etc. that will entice people to watch and therefore be advertised to. And that’s the business we’re in – helping to create better content, however it is consumed.