Is Television Going Extinct?

Katie Boback ’17
EE Sr. Entertainment Editor

Netflix TVOur generation has everything at our fingertips. Contacts, social media, the internet, and more recently, our entertainment have been very readily accessible. With so many sources of TV shows and movies on the internet, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube Red, just to name a few, it isn’t hard to believe that television viewing among teens has been rapidly declining.

According to the chronicle.com, teen television viewer numbers declined twenty percent from 2011 to 2015. With these numbers, it seems likely that TV will soon become extinct altogether. In fact, even Netflix’s chief executive claims that it will be dead by 2030.

It’s certainly not the world’s craving for entertainment that is suffering. Instead, it is the means by which people now access their favorite shows, movies, and channels.

Netflix is continuously growing in popularity, especially among teens. “Watching Netflix is just easier. It’s so much more personalized and also there are no commercials,” said senior Ajshe Zulfi. “I still like regular TV, but watching shows online is much more convenient with my schedule,” said Zulfi.

The life of a teen is much more complicated than it was when broadcast television was introduced to the market, almost a century ago in 1927. Many advocates of online streaming insist that a change is long overdue.

Commercials are also a large downside of broadcast television. According to the LA times, the number of advertisements during shows has risen steadily throughout the years. The average time for commercials in one hour of television has grown to over fifteen minutes. This means that one-fourth of what Americans watch on television consists of various advertisements. On Netflix, however, no advertisements interrupt viewers’ favorite shows and movies.
Additionally, not only has demand for traditional cable services declined, but even movie theaters have felt the effects of the online viewing movement. According to Fortune Magazine, an unfortunate one third of Americans did not enter a movie theater in 2016.
Online streaming services certainly have a lot to offer. They appeal to everyone, with various genres of shows that draw in viewers of all ages, but they are certainly not a complete replacement for broadcast television. Certain companies like Netflix do not currently offer sports and news programs, but with their growing popularity this change may come in the future.

If you’re an avid TV watcher, don’t panic just yet. Online streaming still has a long way to go before the shows broadcasted on television are rendered obsolete. In the meantime, however, it is hard to ignore the shifting of preferences to a more direct form of entertainment. Senior Salena Hingorani said, “I don’t really feel sad because companies are going to find a way to incorporate all of the shows from television into Netflix and other streaming sites.” Changes like these seem to be just around the corner, and with the skyrocketing popularity of alternative forms of entertainment, the days of the television might be numbered.

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