Are TV’s a Thing of the Past?

By • Sep 8th, 2008 • Category: 26th Story, Technology

107705989_69dee34d10_mI’ve started watching all my TV on my laptop. I moved a few months ago and haven’t hooked up my televisions yet. What I’ve discovered is that watching online suits me better. Not only can I find anything I’d ever need to view on the Internet, but I can carry it around on my laptop.

Turns out I’m not alone. A new study says that 19% of Americans are now watching their TV online.

Amazon’s right there to meet the trend (of course!). They just announced they have Videos on Demand. And Hulu has been a huge success.

Talk about online television viewing moving online, it’s everywhere. I just got an email from TED with a video  of Peter Hirshberg, a Silicon Valley executive, talking about the rivalry of the Web and TV. Turns out they’re both around 60 years old, but the internet is winning the war.  My favorite part of the lecture was a focus group of “tweens” unanimously and enthusiastically agreeing that the internet is way more fun than TV. None of them wanted to be TV execs when they grow up.

As I’ve been interviewing interns, I always ask them how they get their information (all internet), which then leads to the a conversation about how they no longer have televisions…which then leads me to ask them about books. How do young people today decide what to read and do they read eBooks or old fashioned paper books?

Given that music, media, and television are all moving to the internet, you would think that young people would want to read their books online too, right?  They could download them to their iPods like music and TV shows. Makes sense to me. Kindle sales are through the roof.

But their responses have surprised me. While they all find out about books through their friends, usually on the internet through Social Networks or emails, none of them are reading books electronically. Not one. In fact, we had a blogger breakfast a month ago, and they’re all reading on paper too.

I’d love to see the demographics of who all these Kindle buyers are. My guess is that they are well-to-do business travelers.

I’m sure Johannes Gutenberg would be pleased to know that when it comes time to cuddle up with a book, old fashioned paper seems to be winning the war with the web for the next generation…at least so far, according to my very unscientific study.


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