Anyone who was born before the advent of television in Australia will tell you of the impact it had on the nation.
From relying on the radio and the newspaper for all our news and information, TV put the world in our living rooms.
We restructured our lives around our favourite shows, in a time before video recorders. Television was all-consuming, we watched anything and everything.
Digital TV and high definition also had an impact but the slow rising tsunami of the internet loomed large on the horizon.
Today, free to air television is like a good red wine, after getting better with age, like a Grange or Hill of Grace it plateaus before going into gentle decline.
Despite denials from industry leaders free to air television is in decline.
Australia is not alone – The New York Times reports U.S. TV ratings have seen a double digit decline for the fifth straight month.
Why? Well the reasons are many and varied, we are time poor with so many activities attracting our attention television often takes a back seat. Some say the quality of programming has never been worse so they are being more discriminating.
But that rising tsunami – the internet, is gathering intensity. Young people in particular can’t and won’t wait until 6 o’clock to see the news of the day. Most of them know exactly what’s happening via social media – Twitter and Facebook.
As soon as a story is on social media links are up to show video of the accident/incident. By six it’s old news.
So many viewers are time shifting, recording programs for later replay or connecting with the channels replay sites like iView, 9jumpIn, Plus7 etc.
Then there’s pay TV, Foxtel and the more recent additions, Netflix, Stan and Presto.
The pie keeps being divided into smaller and smaller proportions. Free to air has muddied the water by offering additional channels further fragmenting audiences.
Where is it all heading? To stay afloat Network TV is getting more involved with broadcasting on other platforms but the future of free to air is looking pretty shakey.
Are you watching less free to air TV?
If you have any answers I’m sure the networks would like to hear them.