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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Ta-ta, TV

I've mention here a time or two, in reaction to stories about the "death of print" or the "end of newspapers" that the problem is much, much deeper. What we are actually seeing is the demise of the whole mass-marketing phenomenon in which news can ride on the back of advertising. That end is almost upon us:

With YouTube to watch, Instagram pictures to take and Facebook, Snapchat and other social media platforms to explore, a generation of young Americans that used to turn to television for entertainment is finding its fix elsewhere.

They are watching on-demand services, such as Netflix and Hulu and the BBC iPlayer but turning off “linear” TV, or tuning in at a set time on a set channel. This migration has been gradual but is starting to show up in the quarterly results of some of the world’s biggest media companies — and investors are beginning to notice.

But notice that they aren't leaving TV's vast wasteland to do anything as interesting as reading or talking with friends. They're just sampling the wasteland on their own terms instead of sitting down when some network executive tells them it's time to.

I'd like to fully joing this crowd, but I find it hard -- must be that age thing. It's occasionally convenient to be able to watch something I missed on TV later on my tablet, but it's not quite as satisfying. When I watch something on TV (even if it's a repeat I''ve already seen), it feels like a "real" experience because I'm on the same schedule as a lot of other people. When I wach it on my tablet, it's almost like, I don't know, cheating. May seem strange, I know, but there it is.

Oh, well. The advertisers will figure all this out. In the long run, highly targeted messages will be better for them than mass marketing has been. It's the rest of us who will have trouble adjusting to a world in which few people have much in common.