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By Brian Grimmett

What tomorrow brings

Ever since the 1950s, television has been a mainstay in homes across the planet. For most of this time, a TV set in a home was required to tune in to various shows. Over the years, time slots for different types of shows arose. These were usually tailored towards who was most likely viewing the programs at that time. This is still a format, but with the explosion of mobile technology, people can watch a show whenever and wherever they desire.

Television sets in homes are still popular, but tablets as well as cell phones enable people to watch a show on the go. Thanks to that development, people now watch much more television than ever before. Some online services are responding to this by producing their own shows and even making the entire season available at once. It is also becoming common for people to watch television purely online, eliminating the need for cable boxes or subscribing to channels never used.

Mobile technology has been fast replacing cable boxes ever since the introduction of casting technology. While in the past reliance on satellite dishes and other equipment was required, today anything can be broadcast using all the different forms of technology. Smart TVs come equipped with internet capability for people to watch regular network television in addition to online services.

This has drastically altered the way in which the entire television industry functions. The standard 25-episode season is giving way to seasons of just 13, with quality winning out over quantity. Since there is so much competition, even network shows are breaking up their seasons in response to this. And nearly every network has some form of on-demand service for those who miss the original broadcast time.

Tuning in to a show once a week is no longer the dominant viewing model. With such unlimited access, watching large blocks of a show-many episodes at one sitting-has become just as common. The term “binge watching” has been coined to describe this practice. Entertainment magazines frequently print/post articles about what shows are the most “binge-worthy.” Many companies will promote a new season through encouraging binge watching the previous season (or seasons) of material. Network television has adopted this practice by running huge blocks of previous episodes of certain shows days, or even weeks, prior to the premiere of a new season.

All of this mobile technology creates a very different landscape than what was previously known. With so much online viewing, the companies are having to recalibrate how to accurately record a show’s viewership. And what must be done about shows that fail on a network schedule but find success on an online streaming service? Producers, directors and writers are facing such issues head on by creating new shows suited to different viewing formats. Genres such as documentaries are experiencing heightened popularity because of their wide availability. Whatever new challenges arise, both the makers and viewers of television can look forward to all the promise tomorrow brings.

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