I don’t own a television set. In fact, I haven’t in about a decade. No, I am not a high-brow snob about television; it is simply the fact that I am completely addicted to the medium. I would watch anything, everything. “Days of our Lives” or documentary, it didn’t make a difference. “Must See TV” lineups were made for people like me. It is for the same reason that I don’t keep Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the pantry. No self control.
A move abroad was the perfect opportunity to go cold turkey. Upon my return to the States, I just put off the purchase. And here I am, many years later, sans TV.
Fret not, pop culture advocates. It was in 2001 that I realized that I didn’t need a television to stay on top of the latest shows. If you listen carefully to those water cooler conversations, you can get the whole plot down in no time. This is particularly fun for reality TV. Just pretend that all the contestants are the subjects of daily gossip. This is exactly how I scored well in one office Survivor pool – despite never having seen the show.
Being such a large part of our cultural fabric, it is no surprise, then, that television and television personalities are among the most searched keywords on the Web. For years these queries were based on an insatiable need to learn more via static Web sites with perhaps a smattering of video clips.
This has all changed. Today’s television-related search queries are not necessarily to learn more; many are ready to convert into television’s primary metric: eyeballs.
Once a TV Addict…
Thanks to broadband and user-generated content, 2006 is the year I really started to both search for and watch online video. I have been entertained in short, two- or three-minute clips across the fragmented offering which includes the major search engines, YouTube, blip.tv, GoFish, MySpace and so on. In anticipation of a trend, I even bought a flat screen to complement my ultra portable laptop
On a rainy Labor Day weekend, I was in need of a fix that a three-minute spot on Google, YouTube or any of the above could not satisfy; I wanted a full on episode. So I turned to iTunes. And there it was: a free episode of “Project Runway.” With nothing to lose, I downloaded it. Then I bought the next episode. The next thing you know, I ended up buying the whole season, and watched a total of 6 shows in a row that day. A week later, the whole season and part of season 3 has been consumed.
Thoroughly embarrassed, I decided that this was not a fact for public consumption. That is, until ran into Giovanni Gallucci of Kinetic Results. Turns out he downloads television shows from iTunes all the time, to the tune of about $300 a month.
For many years I was convinced that television was going to start looking a lot more like the Internet, and not the other way around. Yet for the time being, my Internet access has also become my television set.
The answer, as well as the implications for search, are years of technological advances and consumer adoption away. Yet I will point out that while I have happily lived without a television set in my home for nine years, I cannot say that I could have spent nine years without a computer.