Not long ago I was driving with the radio on, distracted with my thoughts, when something caught my ear and I reflexively reached for the rewind button. Live radio, of course, cannot be rewound.
So much of my media diet is consumed on my terms, when and how I want it. I listen to some radio shows on my iPod and some I stream from web sites. I usually listen to my iPod when I drive, but I’ll listen to sports radio live.
I even watch some TV shows on my iPod. The other TV shows are on my DVR. I know my media habits are hardly typical but I don’t think they will be that uncommon for very long.
I have, as a result of said habits, been sheltered from the effects of the writer’s strike. I don’t watch the late night shows and all of my HBO series’ seasons ended last week. I’ve got plenty of movie options on cable, including video on demand. And in January one of my favorite shows, The Wire, returns to HBO for a fifth season.
But what if the strike is a long one?
A lasting strike will certainly effect me if my favorite television shows are delayed or canceled. If I’ve seen the last of Entourage or Flight of the Conchords or Rome or Deadwood or Reaper, I’ll definitely sad. They are all superb shows. But I won’t be at a loss for entertainment options.
I’d probably spend more time playing video games but I also have online options that could fill the void just fine. While I think HBO’s original series boast the best writing you’ll find on television, I’m sure new, young, and ambitious talent would capture the public’s imagination in the absence of traditional television.
Marc Andreessen has put forth what I believe is an unassailable argument for Hollywood evolving from a studio-dominated industry to a creator-owners industry due to the economic leveling influence of the Internet.
With production costs dropping drastically and distribution costs near zero, the economic rationality of creators owning and marketing their own content is self-evident.
But that’s not what I’m thinking about, nor, I think Andreessen.
Andreessen’s vision may not look likely today, what with the poor quality of over-compressed YouTube videos, but there’s no reason why online video can’t be delivered in high definition and viewed on your large-screen, Internet-ready television.
Such a future would provide infinite content choices and, happily, it would all be on demand.