In an article in the New York Times on Jan. 18, 2010, Nick Bilton commented on the fact that many people are now watching recording of their favorite TV shows on the internet instead of watching the show at it’s scheduled airtime.
He used the example of Conan O’Brien and “The Tonight Show” as a show that is commonly watched on the internet.
While O’Brien feels that the time slot for television is very important for his viewers, Bilton argued that the host should embrace the internet revolution and work his show into its regular airtime and an internet release.
Andrew Ivey, a first-year, said, “I love watching shows at their airtimes because I’m a hardcore ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Law & Order’ fan, so I have to watch them as soon as they come on TV. I can’t wait for the recordings to be put on the internet.”
This view is not shared by all students though.
Heather Petty said, “It’s not that I prefer to watch shows on the internet, it’s just that I don’t have time to watch my favorite shows whenever they come on. It’s more convenient to watch them on my time instead of whenever they come on.”
Lexi Cooper agreed that it’s easier for her to watch shows on the internet than when they come on televison.
Derrick Dolezal said, “I don’t watch TV.”
So convenience is an important issue as to whether students watch shows during their airtime or a recording.
But as Bilton said, “I’m sure nothing could matter more on spreadsheets and in traditional advertising meetings.” Viewers who don’t watch the shows during their airtimes will reduce the number of viewers that the stations believe they have, which could affect whether or not the show will stay on the air.
A majority of students say that they will watch shows on their respective airtimes because they want to make sure that the viewer ratings will be accurate and the shows will continue to be financed. Other students say that they watch the shows on the networks’ websites to give their viewership ratings there as well.
So does the future of television lie in the internet? With the number of shows that are already aired on the internet, I think it’s safe to say that television is evolving in that direction. But for now regular airtimes are still very important to many viewers, so it is still essential for shows to have regular airtimes.