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RSS killed the TV (news channel)

posted in Media on February 8th, 2007

While reading my news feeds this week, I came across an interesting article posted on the Dutch blog called Marketing Facts.

According to recently published research, more and more YUPs and above-average-educated teenagers switch their TV sets for news from sites such as YouTube, Google Video and regional, web-based, streaming content providers.

I don’t plan on copying the whole article, there’s one thing that grabbed my attention. Koen van Tongeren, visibile in this picture stopped watching (traditional) TV and switched to a Mac and watches digital TV on his wall by means of a beamer. Not the cheapest solution I guess, but certainly interesting.

If you look at the picture, you’ll see that van Tongeren is watching at least three shows at the same time, probably more in the background. Of course, TV sets that are able to display more than one channel at the same time have been available for some time, but I like van Tongeren’s setup a lot more. He’s grabbing the news he wants to read, perfect content personalization.

Marco Derksen, the author of the original post, also asks the question as to how long his readers plan to keep using TV sets in the living room. Thinking about it, I believe that we’ll have a TV set around for some time to come. Granted, I don’t use it to watch anything anymore, other than CNN, but it’s good to have a fallback in case something happens.

Other’s also appreciate it that we still use a TV; while I personally don’t mind watching a show on my Laptop, I know that it’s no fun at all to watch a good DVD on a 14″ screen. However, this wasn’t really the question Derksen asked, after all, if you only use your TV to screen a DVD, it’s little more than a display device.

Derksen, albeit using the wrong words, is curious about how “we“, the current generation, consumes news:

It’s obvious that everyone has his or her own way of getting the latest news, but I think, most people are using RSS to keep up with it. I certainly do and I do it alot. In the past month, I’ve read close to 9,000 items - that’s 300 new items every day, on average.

Information overload? No, because most sites only provide you with a short teaser of the actual article, so you can decide on the spot if you want to keep reading or if you’d rather move on to the next item. From all the items, I probably end up reading 40% which is still a lot but this way, I can keep up with the game and keep myself informed. Naturally, sites like CNN.com also help out a lot with getting the latest news.

All in all, I see two changes here - the way we consume news has changed to a more personalized format and I don’t believe that TV broadcasting can continue like it is now without offering at least one third of the personalization options the web offers. People don’t care for news that have no value to them, so why alienate your consumer base?

Second, the amount of news has increased by at least ten times. While people still remain somewhat loyal to their favourite channel, thanks to the myriad of sources out there, viewers have a lot more choice and what is considered a criminal on one channel, could be a patriot on another. Every channel has their own way of “spicing up” the news, it’s up to the viewer to pick the one that “tastes” best.

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