In 2006, the now ex-Director General of the BBC Mark Thompson shared his vision of a world of where TV was available “anytime, anyplace, anywhere”. That vision is now a reality with the hugely successful BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Apple TV and now YouView.
We can watch pretty much anything we want to, at a time that suits us, but a new dilemma is emerging from this wealth of choice. We simply don’t always know what we want to watch.
Channels and schedules help us find the content we want, but they also give us an appointment to view. I’m in the privileged position of having a boxed set of Borgen series 2 sitting by the TV. It’s a preview copy and the series is not scheduled to be screened on BBC4 until later this year. I adored the first series so why am I hanging on for the right moment to dive in? Maybe I’m waiting to watch it when everyone else can so I can join in the conversations around the water coolers (real and virtual)?
On the other hand, this week I watched a Bon Iver concert from Radio City New York on YouTube. Why that particular concert? Well firstly I like the band but secondly it was only available during a 48 hour window so when it was gone, it was gone. I probably wouldn’t have watched it without the deadline.
It’s nearly a year since YouTube invested $100 million in content for over 100 ‘original channels’. Of these, 20 are now gaining a million views a week. With a vast array of choice how are we going to find what we want to watch and what will make us decide when to sit down and watch? YouTube has the content and now the channels. Maybe it’s time they had a schedule?