In an age where most media outlets have headed online, TV might be going the same way. The BBC's new direction was recently outlined in a speech (appropriately called "Where Next?") by Director General Lord Hall. The plan is to extend the iPlayer's broadcast window from seven days to 30, and to allow viewers to watch some shows in advance of the schedule. The whole idea is to take the BBC into the future, and to appeal to the technologically literate generation. It makes you wonder what the future of television is.
We've already seen the music industry be almost completely taken over by the online market. Is this the direction that television is heading? Services like Netflix, offering on demand television content (and making a profit from it too), seems to be the way things are going. When everything is so readily available, it would seem inevitable that people will start shunning scheduled viewing in favour of on demand viewing. Missing a television show has become an outdated concept.
In his address Lord Hall said himself that the new iPlayer service would allow people to rate the content, which will in turn influence what they will then commission. They will, as he put it, "become their own schedulers, our next creators, our future innovators". This kind of flexibility that can increasingly only be found online. It paints an unfamiliar picture of the future, with no television guide, no rushing home in order to catch the start of your favourite programme. Instead, you choose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.
Equally, gone will be the days of channel hopping to find something decent to watch. The Director General said that 40% of iPlayer requests came from mobiles - only further proving that if you want something then and there, you can have it. The fact that the new iPlayer service allows you to watch shows before they are scheduled almost confirms programmed viewing as dated.
Perhaps this is simply the next evolution of the media. With newspapers increasingly heading to online outlets, it might be inescapable that television would follow. The evening news is almost obsolete to the younger generation. Who waits until 6pm to find out the headlines? It is almost impossible to make it to the evening without seeing the news first - whether it's online, through social media, or comes directly to your mobile.
Lord Hall's address suggested that the plan was designed to draw young people back to television, but it feels like the BBC are trying desperately to adapt around the younger generation rather than entice them back in. This is the smartphone generation who are used to being able to have things in the palm of their hands instantly, and the BBC seem to be doing their very best to give them that.