Daily Rumination No. 8: The Sad State of TV

I don’t watch traditional broadcast television very much anymore. Unless you’re talking about government-run channels like ABC and SBS, which show an interesting mix of multicultural programmes and news with great on-demand options, I’m not interested.

Naturally, the convenience of the Internet TV is a cause, however it’s also the fact that traditional TV has become progressively worse. Commercial stations are rubbish. Not only are there more reality shows than ever before—Married at First Sight is simply the worst—but advertisements are louder and more numerous and their news programmes have continued to pour in more sensationalism and infotainment. There seems to be a lot less quality control and a whole lot more laziness.

On the topic of rubbish commercial TV, whilst waiting for my flight at the airport, I looked up at the wall-mounted display and saw this…

What the Hell is this? Channel 9 has always had grotesquely large logos and crawlers, but in this case they went totally overboard with morning show Studio 10. Parts of the text are obscured and both the programme’s and channel’s logos are oversized. (If you look closely, you can also see the iTV logo at the top right, which was the original source… yay! Another logo!)

I should hardly be surprised but it perplexes me that in a time when Netflix, Amazon and others are taking over the world with Internet TV, traditional broadcasters don’t even seem to be making an effort. Of course, TV is not dead yet but it’s still bleeding viewers. Why do they do so much to ruin what was the defining mainstream experience for decades?

Traditional broadcasters need to reinvent themselves, improve their quality and find the essence of what makes traditional broadcasting or live TV special. As more and more big-budget productions go to the Web, these dinosaurs should be thinking long-term. Forget the conflict, drama, easy ads and reality shows; think about what audiences want.