I can remember when TV was limited to just four or five broadcast channels, and that was it. I remember when the first 36-channel cable box arrived, with much rejoicing. I remember the days when VCRs first emerged, and how long it took for me to spend the big bucks (then) to buy one. In other words, my formative years were steeped in non-directed viewing, and it’s taking me some time to unlearn those habits.
Directed viewing is the future, and a lot of the present. When you dig around online to find a particular old Looney Tunes cartoon, or when you order an episode of Downton Abbey on demand, or when you pop in a DVD or Blu-ray disc, that’s directed viewing. The old days of flopping on the couch and channel surfing to see what’s on, that’s non-directed.
Watching a lot of free-to-air TV networks, it’s easy to think, “Hey, I could run a channel as well as that.” FTA viewing is pretty much non-directed, unless you use a DVR with it. But satellite time is expensive, and internet streaming is pretty cheap. And that’s why I started experimenting with TVU Networks, as I explained a few posts ago.
You remember the old cartoon Falling Hare, where Bugs Bunny fights a gremlin? (You can watch it here.) The gremlin convinces Bugs to whack a bomb just right to make it go off. After a wild windup, just as he’s about to hit the bomb, Bugs stops short and yells, “What am I doing?” That was my flash of insight as I dug deeper into launching a 24-hour internet channel. It’s all in the difference between directed viewing and non-directed viewing.
If you’re on the internet already, you have a zillion on-demand options for viewing content, and you’ll probably use them. Directed viewing. If you just want to hit the couch and flip around, you’ll probably be watching broadcast TV or cable/satellite channels. Non-directed viewing. Put it all together, and a 24-hour online-only entertainment channel is probably a bad idea. Good thing I stopped!