Fun fact first: I bought a TV this week. Without having a connection to any television program. And I’m not planning on changing this.
About a year ago I wrote a blog post about my way from TV to web video. After starting my MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, I became less interested in television, where I had worked in before, and fell more and more in love with web video. Pretty soon it was obvious that I wouldn’t want to go back producing videos for television.
When I studied in “Brum”, I didn’t have a TV set – and to be honest, I didn’t miss it at all. This year in June I moved to Düsseldorf to work for a company that’s all about web video, giving me the opportunity to learn more about this medium. And it became even more fascinating to me. I decided not to get any TV connection in my flat, realizing I hadn’t really watched TV for quite a while anyway. And if I was, I was only complaining about it.
Television doesn’t have a lot of significance to me anymore. Instead, I think traditional, linear television is dying – or at least its relevance. And if you don’t want to hear the word “dying”, let’s at least say it’s really not feeling well.
First of all: Sitting in front of a TV set, watching the program that was chosen to be presented to me at a certain time, is not what I want anymore. And I’m certainly not the only one.
Another reason: There’s not a lot of good stuff to watch. At least in Germany. Yes, I do still watch television shows. But seldom German ones. And if I do, I often get the strong desire to hit my head against a wall. Due to health-reasons it’s quite a good choice not to install a television set in my flat then. Sure, there are some great productions that I’d watch. However, in my opinion, there’s not enough of that, so I mostly stick to my favorite US shows – and, of course, web videos.
I don’t want to watch scripted reality shows or such, where people who don’t really know what’s happening to them are being made a fool of themselves. I also don’t want to watch the 5043rd version of a music chart show, neither a used-to-be-entertaining primetime show where Tom Hanks is being forced wearing a cat hat, some pathetic sitcoms that desperately try to find a punch line or a talkshow featuring an uninteresting topic or even more uninteresting attendees, being questioned by tedious talkmasters. And, going back to the linear thing:
I want to create my own program – and I mostly include stuff I find on the web in it. People who think that web videos are all about dancing cats and cuddling babies (or the other way round) didn’t explore the world of web video more than for a minute or so. There’s so much awesome stuff on the web – yes, also a lot of crap, but name on thing in live that’s just full of awesomeness and without any crappy parts. There’s not only YouTube, there’s Vimeo and other platforms, there is some great journalistic video stuff, although unfortunately not that much and widespread yet, and there’s short videos on Instagram and, my personal favorite, Vine (I. LOVE. Vine).
Apart from the time limit of the latter, there’s no limitation in web video. Sure, by now there are some things you should know if you want to be successful as a creator of web videos. But what I actually mean here is that it’s still the opposite of what you’ll find on TV, all the things Charlie Brooker is talking about in his video. Don’t do this, do that, you have to place your interviewee here, you have to include this in your report, don’t make it longer than this because it won’t fit in our program. Nothing too fancy. Nothing that varies too much from what we’re used to watch on TV. And: nothing that’s giving me a reason to tune in anymore.
What I love about web video: the diversity, the wealth of videos, it’s strong social element and the non-existence of limits. There’s no „You can’t do this“, neither regarding the video itself nor its producer. Apart from: Just don’t be like television.
Thanks web video. Bye TV. For good.
So what about you guys? Still watching linear television? TV at all? What about web videos? Let me know!