Programming SchedulesDo you still watch cable? Do you still purchase a television guide and read it carefully, wondering when your favorite shows are on?  If you do, you are either ignorant or painfully old-fashioned. In the past decade, technology and the internet has enabled the television experience to become much more convenient and multi-faceted.

No one has time to plan out and be sitting in the chair, ready for their favorite shows to come on at seven pm sharp.  Families have ever more complex schedules that give them only time to watch TV when it’s convenient for them.

Pay-per-view has the next generation television watching experience going, but it was on-demand programming and innovations like the ‘TiVo’ that really showed us what television could be like.  Suddenly you could rewind, fast forward, and record all of your favorite shows. ‘Oh no! I’ve got two of my favorite shows on at the same time!’ This use to be a problem, but not anymore.  With TiVo and its competitors, you could record one show (or two) while watching another.

That was really just the beginning, though.  After recorded television became a hit, Netflix and Hulu were created. These two media streaming companies gave their audiences all the shows, whenever they wanted them. You didn’t have to even remember to record them, they were out there on the internet waiting for you to watch them. While this started by watching TV on your computer, it quickly switched to tablets, mobile devices and of course, streaming boxes for your television. Ask yourself how many different devices you have in your home that can stream Netflix.  It’s a fun game that might surprise you.

Streaming boxes for your television take out all of the hassle of watching television.  Streaming boxes like ‘Apple TV’ and ‘Roku’ have been hugely successful at giving people content in a convenient way; over the internet. What’s on and when?  Everything is on all the time.  What about all the commercials? What commercials? Netflix has zero commercials and Hulu, with its premium content that is released the day after network premiers, only has a few minutes of commercials for every hour. Compare that to the twenty or more minutes of commercials that you could be stuck watching on cable or free-to-air television, streaming boxes take the cake.

It’s becoming clear that the internet is stealing all of television’s viewers. With the lack of a programming schedule on the internet, people are free to find the content that is right for them. Most teenagers are more likely to have a computer in their room that is connected to the internet, than a tv with cable. This is an important consideration as teenagers are an important demographic to advertisers.

It’s clear that in the next decade, television will become similar to radio; it will become something that people can count on to be there, when there is no other, more desirable, form of entertainment available. Companies like Time Warner Cable are scared to lose their cable subscribers to on-demand services.  The music industry went through a similar change in the past decade, with the onset of the iPod. Sooner or later, one of the bigger players in television is going to move to streaming on-demand content seriously and embrace, rather than resist, the change that is inevitable.  Apple was able to see this change in the music industry and capitalized on it, in the big way that only Apple can.

The change to on-demand internet streamed content is coming at a slow pace, but the pressure is mounting from existing competition.  Netflix and Amazon, two leaders in streaming content, have both started creating their own exclusive content. They are gaining a larger and larger advantage over companies resisting the change to on demand.  HBO made a small move by creating HBO Go, which was a small step towards the streaming on-demand revolution. Looking at the changes in the past decade, and the rapid growth of the internet, the death of the programming schedule is inevitable.  The phrase ‘TV programming’ will become a thing of the past as people are able to stream whatever content they like, whenever they want.