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TV is in the midst of revolutionary change.

By Dan Criscenti

Revolutionary change is everywhere in TV land.  Programming. Storytelling. Distribution. Advertising. Viewing. The ability to interact with television like never before. It's all in the midst of a seismic shift. 

Driving the change is a confluence of new technologies and old business models.

Today, people can stream shows, movies and sports on multiple devices. Or download shows and take them wherever they go. Fans can converse with cast members, writers and each other through social media, and select and make requests for products they see on TV. 

The industry, and entrepreneurs around it, are experimenting with new storytelling techniques, distribution options and business models that are creating wonderful opportunities (and a few pains, like the dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS) for TV fans. It's disrupting the conventional concepts of television.

In fact, it isn't fitting to call it TV anymore. Fewer of us are huddled in front of "the tube" in Norman Rockwell-like scenes with our nuclear families. Instead, or in addition to, we're there with smart phones, tablets and remote-control "wands" that are opening up a new world of video entertainment -- like magic.  Or we're not sitting there at all; we're taking our entertainment with us.

"All these options have changed how young people—the audience of the future—are watching TV," wrote Ken Auletta in The New Yorker. "A 2010 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 2009 eight- to eighteen-year-olds spent an average of two hours and thirty-nine minutes a day in front of a TV set, down from more than three hours in 2004, as they’ve replaced traditional TV with DVDs, video on demand, and programs watched on computer screens or cell phones, among other platforms."

We've found that it isn't just young people.  The fastest segment of social media adoption is among the boomer generation. And boomers are investing heavily in new technologies, from smart TVs to tablets.  The fact is, people of every age, gender and location are experimenting with, or changing altogether, the ways in which they consume video entertainment.

It's anyone's guess as to where these changing are leading us in the coming months and years, but it is clear that TV is changing every day.  The winners in this disruptive milieu will be those whose listen closely to consumers' desires and are strong, nimble and quick enough to meet them.

These are early days of the revolution, and it's as fascinating and fast-paced to watch as an Aaron Sorkin show.  The revolution is underway.  All hail it's new leader -- you!






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