Saturday, March 13, 2010

IPL is live on YouTube! I really don't NEED the TV anymore!

This was a comment I made on Buzz, Facebook and Twitter. And I stand by it. The future is here and we are still living in the past.

For the past 3 months, because I wanted my son to concentrate on his studies for his 10th standard examinations, my TataSky set top box was bundled back into its carton and kept out of his reach. Some of my friends and colleagues thought I was being cruel and authoritarian, but I am sure all the fathers will agree, that sometimes one has to be.

I only hope that his brain has not already got fuddled by the crap that is dished out on the idiot box. I am sure that he is sensible enough and will not restart his day long vigil in front of the television once his exams are over on Wednesday.

Coming back to my statement, we are living in the past. No one can deny the power of television and its vivid, real-time imagery. The images evoke emotions, bring laughter and enjoyment to our households. They keep us engrossed for hours. But the power is quickly fading away in presence of the Internet.

On internet too, I can have realtime images, possibly more realtime than the television. At the same time, with the click of my mouse button, I can search for more sources for information, images and videos. With broadband internet connectivity, I no longer have to wait for long for the video to buffer and play. Today, the IPL match took exactly 5 seconds to buffer and start playing on my computer. Even CNN considers Facebook to be it's competitor. Here's a link for some fodder for your thoughts:

CNN Sees Facebook As Major Competitor

Though there are some teething problems, 3G services are already here and in the future, we could be watching the IPL matches while traveling to work(and maybe during office hours too! Wink!!), watching movies, browsing the Internet, using Facebooks and MySpaces and Tweeting away to glory. One comment that I got on my Gmail Buzz was that my students would be worried by my statement, as many of them would be dreaming to enter the television media for jobs. I say that they SHOULD be worried.

All media professionals will have to learn to multi-task to survive in the industry of the future. If there is no job security now, there will be less in the future, unless you are able to multi-task, producing content for every electronic medium. Convergence has given birth to divergence where the public is spoilt for choice for news. It is not surprising to see that one watches news on television at night, switches on the PC and hunts for more information and follows it up in the next day's newspaper and again on the radio. We have divergent media to turn to for information and news.

Moreover how long can the public be fooled by 'BREAKING NEWS'? How come ALL channels have the same 'Breaking News'? And how do most of them have the SAME set of video footage? It won't be long before the media organisations wake up and start sending a single reporter to cover an event instead of sending one reporter or team from ALL their channels/newspapers to cover the same event. Instead, the remaining could be sent to cover more stories, giving us diverse 'Breaking News' stories. It won't be long before we will see the emergence of REALLY convergent newsrooms. And that's where we are readying our Department.

The future belongs to the Internet and the mobile phone.

My colleagues and I are striving very hard to modernise our computer lab before the next semester starts and to embark on an ambitious project where all our students will be ready for the future, developing content for the Internet and the 3G service providers, to cater to the news and information hungry public. At least from our Department, the industry will get multi-tasking professionals.

The future is here. Let's start living in it!