Despite the constant flurry of news about “skinny” bundles and “over-the-top” (OTT) viewing, there is one very big reason to expect that the arrival of the “future of television” remains years off.
Far more profound than what has happened to Don Draper in the last eight years is what has happened to AMC. The channel moved from obscurity to a channel that would be missed if a cable system dropped it. Though Mad Men’s story was about advertising, AMC’s strategy for the show was not.
There may be no more irksome issue for contemporary media consumers than the persistence of the “cable bundle” — the requirement to buy access to cable channels in large, provider-determined packages. This article explains why the bundle persists as well as some reasons to think its days as the dominant form of programming transaction may be numbered.
As I measured various critics’ 2014 “best of” television lists against my own, the increasing anachronism of such endeavors became clear. What were the best things I watched in 2014? The final season of Breaking Bad, Louie, The Affair, True Detective; select episodes of Homeland, Game of Thrones, and Sons of Anarchy; but also the first and second season of House of Cards—though season one was a product of 2013—and iTV’s Broadchurch, also of 2013.
Exhibit 1: The ceiling of my daughter’s bedroom, which has been adorned with child-size Disney Fairy decals for nearly two years now thanks to a Christmas present from her uncle. I’ve become quite familiar with what I’ll term the “Tinker-verse” over the last few years, and as with all forms of kids’ media, there are both compelling and troublesome aspects for a feminist media scholar-mom (or “mommy-professor” as I’m considered by my charges).
I’ve been searching for a word to capture my new viewing habit. Though “binging” and the somewhat less pathologized “marathoning” have emerged to describe the behavior of consuming many episodes of a series in rapid succession, contemporary control and distribution technologies also allow a distinct, but not so rapid form of consumption.