Sunday, November 12, 2023

Watching Television reminds me of how old I am.


Hey fellow Boomers-

Remember how we used to watch tv, see a commercial for an upcoming show, and think "hey, that looks kind of cool, I might have to check that out?"  Maybe we'd take out the TV Guide and confirm the date and time and which of the three channels we got it would be on. 

Nowadays, 99 percent of the commercials for upcoming shows I see that are not Reality TV involving strangers dating while living in the same mansion or mock series involving a town's obsession with a soda turn out to be on some streaming service I do not subscribe to.  It's not "hey, that looks kind of cool, I might have to check that out."  It's "oh, that looks kind of cool- maybe I should pay a monthly fee to - um, which streaming service is offering this again I already forgot?"  Heck, half the time I see an ad for an NFL game I find out at the end that it's not available to me because I don't subscribe to the right service.  

I don't think it's just because I'm old, either.  There are over SIXTY of these services available worldwide, half of which boast more than ten million subscribers.  Clearly the Age of Free Television, which dawned in the 1950s, is passing quickly, rapidly replaced by streaming services popularized by people who, when they aren't buying iPhones or complaining about student debt,* are eagerly throwing money at this provider or that provider because everything must be available all the time.

I thought it was getting bad when MLB playoff games were moved to cable-only channels, because yes I'm SO old I can remember watching even the earliest series on free network television.  Then the NFL network, ESPN, and now Peacock have begun to swallow up professional football.  I imagine the next generation will shake its head in disbelief that there was once free content that was something other than attractive people pretending to love or hate each other when not engaged in gladiatorial contests involving rubber mallets.  

*I'm not letting this go.  Pay your damn bills, you brats. 


  1. You'd have thought that Dwight David Eisenhower would have been more specific about the problems the military industrial complex would create. The Web did, after all, start as a way to keep computers communicating if the Reds got frisky.