In Defense of “Live TV”

Part of this DC “abroad” program I’m participating in this semester is that we go on field trips every Wednesday. Today we attended the Atlantic Festival, a day of speakers from multiple industries. One of the speakers of which was the CEO of Hulu.

The moderator asked the streaming-giant representative about the future of live TV. Now that streaming services are on the rise, what’s the point of watching any scripted series air “live” (live is in quotations because a show like This Is Us, which he used as an example, is not actually live when it premiers at 9:00pm on Tuesdays; we’re not watching the actors act in real time)?

He basically said there’s no point in live TV. Obviously sports and news and other events like that need to be watched live but most people watch scripted series whenever is convenient for them nowadays.

I, however, am a huge proponent of the watch-live experience. How else are you going to follow along with hashtags on Twitter? How else are you going to avoid spoilers?

We’re currently in the age of Peak TV but the precursor, the Golden Age of TV, can be characterized by what shows everyone talked about at the water cooler the day after they aired. Remember when everyone would watch Lost and then talk about it with each other (no because we were like 7 when it was still airing but you get my point). Remember how now everyone watches Game of Thrones live so no one spoils who dies for them?

This is the argument for watching live TV. It makes TV more than just a show; it’s a shared experience.

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