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OPINION: Time to pay up for your free-to-air television

The days of free-to-air television may be coming to an end.
The days of free-to-air television may be coming to an end.

SOON, very soon it will be almost only television on demand.

With the arrival of Netflix and the emergence of other internet streaming services like Stan and Presto, television will soon be when and where you want it.

If the NBN arrived in all its original glory - rather than Malcolm Turnbull's watered down version, internet speeds would allow for that end to come even quicker.

For roughly $10 a month you can download a wide array of television shows and films from decades past. Advertisement free.

A great deal of people don't watch any live television now, even without streaming.

They record what they need and watch at their leisure. And they just skip through the ads. With streaming - there are no ads.

But there are things we probably really have to watch live - sport, news, current affairs (and I don't mean A Current Affair). For now, these may merely delay the inevitable.

But the days of tuning in at 6pm every night for your fix of nightly news are surely numbered.

And if or when Australia's Anti-Siphoning legislation is overturned - which keeps certain major sporting events on free-to-air television - all it will take is the NRL or AFL to sign exclusively with a streaming service or open its own streaming entity - and the dominos will begin to fall.

These laws are already being loosened, as anyone who viewed the recent free-to-air Cricket World Cup coverage could attest.

They'll be little dramatic content on free to air television.

More product placement shows like "The Block". A vehicle to put brands in front of you and ideas on how to use them in your head. "Go on...renovate, you'll love it!"

The current broadcasters will put up a fight - they have their own online catch up services that may eventually have a pay-wall to access and replace ad-driven revenue.

But they are losing the young generations who expect entertainment whenever they want it.

We have come full circle considering television dramas were invented just to get you to watch the advertisements in between.

Foxtel is another story - they seemed to be happy with roughly 25% saturation of the population for a long time. Now they have a fight on their hands to keep that.

On the other hand though...I hope they'll always be the ABC.

Topics:  netflix presto stan



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