When The Buggles released Video Killed the Radio Star in 1979, they probably didn’t expect that forty years later they might be expected to create a sequel – but one with a slightly different theme.
The internet, many predicted, would be a death knell for traditional TV and radio. However, as it turns out, the internet has allowed traditional TV and radio to flourish and reach wider audiences. Is this true? And how has the internet allowed TV and radio to prosper?
The Internet and Radio
One of the most striking examples of how the internet has allowed radio to thrive comes from the rise in popularity of podcasts. Podcast listening has risen in recent years – with 24% of Canadians claiming to have listened to a podcast in the last 30 days, compared to just 11% in 2012. Indeed, these figures have been gradually climbing every year as podcasts act as radio features on specific topics. Comedy podcasts, history podcasts, and true crime podcasts have all crafted niches that guarantee listeners.
Anyone can start a podcast from anywhere and gain attention, which makes them more accessible than traditional state or private company run radio. Similarly, the internet also provides a new way for budding pop stars to create a following before then being played on the radio – with platforms such as SoundCloud being a gateway to commercial radio play, and social media helping to propagate this.
The Internet and TV
The main way in which the internet has given TV a boost is through streaming services. While new-media TV such as Netflix and Amazon Prime may have changed our viewing habits, traditional TV networks are set to benefit from this boost. Our new preferred method of engaging with TV content means that many networks and TV stations offer shows online to watch whenever we want. The major networks present many of their most popular shows for online viewing.
Alternatives to TV viewing have also cropped up. Premium streaming platform BritBox combines the best of ITV and BBC to present a showcase of British TV – which has actually informed what is currently being made and re-released, while online sites such as Casino Hacks provide live TV shows as well as information, know-how and reviews of various casino sites. The latter is an excellent example of how the internet allows for niche topics to find their audience, more so than television and radio. Moreover, new media Vice presents a series of documentaries on hard-hitting topics alongside its standard news and lifestyle pieces.
The Future of TV and Radio
But how could the internet further aid traditional TV and radio? One of the benefits of radio is the ability for listeners to call in – and many listen to take part in quizzes and discussions. Could podcasts adopt this in future so that people could interact with their favourite podcasts? For TV, could the internet help us connect with shows we remember from the distant past? By unveiling archives of long-forgotten shows, the networks could then consider the possibility of bringing them back, as has often happened after an outcry of fan support.
The internet didn’t kill TV or radio, but allowed them to live on in new ways and appeal to a new audience of people. Technology allows us to adapt and change how we do things in order to reflect changes to modern society. The realms of what is possible for TV and radio are likely to be further discovered in the years to come.