Enter the Net: How does your family consume video?

By David Hughes, contributing writer

How do you and your family –consume- video? It’s now old hat to say “watch television” because today, video comes from many more sources than just on-air and cable sources. More and more what we watch on our “screens” had its beginnings somewhere on the Internet.
Note I said “screens,” instead of television set or “boob tube.” That’s because the Internet and Wi-Fi technologies have freed how you consume that video from being tied to the family television system.
When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s it was almost every kid’s dream to have his or her own television so they would not be forced to watch what the adults did. Today, that usually small TV in the kids’ room(s) have been replaced by at the very least a smart phone and if you have a few extra bucks sitting around, a seven or 10-inch Pad computer on which to consume video (and audio too, of course),
The Internet and its evolving technologies have made video on demand not only possible, but affordable.
By Video on Demand I embrace such wide-flown things as watching the latest YouTube video from your friends to the entire seasons one and two of Downton Abbey on Netflix or other subscription video services.
You don’t have to believe me on statement. A recent study by comScore, using its Video Metris service says 182 million U.S. Internet users watched 39 billion online videos in just one month – December, 2012.
Another technology which relies on both home DVR recorders and increasingly popular cable and satellite-based video on demand systems is changing how advertisers and the powers which are determine how popular specific television shows are.
Past measurements were made by companies such as Nielson using secret test families as the primary backbone. These families kept detailed diaries of what shows they watched how many persons watched specific programs and their specific demographics such as age, sex, education, etc.
It was not only time consuming, but also not a real snapshot of what the public liked. Niche programming sometimes ended up on the scrap heap because it didn’t make its ratings.
Later, Nielson and others found ways to sample millions of cable boxes and satellite systems connected to phone lines because this information was sold to advertisers and networks.
The fly in that ointment came when DVR systems became mainstream and most American families resorted to “time shifting,” that is recording one or more programs while watching another live, etc. As these devices matured it became possible to record two or more programs at once while watching another.
Unfortunately, these time shifted programs usually were ignored by companies which determined a show’s popularity and many good ones died before their time.
Think about how things are in your home. Are shows recorded and watched by one or more family members or friends at a later time. Some programs, such as special movies or concerts are watched over and over (this is really true with kids’ programs because they tend to want to see them dozens of times.
A relatively new phenomenon initially brought to fruition by Netflix is marathon video bingeing. That is when someone sits down and consumes an entire season (sometimes more) of a popular series all at once. A variation of this is watching, say, all the Star War movies in order.
I read several stories online this past week discussing how not only the general public does this, but also many Hollywood Stars.
Another variation is many video services have interactive listings of the stars in each TV show or movie. Click on the name and within a few seconds all the shows that particular actor appears within on that service show up and you can binge on your favorite actor for hours or weeks at a time.
I enjoy many television series from the BBC, some of which date back to the 1970s and it’s a treat for me to veg out on a weekend and watch a whole year of programming at once.
I have several friends who had extensive collections of DVDs and yes, even VHS recordings of movies, who one day decided to either give them away to friends or sell them for a buck or so each because they wanted to recover the storage space. Most said they could watch usually better video of their library on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Yesterday I received the sad news about my almost lifelong friend, Sam Gipson. He was “Pokey” to all his friends and that just about included everyone my age in Saline County and hundreds of others much younger than us. Sam became an online celebrity on Facebook the last few years and was the “go-to guy” if anyone had any questions about the county’s history or the “real story” on Joe Broadway.
He had 4028 friends – 90 of which we shared- on Facebook.
Sam was a peace officer who worked for the sheriff’s office and the Benton Police as an officer and detective. He was severely injured in the line of duty when he was stabbed by a criminal. One good thing from that life event was he lost a lot of weight he never put back.
RIP good buddy, we’re checking you 10-19 to your heavenly ’42.