The Audience of Evolution
The OG TV Watchers
In the early days of television, it was most common for a home to have only one set. A family would sit around together to watch, and if there was a particular program you enjoyed, you had to know what time and network it would be on, or else you would miss it. The biggest selling periodical of the 50s was TV Guide. Unsurprisingly, of course, as there was no option to view a guide on your set as there is now. This video below acts as a window, showing us what the original audience of tv was like.
A Turning Tide
With the widespread growth of VHS in the 1970s, it became possible to enjoy your programs even if you couldn't be home the instant they were broadcast on tv. From purchasing a VHS to view a show later to being able to record live programs and watch at your convenience, the VHS was the first preview of our modern on-demand programming.
The Modern Audience
TiVo debuted in 1999, and television would never be the same. Viewers could pause live tv, record multiple shows at once and fast forward through commercials. As that technology evolved, we now have even more advanced capabilities. A show recorded on your home set box can be played back on your phone, without needing any connection to the physical box itself. A television audience can be any where, at any time. No strings, guides or restrictions at all.
Beyond the Set Box
One step further brings us into our current world. Television doesn't have to be synonymous with cable anymore. In fact, it doesn't even need a physical television. Tablets, laptops, smartphones and even wearable tech (watches, etc) can all be used to consume television programs and movies. From services like Netflix and Hulu to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, audiences can get their entertainment fix without the need of a cable box or traditional tv set. The rise of digital media has caused television to change in the largest way - it must be accessible by any means the audience demands.