Imagine a Christmas from long ago...
It began with the purchase of a 'Radio Times', and the annual December task of sitting with a pen and circling the must watch programmes. The programme clashes were noted, and compromises made to ensure as much as possible could be watched. Once the programmes had been circled then time out of the house could be arranged; "Yes, we can visit your sister, but we must be back in time for.." and other similar discussions took place.
My grandparents did this.
My parents did this.
I did this.
Once upon a time. But not this year.
Without even realising this, we broke that routine this year. The timely practice of the circling of the programmes to watch "live" didn't happen. We hardly looked at a schedule - instead using Netflix, Amazon Prime, and catch up services such as BBC iPlayer to watch the programmes that we wanted to, when we wanted to.
Out went the "I've got to be in front of the TV for..." or "I need the TV at 6pm..." conversations, as we caught up on anything and everything as we wanted to; on any device we wanted to watch it on - whether that be a TV, a laptop, an iPad, or a Phone. If we couldn't watch a programme when it was advertised we knew it would be sitting on catchup waiting to viewed.
In fact, if I was to sit and work out how many programmes were watched as they were broadcast "live", and how many were watched on catchup, I think "live" would lose out for the first time. And, if we're watching more programmes using catchup services, what does that mean for the licence fee, for the BBC, for the future of TV as it currently is?
It's been discussed by many people before, but this year we've seen it at first hand for the first time. The licence fee - for watching "live" TV didn't work for this year.
TV - as we know it - is over, and a new age of TV has begun.