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Web TV28/08/2008 - par Mark Tungate (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I was talking to a British friend of mine the other day, a planner at a direct marketing agency here in Paris. She asked me, rather cautiously, if I still watched TV. I admitted that if I watched French TV at all, it was usually just before I popped a DVD into the player. If the newspapers had not covered the disappearance of PPDA from the evening news, I would hardly have noticed his absence.
My friend and I agreed that, like many people under a certain age, we spend most of our lives in front of our computer screens. That's where we get news, catch up on the best ads, buy music, and increasingly watch entertainment content. We're not alone: a recent survey by Magna Global Group revealed that the average age of broadcast TV viewers in the United States is 50. No point advertising hi-tech running shoes to them.
Happily, broadcasters in the States have finally got the message. Last week, NBC Universal screened the first episode of Gemini Division, an entirely web-based TV show. Three-minute episodes are screened daily, with a longer catch-up version on Fridays. They star Rosario Dawson as a futuristic detective. The show runs parallel to an online video game that enables viewers to join in the fun and solve a few clues themselves. For the time being, Gemini Division is only accessible in the States, but I have a feeling that won't last long.
To paraphrase REM, this is the end of TV as we know it. And I feel fine.