INNOVATION HUB
9:37 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Media Reporter Brian Stelter On The Future Of TV

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Brian Stelter, media reporter for the New York Times, says the Internet may reshape cable television as we know it.
Credit thstrand / Flickr Creative Commons

Guest:

What was the last television show your friends, family, or coworkers were buzzing about? Chances are, it wasn't on regular cable television. Brian Stelter, media reporter at the New York Times and author of Top of the Morning, says innovations in television programming and delivery may soon pull the plug on cable as we know it.  

If you've ever recoiled in horror at the sight of a hefty cable bill, you're not alone - and you may have other options. Some of the biggest shows of the past television season, like Netflix's House of Cards, came from online sources. Meanwhile, companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon have introduced devices that stream content directly from the Internet to your television, bypassing cable altogether. "They're putting Trojan horses in our living rooms," says Stelter, who says such devices could cut in on cable's sizeable audience. 

Netflix's House of Cards was one of the most talked about shows of the season - and it wasn't available on cable TV.

To stay ahead of the curve, morning show giants have been experimenting with new ways of delivering content. NBC's The Today Show has rolled out a new app that allows users to engage with their website, while Good Morning America on ABC now allows viewers to tune in to the program on their phones. The goal, Stelter says, is to stay relevant in an age when people are increasingly going mobile. "Otherwise, people may create new habits that don't involve morning shows," he predicts.

Morning programs like Today, shown here, are beginning to experiment with new ways of delivering content in response to challenges from non-conventional, Internet-based sources.
Credit North Dakota National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons

So will competition from the Internet and other alternate providers push cable off the air? Stelter is not so sure. Traditional patterns of cable usage suggest that people in their twenties and thirties rarely buy cable subscriptions, waiting instead until they reach milestones like marriage or buying homes to opt in. In other words, it's not that unusual that today's youngest generations have abstained from cable so far - but it will be unusual if they continue to stay away once they hit those milestones. We'll have to stay tuned (pardon our pun) to find out. 

Television is not the only medium going through some major changes. In this exclusive web extra, our conversation with Brian Stelter turns from television at large to the delivery of the news. We get his take on the recent sale of the Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Plus, he guides us through some of his favorite news websites - websites that are experimenting with particularly innovative ways of delivering the news. 

Stelter's picks:

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