The children pay almost no attention to mainstream TV. I’m not entirely sure they ever use the remote’s TV guide. My teenager watches what little TV she does on catch up. On ever smaller screens. My 8 year old watches Netflix/Sky. Kids TV whatever, whenever.
Both do consume an awful lot of Youtube.
For me YouTube is a DIY godsend. I was lucky enough to find a video of ‘how to drain and fix your dishwasher’ that featured my own, exact make and model. Piece of cake. And when I needed a pump to get the water out there was another video showing how to use your fish tank filter as a makeshift pump! And another video showing how to repair the fish tank filter and crack in the fish tank glass you have just made by incorrectly removing the filter.
I watch the documentaries. The hard to find and largely forgotten old films I like. I have a few youtube music videos saved. Old TV comedies. Bits of news. Sport clips.
It can be annoying that sometimes its a recording from an old TV. Or its all in Russian. Or off frame or whatever. That prevents me watching more.
But the children don’t much care.
The content on YouTube has become all consuming. Its the greatest free resource outside of the actual internet. They watch every nonsense thing on it. Concerts clips. Music videos. Film reviews. Comedy clips. Cartoon segments. Mad stuff. Mentals. The terminally self-centred.
Huge following Youtube bloggers. Make-up shows. Toy commercials. Toy reviewers. Sport. And always, always, someone parodying the whole lot.
The fact they watch the Tonight Show in mini segments doesn’t bother them. They didn’t want to watch the boring bits anyway. Its per-edited TV.
Ms Quango showed me that film comedy review YouTube channel above that has 6 million subscribers. Her and her friends watch YouTubes while on their phones to each other – Are you watching this? I’ll send you the link- its awesome!
They appear to have much narrower focus than we did. Much narrow and more finely defined tastes. Not a certain genre of music – new wave, heavy metal. More, just a playlist. Here’s all my favs. Pick yours out of it.
The comedian Stewart Lee made the observation that 20 years ago when he referenced the Morecambe and Wise ‘Singing in the rain’ sketch, he could rely on 90% of the audience knowing who they were to understand the cultural reference and maybe 75% having seen the sketch. And of those a very high percentage would have seen it all at the same time. At the original TV showing on Christmas day 1976. 18-25 million Britons watched it.
Lee observed that back then we pretty much had to watch the Morcambe and Wise Christmas show.
There were only three TV channels. And one of them was showing only the test card.
No Videos. Dvds. Phones. Video games. Consoles. Social media. The shops were shut and the pubs were closed. It was M&W, monopoly or a 33” Val Doonican.
By contrast today, the most watched television series in the USA for 2016, Game of Thrones, gets 24 million on its live USA TV showing. Which is epic in modern TV parlance. Bearing in mind its a cable station. Smash hit, Downton Abbey, managed 10 million US viewers on a freeview. But its still only the same as number as the number of people that watched Morcambe and Wise, just in the UK, all those years ago.
The decline of print media is another loss to comedy. Jasper Carrot made a career out of ‘Sun Readers’. Daily paper readership has given way to social media. Which is often provided by a much, much larger number, of much much smaller providers.
So, Lee said, its hard to do shared experience. A Game of Thrones joke, the most popular TV show in the world, remember, might be understood by just 15% of the audience.
Something I can appreciate just from here. Where Cersi Sturgeon, King of the North Miliband, The ice wall, White walker, You know nothing Jon Snow C4 news, mentions during the Scottish independence referendum were met with bafflement by most. .. Well, I can’t help you. Winter is coming. Deal with it.
However. We do, recently, have a new shared experience that we can all relate too. Young or old. Rich or Poor.
And that is Brexit and Trump.
These may not exactly be shared experiences, but are at least polarising moments for our age. People chose a side and engaged in a way that they haven’t for decades.
Like the Christmas day light entertainment, its not all consuming for most of us. Its just something that we can all share because we all witnessed it together and were aware of the significance.
I’m not saying that a much loved comedy duo performing a song is as important as a world shaping political event. But that, for probably the first time for us in the UK, since 9/11 we can all have a strong opinion of a shared event.