In 2020, television is clearly a reference in providing an essential public service (whether as a business it is private or public), as it has kept us informed and entertained in the current pandemic situation that we are living through. It is a reliable, contrasted medium, and during the most difficult moments it has told us what was happening here and there, in our neighborhood and in the furthest city of far East Asia. TV news is one of the best filters against fake news, remaining among the most reliable sources for the global population. Television is still the preferred source of information, as shown by the record consumption during the Spring lockdown, where average viewership was five hours per person and day of live television, not to mention platforms and on-demand television.
During the lockdown, sector professionals have adapted to the different situations that have arisen. We have accepted that interviews could be conducted by videoconference without losing rigor or significance; that weather forecasts could be given from home, from a balcony or with nothing more than a magnetic board; that a set could be a safe environment, and that the use of mobile phones as TV cameras in the professional broadcast environment had come to stay. Television and TV platforms play another key role: to entertain viewers. So far this year, as a window, it has been more essential than ever, thanks to the humor, drama, reality TV, and general entertainment that we get through fiction and the different programs.
Television networks have transformed enormously in recent years. The “hybrid TV ecosystem”, where any content can be consumed live or on-demand, through streaming platforms or traditional networks, has given TV products greater life and success. We are experiencing a golden age with regard to variety, quality and production of content globally, and Spain has not been left behind, where it is becoming more common for domestic formats to be shared and expanded around the world. TV is also no longer one-way. Viewers have become part of it, there is a direct relationship, and social media have made greater interaction with the medium possible, enriching it and improving it. Despite everything, there are many challenges for this medium, such as freedom of the press in some countries, different audiovisual regulatory frameworks that make equality difficult in competition between networks and on-demand platforms, economic fluctuations that affect advertising investment, and the profound differences in the way TV is consumed between the different generations of viewers.
In short, TV is more fashionable than ever; it entertains and informs us in these convulsive and delicate times. Television brings us together, it makes us equal, it is the nexus of generations, a meeting point for society, the best window to the world and what is happening in it.
Javier Pérez Sánchez is professor of Communication in the Doble Grado de Periodismo y Comunicación Audiovisual