Archive for August, 2013

In recent weeks the newspaper media sections have all carried articles proclaiming that “television is back”. These have been prompted by a report from OFCOM, the UK communications regulator on The Communications Market. The report states that audience figures for television are strong and that it has a dominant position in the UK’s media landscape.

You could conclude that far from being “back”, it seems it never went away.

The report also talks about the phenomenon of “meshing” – watching television whilst talking about it on Facebook. This is also on the rise and I wrote about it previously here; It is an interesting example of how ‘new’ media is attracting people to (rather than away from) ‘old’ media. In doing so, ‘old’ media is strengthening, not declining.

Who’d have thought it, eh?

The chart below is the one people should study and inwardly digest. From this you get a feel for just how strong television is and for what most of the public always knew: On demand services and the internet feature in their lives but television is still the primary media. The alternatives don’t represent a replacement to or a migration from it. Note that television viewing is going up..


Radio – a medium people have been writing off for 40 years – is also strong and its reach stays pretty much the same year-on-year.

There has long been an unstated, received wisdom in media circles that traditional television and radio are on their way out at the hands of the Internet and the on demand services that have stemmed from it. Few people state this belief openly; it is a subtlety conveyed ambient thing. A drip feeding.

And it is of course nonsense. There is not the tiniest fragment of evidence for television and radio’s demise.

So what are we to make of all this? Well, I’ve written previously on these pages about the inability of the technology industry (or part of the technology industry at any rate) to come to terms with the notion of more than one way of doing something. It is at its most comfortable with wholesale replacement. New versions. Clear demarcation between old and new. This is perpetuated by various ‘experts’, ‘visionaries’ and assorted ‘blue sky thinkers’ – most of whom have no idea about what is really going on.

The public clearly think otherwise and people on the bus home would give you greater insight. It is a pity they are not consulted more often.

In England, a new national curriculum is apparently being introduced for secondary schools. Two of the things in it are the 12-times table and fractions. But why are we still teaching either? The reason decimal was invented (by a Dutchman which is where “going Dutch” comes from) is to get rid of the mind-wrenching nonsense of trying to work out what 1/3 of 7/8s is. As for the 12-times table, I don’t see why you need it when you have the metric decimal system – based on 10.

A far more productive and useful skill to be taught would be estimation.

I don’t say this specifically because estimation is such an issue for IT projects. I say it because it is so useful generally. I am in the process of having my garden landscaped, and it occurred to me that I have no idea how long my garden actually is. And furthermore I wouldn’t have a clue at estimating it. I would have to measure it myself or go back to the requisite paperwork.

Having said that, if I underestimate the bark chips I will need, that would simply be viewed as an inconvenience. Not a catastophe in the way that unexpected events on IT projects tend to be interpreted.