Friday, February 13, 2015

Entertainment Entertainment Entertainment

One of the most critical things for maintaining sanity in human beings is that (s)he is entertained. Everyone has their own means of entertainment. Some like bushkashi, some like to read and some are entertained at others hurt. But in today's world the most common sources of entertainment are the television and internet. Some people have gone to the extent of combining the good stuff of both these systems. One of the best features of the TV, especially after the cable TV revolution in india with so many private channels coming up, was that you could be surprised often. You just had to surf through the channels and there was a good chance you stumble upon something you like. There was also the possibility of stumbling on to something astounding without even being aware of that. Then there was YouTube, that awesome site, which allowed users to share and view videos. You got a lot of random videos and then you could click next a countless number of times to view all random videos.

Then came this revolution in business where people could get data from the public about there habits. The content on both TV and YouTube is now sorted based on people's viewing preference. The trouble with the approach is that you cannot tune it for individuals. So they came up with the next best thing. Show people the stuff the majority of the people in his region are watching. So, I get repeat telecast of the same movies in all channels, with the only difference being the time it plays at. You surf channels and you would stop coming across anything new in any of them pretty soon. If a program is hit on one channel, other channels targeting the same demographic of audience creates a similar program with slight differences. Whether it be the soap operas of the Hindi and other regional channels or the travel and food shows from the life style channels. Repetition is everywhere. Tired of this TV, I turned to YouTube for solace, only to realize it was no different. Now unless you search for something, what you get is what google thinks you want to watch. How does google decide what it is you want to watch ? It tracks where you are logging in from and shows what a majority of people in your region are watching and liking. Next, they check for what you have watched or someone using your system has watched before. So, if I log into the system that is otherwise used by my sister and go to youtube, what I get is Bollywood interviews and other romcom stuff she's been watching, comedy nights with kapil and koffee with karan based on what India is watching, stuff in that range. None of this is what I want to watch. Sometimes, I don't want to watch stuff that I usually watch. I want to be able click next a 100 times if needed and find something interesting. Unfortunately, that is not an option. Unless you are searching for something, you do not have the option to go to next page. You can scroll on a list of pre-populated videos and then you go through the related fields to get something you like or maybe never find anything interesting.

What this has done is I have cut down on TV to a large extent. I rarely watch TV and go to YouTube only when I have particular things to watch. That means, the countless times when I am absolutely bored and would have gone to YouTube for a surprise has gone. I end up doing random searches over the internet or reading something. While this might not really affect the channels or YouTube much, I am definitely left with a lot less avenues of entertainment. I wish they at least give an option to select random videos without me having to search for it.