Though the tremendous power of Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple can seem beyond the control of even the most autocratic governments not even they can extend the 24-hour day. The cycles of our lives are, still, bookended by dawn and dusk. Our days are divided between obligation and indulgence, the ratios may change but the timeframe does not.
Apple launched its subscription television service earlier this week entering the competitive subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) arena. They join a lengthening list of enterprises competing for that almost priceless thing in today’s hectic world — a person’s free, discretionary time. If Apple TV+ is to attract customers then some other provider will lose them. The 24-hour day ensures that. Just as Amazon changed retailing, SVOD changes how we use television. It is more than likely that old-style, nation-based public service broadcasters will bear the brunt of this evolution.
Though some of these organisations still indulge habits developed before Mark Zuckerberg was born they are invaluable. It is not grandstanding to say they are essential to democracy — countries with state-controlled media prove that.
The changing, ever-more concentrated media landscape means we will need to find new ways to protect public service and independent media sources. If we don’t it seems almost inevitable that we will all become colonies, at least culturally, of one Silicon Valley mega force or another.