We are currently living in the “mid-digital age,” Tom Goodwin, executive vice president of innovation at Zenith USA, told attendees at the 2018 PromaxBDA.

What, exactly, does that look like?

“When you decide what you want to watch on TV, you first have to decide what remote control to pick up,” Goodwin said.

It looks like paper signs at the checkout that say “no chip, please swipe,” like the “sweatmarks of disappointment” on computers at the library from kids expecting a touch screen, and giant VR headsets that cover half our faces.

“There’s a lot of technology, and we look quite stupid with it,” Goodwin said.

It means the LA Times website is not accessible from Europe; YouTube videos are blocked in certain countries because someone doesn’t have the rights, or there’s regulatory red tape. There are ad blockers, and then ad blocker blockers. Retrieving a lost password is an annoying process of security questions and text message codes when things should really just work using your face or fingerprints, your pulse or voice.

And eventually, they will. These are the growing pains as technology transforms the different facets of how society communicates—and television is up.

“It’s going to be fantastic to see how this industry deals with that change,” Goodwin said. “But you really have to be up for the fight.”

He stands defiant to the idea that “TV is dead.”

“The reason they say that is they look at charts that are going down,” Goodwin said. “But it begs the question, ‘what is TV?’

If it’s considered to be video-based quality content, “times are great for us,” he said. “More people have never watched it as much, for as long, and in more places.”

But a new definition also means marketers must go back to the basics to understand evolving behaviors in order to create fresh experiences and business models. We’re a far cry from what Goodwin considers the “post digital age” where devices were designed around one job: a Walkman played music, the radio played the radio, and the light switch turned on the light—even if the internet was down.

But in the future digital content will simply exist in the background. Content will seamlessly play from one screen to another, and people will interact with value and meaning. We’ll probably all wear stunning silver suits.

“I don’t see as much excitement and hope and enthusiasm as I would like to see,” Goodwin said.

That’s because we’re just dragging content through old pipes, in the same way that the first radio programs were people reading newspaper articles, and the first on-air dramas were single camera shots of a stage play, said Goodwin.

The lines between television, movies, radio and magazines are blurring, and instead marketers need to completely change their relationship with how they think about the content they and consumers love.

“I don’t know why TV channels exist anymore,” Goodwin said. “I’m not likely to go home in the evening and decide to watch a channel. The two least important things for someone watching TV today are, ‘what channel is it on?’ and ‘what time is it on?’”

However, while hardware and software are accelerating a rate that “feels very, very chaotic right now,” Goodwin pointed out that he was physically standing on the PromaxBDA stage and not some sort of a hologram.

“Decisions about the ways you behave and the things you bought are not radically different than five years ago” he said.

There’s more of a slow change happening, such as services like mobile banking and online dating, which have normalized as simply banking and dating in the modern age. Asking a child how much time they spend online is like asking an adult how much time they spend using electricity; it’s simply becoming a part of life, he said.

In this way, the internet is becoming a delivery mechanism for all content. Right now, abundance is the biggest problem for television marketers. Boredom is dead as everything vies for consumers’ attention spans, and even sleep becomes a competitor.

“We’re really in the business of entertainment,” Goodwin said. Television marketers should rethink the canvas on which they create, and “build around new possibilities” when it comes to advertising and scheduling, commercial models and micropayments, storytelling formats and brand insertions.

“The entire foundation of this industry could change in quite meaningful ways,” Goodwin said. “I genuinely think this is the best time to work in this industry.”

RELATED: TV is Changing: Tom Goodwin on Why Networks Shouldn’t Worry

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