I love television. It is my way to visualize other potential realities, relate it back to mine, forget about mine, see who I am and who I could be through someone’s visualization of another life that had nothing to do with me. It’s trite, but the power of narratives can never be overstated.
What happens when narratives are always on to be consumed? Paced along with us. Slow. Driven by discussion and contemplation. Slightly voyeuristic. In your pocket.
For those that don’t know, Terrace House, is a Japanese reality show where six people - 3 boys, 3 girls - live in a house together and we watch what happens. Very much like The Real World, except due to the nature of cultural differences it is an entirely different consumption experience. That said, there is still an underlying tone of romantic possibility.
We start with the original six. People are free to leave the house. They are replaced to keep the balance. Couples form, couples fail to form. Everyone has their own reasoning behind being there, leaving, this is life.
My favorite element of the show is the fact that you are watching with a group of commentators that we cut to every 15 minutes or so. Similar to how we generally watch this genre of tv with a friend to speculate and crack jokes, we have that same behavior put on screen for us. A scheduled break from the action, a way to collectively participate in this very human compulsion.
Like real life, the show is actually quite slow. This slowness provides the necessary space for nuance. We talk about how one character’s attention always seems directed towards a particular individual. We emphatically agree when the girls break off to their room to find out they all reallyyyyyyy resent one of the guys. We are shocked when someone unexpectedly leaves the house. We rejoice at an on-screen kiss!
I think something core to humans, is we like to watch other people be alive. And we’ll participate in a lot of games around this singular theme.
Now the point of this week’s newsletter. I think Terrace House is the perfect framework for always on, social tv. My pad sketch above shows how “simple” — because product is simple and you get it right on the first time — it would be.
Essentially it’s a mix of “always on” broadcast with different cameras at the house capturing any moment. In the top right you still have the ability to switch views if you feel like following a specific character at the moment.
On the control side, someone would always be watching for interesting interactions on the main viewer. They would also be able to send push-notifs if something really great was going down.
We would still have our core episodes weekly, acting as a summary and stitching together of story.
Across the bottom we have the member’s profiles that display their socials in a cohesive way.
In the age of Netflix and Hulu and every other streaming service we could name. What we don’t have, in my opinion, is a straight to your phone channel that captures the progression of life. Removed from the barriers of tv and networks. Free. his will have to be built from scratch.
Quibi is going to be fun to watch in this respect. But I don’t believe they are launching with anything live. It’s also subscription. Which although an economic necessity when you launch after raising $1b+ mayyyyyyyy be a growth snag. I would want to do a proper breakdown on that, so don’t hold me to it.
If you’ve never watched Terrace House I would really encourage it. It is a lot of fun, and it is very easy to find yourself 4 hours in to the characters going on cute dates and chatting around the dinner table.
My other pitch around always on tv like this would be to create a new, full on, MTV. Studio audience. Chopping music videos for vertical. This would be what I would build right now if I wasn’t working on Eternal.
Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.