Most recently, the introduction of the PVR allows viewers to record TV shows and watch them at their discretion while skipping the commercials. While a PVR has a limit on how many shows can be saved at one time, excluding the ability to watch an entire season of one show, it does provide the viewer control over 'when' to watch and to watch 'multiple' episodes at once. In hand with the PVR comes the internet which allows viewers to download or stream episodes, providing the viewer with the same power as is found in the PVR while also providing a greater number of episodes to watch, similar to the DVD sets of a show's entire season.
The point is that viewers are gaining greater control (empowerment) over how they are being entertained. This is not a new revelation as many other people have previously pointed this out (and probably more concisely). What may not have been called attention to is that comic books are also moving in this direction and will continue to do so in the next ten years.
Trade paperbacks (tpb) have been around since the 1970's. These early trade tpb's were comic books (some call them graphic novels) that featured one long comic story with sometimes more adult themes. This style of tpb has continued today, for instance my earlier post about the Swallow Me Whole tpb (http://pickledpeanuts.blogspot.com/2010/09/swallow-me-whole.html). In the late 1980's and early 1990's, tpb began featuring a collection of comic stories that were originally published individually on a monthly basis (eg. Superman issues #14-48). This is similar if not the same to how TV shows are now sold in DVD sets. This style of tpb became increasingly popular as many comic readers could not afford to purchase individual comics (tpb's are generally cheaper) or could not be bothered to return to a comic store on a weekly or monthly basis. Tpb's were also great for they interested readers who normally did not read comics. The tpb seemed like a more authentic and adult form of literature because it came in a book format.
Another aspect is that the longer and compiled tpb forms will continue in their popularity and force some comic properties to only be sold in such a form, otherwise they will be faced with their newfound readers leaving that property because it takes too long for the tpb (paper or digital) to be released. A solution to this, and perhaps something we will see in comics, is that comic properties like the X-Men and Batman will be created by a larger team of artists. These properties will be treated much like a TV show where a gang of writers will work on multiple scripts and a gang of artists will bust out the art. The combined effort of these individuals will produce a large volume of stories in a short amount of time, satisfying the demand of the audience. However, the rub is that the quality of the stories may diminish for the stories and art will be rushed. Also, gone will be the day of a single writer /artist with a single vision such as the legendary Frank Miller run on Batman in the 1980's or Neal Adams on the Green Arrow in the 1970's.
Needless to say, the past decade has shown that comics are not dying, they are evolving. The process might be slow and rough, but it is undergoing. I am excited to see where this leads but am also pessimistic by what might be lost.
Longbox Digital Comics image from: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=21693
Captain America Digital comic for the PSP image from: http://www.joystiq.com/screenshots/digital-comics-psp/2217058/#/0
Comic Book Evolution image from: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/45773