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Television and the Power of Visual Culture Chapter 5.

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Presentation on theme: "Television and the Power of Visual Culture Chapter 5."— Presentation transcript:

1 Television and the Power of Visual Culture Chapter 5

2 “…the creators of a current network sitcom, The Office, have broken new ground by revamping the show’s look and structure, shooting the program documentary style (like the original British version). The Office feels like a hybrid program, located somewhere between the more traditional comedy and a reality program.”

3 Television: The Good and the Bad Diverts Entertains Informs 1960s Civil Rights Times of crisis McCarthy hearings Violence Sexuality Impact on kids Impact on disturbed Unimaginative

4 Television Development Paul Nipkow 1880s Nipkow Disk Broke pictures into light units that could be “sent” and decoded by a receiver Zworykin and Farnsworth Develop electronic broadcasting methods Farnsworth makes distance broadcasting. Beats RCA in ugly patent suit

5 Image Quality 1930s sees U.S. adopt NTSC. Standardized set production Other countries have higher-resolution scanning rates. Results in better picture These differences became obsolete with the arrival of all-digital broadcast and reception.

6 Digital Television and Converters By 2009, rabbit ears and rooftop antennas will be rendered useless unless they are tethered to a digital converter. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration helped consumers pay for new converters. The digital signal provides a superior image compared with its analog predecessor.

7 Sponsors In Golden Age (1950s) single-sponsor programs typical Colgate Comedy Hour Kraft GE Networks feared sponsor control. Dispute over content, in particular Enter Pat Weaver Forced advertisers out by raising costs

8 Weaver’s Strategies Increased length of average program Increased sponsor cost as a result Used the “spectacular” Used the magazine format Used musical specials Plus…

9 The Quiz-Show Scandals Examples are $64,000 Question and Twenty-One. Corporate sponsors encouraged rigging to heighten drama and get rid of unappealing guests. Scandal ended sponsor’s role in creating content Undermined democratic possibilities of television Spawned contemporary cynicism

10 The Big Three Networks NBC Meet the Press since 1947 Huntley-Brinkley in 1956 CBS Walter Cronkite First to use affiliates 60 Minutes Katie Couric hired in 2006 ABC World News Tonight Networks dominate until about 1980.

11 TV Comedy Sketch comedy Your Show of Shows (1950–1954), Carol Burnett Show (1967–1979) Situation comedy or sitcom I Love Lucy, Seinfeld, 30 Rock Domestic comedy Will & Grace, The Office

12 Drama: Anthologies vs. Episodes One time Spectacular Writers’ vehicle Actor’s vehicle Required more from an audience? Associated with Golden Age of TV More suited to weekly grind Same characters week after week Less creativity demanded with pre- fab characters Cost-effective

13 Guess which format survives? Law & Order: Criminal Intent Desperate Housewives Grey’s Anatomy Lost 24 CSI

14 PBS Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 eventually creates PBS in 1969 Charged with creating “high quality” programs Does it still serve a purpose? Who will decide?

15 What breaks down network dominance? Independents Superstations Ted Turner and WTBS HBO Satellite delivery FCC comes to cable’s rescue in VCR Time shifting DVRs (digital video recorders) Users can record multiple programs at any time. Will DVRs shatter our current notion of prime-time television?

16 FCC Temporarily Restricts Networks Prime Time Access Rule (1970) Reduced network control of prime time Gave up 7:30 – 8 PM time slot Led to rise of infotainment Cheap celebrity and quiz shows Fin-syn End of extorting profits from old programs in syndication

17 Figure 5.1

18 What News Corp. Owns Television Fox Broadcasting Company Thirty-five television stations (selected stations) – KCOP (MyNetworkTV, Los Angeles) – KTTV (FOX, Los Angeles) – KMSP (FOX, Minneapolis) – WFTC (MyNetworkTV, Minneapolis) – WNYW (FOX, New York City) – WWOR (MyNetworkTV, New York City) DBS & Cable Fox Movie Channel Fox News Channel Fox Reality Fox Sports International Fox Sports Net FUEL TV FX SPEED National Geographic Channel (67% stake) British Sky Broadcasting (38% stake, UK) SKY Italia Radio Fox Sports Radio Network Classic FM Sky Radio Germany Film 20th Century Fox Fox Searchlight Pictures Fox Television Studios Blue Sky Studios Newspapers New York Post Wall Street Journal Ottaway Newspapers (twenty-seven local papers) News International Limited (UK) The Times (UK) News Limited (110 Australian newspapers) Magazines The Weekly Standard TV Guide (2% stake) donna hay (Australia) Books HarperCollins (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India) Zondervan Online Fox Interactive Media – IGN.com – MySpace.com – Scout.com – RottenTomatoes.com – MarketWatch (online business news)

19 The Business End of TV Deficit financing Network-produced programming Reality TV Low quality, high profit Newsmagazines Syndication and reruns Evergreens

20 On the Fringe Fringe time Just before prime time Off-network syndication Old programs First-run syndication Programs produced for syndication Cash and barter Selling and controlling distribution

21 A. C. Nielsen Ratings Percentage of households tuned to a sampled program Shares Percentage of homes tuned to a program, compared with those actually using their sets at the time of sample

22 The Future of Television Television is the main storytelling medium of our time Big Three networks have lost more than 50% of audience since 1980s How can TV maintain its cultural relevance?


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