Presentation on theme: "Television and the Power of Visual Culture Chapter 5."— Presentation transcript:
Television and the Power of Visual Culture Chapter 5
“No old media form ever disappears. They just get reinvented into a new purpose. TV is about to go through a profound reinvention.” —Paul Saffo, director, Institute for the Future, 2005
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
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
Image Quality 1930s sees U.S. adopt NTSC. – Standardized set production Other countries have higher-resolution scanning rates. – Results in better picture These differences become obsolete with the arrival of all-digital broadcast and reception.
VHF and UHF VHF – Early for black and white UHF – 1950s – Expanded stations and programming
Move to Digital Analog breaks down image into light pulses. – Remains analogous to the image or sound reproduced Digital transforms image and sound into “information” that a computer can process. – 0s and 1s are new information language.
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
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…
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
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.
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
Guess which format survives? Law & Order: Criminal Intent Desperate Housewives Grey’s Anatomy Lost 24 CSI
What breaks down network dominance? HBO – Satellite delivery – FCC comes to cable’s rescue in 1972. Independents – Superstations Ted Turner and WTBS VCR – Time shifting
Newer Developments DVRs (digital video recorders) – Users can record multiple programs at any time. – Will DVRs shatter our current notion of prime-time television? Fin-syn – End of extorting profits from old programs in syndication Rise of infotainment – Cheap celebrity and quiz shows
The Business End of TV Deficit financing Network-produced programming – Reality TV – Low quality, high profit – Newsmagazines Syndication and reruns – Evergreens
On the Fringe Fringe time – Just before prime time – Off-network syndication Old programs – First-run syndication Programs produced for syndication Hybrid syndication – Examples: the newer Star Trek programs The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine Cash and barter – Selling and controlling distribution
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
PBS Does it still serve a purpose? Who will decide?