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Television, Cable, and Specialization in Visual Culture Chapter 8.

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Presentation on theme: "Television, Cable, and Specialization in Visual Culture Chapter 8."— Presentation transcript:

1 Television, Cable, and Specialization in Visual Culture Chapter 8

2 “Viewership may be half of what it was in the 1970s and 1980s, but programs like Modern Family, NCIS, or American Idol can still command a greater audience than many popular movies, books, or albums.”

3 Television Becomes a Mass Medium Early history, 1880s Paul Nipkow develops the “scanning disk” Developmental stage, 1920s Zworykin invents iconoscope, TV camera tube Farnsworth transmits electronic TV picture Entrepreneurial stage, 1930s and 1940s NTSC outlines practices and standards FCC adopts analog standards for U.S. TV sets

4 Television Becomes a Mass Medium (cont.) Mass medium stage, 1950s FCC distributes all available channels evenly throughout U.S. More than 400 stations RCA’s color system becomes the color standard

5 Controlling TV Content Single sponsor supports and controls each program, 1950s Examples: Goodyear, Colgate, Buick Networks gain control Increased cost to sponsors Increased average program length Introduced magazine format shows Introduced “spectacular” Sold ad spots to multiple advertisers

6 The Quiz-Show Scandals Quiz shows huge business in 1950s 22 shows on air during 1957–58 Sponsored by corporations Many shows were rigged Contestants given answers to heighten suspense or attract viewers. Example: Twenty-One by Geritol Networks further decrease use of sponsors to create programs Quiz shows off network prime time for 40 years

7 Cable Is Born Developed in 1940s out of a need in some communities that were unable to receive traditional over-the-air TV signals Called CATV, or community antenna television Served only 10% of the country Offered advantages Eliminated over-the-air interference, offered more channels

8 Network News Many Americans switch from newspapers to TV Meet the Press (1947-) oldest show on TV ABC, CBS and NBC dominate national TV news, 1960s-1980s CNN begins 24/7 cable news, 1980s Network news viewership down Competition from cable, Internet Audience still larger than many other shows

9 TV Comedy Sketch comedy Hour-long variety shows Saturday Night Live Require fresh content, new sets each week Situation comedy or sitcom Half-hour format Emphasizes zany plot over character development I Love Lucy, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, Modern Family

10 Drama Anthology Influenced by stage plays Expensive, unappealing to mainstream Masterpiece Mystery! Episodic series Chapter shows: self-contained stories House, The closer Serial programs: continuing story lines Roots, The X-Files, daytime soap operas

11 Other Network Programming Talk shows The Tonight Show TV newsmagazines 60 Minutes Reality TV Extreme Makeover, American Idol

12 Public Television Public TV created in 1960s For viewers underserved by commercial TV Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 creates PBS Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Barney Cable and satellite options Making PBS less necessary Future uncertain

13 Evolution of Cable Programming Basic cable Channels appeal to specific interests ESPN, Nickelodeon, BET Specialized information 24/7 news, financial news, international news Specialized entertainment MTV provides music, comedy, reality shows Premium cable HBO, AMC, Bravo offer innovative content Pay-per-view, Video-on-demand (VOD) offer innovative viewing options

14 Regulatory Challenges Prime Time Access Rule Reduced network control of prime time Attempted to encourage use of local programs Led to rise of “infotainment” programs Fin-syn Rules Banned networks from running own syndication companies Phased out in 1990s

15 Regulatory Challenges (cont.) FCC Rules of 1972 allow cable to expand Access channels, leased channels Midwest Video case 1979 U.S. Supreme Court declares cable a form of electronic publishing; retained right to dictate own content Telecommunications Act of 1996 Eliminates ownership restrictions and regulatory barriers Opens way for corporate mergers

16 The Digital Age Home video: VCRs, DVDs, DVRs Changed our notion of prime-time TV DVRs allow advertisers to track viewers The Internet Further transforms viewing habits Created alternative forms of content Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) More TV options, bundling of Internet service Cell phones, mobile video, WiMax

17 Economics: Money In Syndication Leasing to exclusive rights to air older TV series Includes cash or barter deals Fills “fringe time” Advertising Nielsen ratings determine success of shows Subscriptions Cable market only Viewers pay monthly fee for basic option, more for premium channels like HBO or Showtime

18 Economics: Money Out Production “Below-the-line” costs: 40% of budget on equipment, special effects, cameras, crews, sets, and so on “Above-the-line” costs: 60% of budget on actors, writers, producers, editors, directors Distribution Networks pay affiliates to show programs in return for ad time. Networks own affiliates only in large markets (NYC, Los Angeles)

19 Ownership and Consolidation Many corporations have consolidated or been acquired to save costs. Examples: Disney owns ABC, GE owns NBC Multiple-system operators (MSOs) AT&T, TCI, and Comcast Time Warner, AOL, and Turner DirecTV and DISH Network

20 Television in a Democratic Society Cable, Internet and DVRs fray social bonds No longer shared experience of network TV Cable specializes in niche programming Citizens have little input with service providers Mergers and consolidation worry critics Will limit political viewpoints, programming options, technical innovation Lead to price fixing TV can still unite large audience Super Bowl draws most segments

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