Week 1.2: Television

Readings:

Mittell, J. (2006). TiVoing Childhood. Flow TV, 3(12). Retrieved from http://flowtv.org/2006/02/tivoing-childhood/

Gray, J. (2008). Television unboxed: expansion, overflow, and synergy. In Television Entertainment (1st ed., pp. 73-101). Routledge.  [eReserve]

Leaver, T. (2008). Watching Battlestar Galactica in Australia and the Tyranny of Digital Distance. Media International Australia, (126), 145-154.

1. How does time-shifting and recording TV alter the viewing experience? Will this destroy the industry if advertisers can’t guarantee viewers actually watching (rather than skipping) ads?

Time Shifting offers a degree of convenience unavailable to the public prior to the advent of VCR’s. Now when I’m watching a great movie on TV (a repeat of something I’ve seen before but want to watch again), I can just press pause and go to the toilet, make a cuppa or whatever, during the film. When the ads come, I fast forward them.  TV shows I’ve recorded earlier work on a similar concept although very cleverly, the Australian TV stations ensure that the time they show their programs and the times registered in the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) differ which means you will always lose 5 – 10 minutes of every show you record. (As an example, we recorded the film The Prestige last night, but missed out on the last ten minutes because the TV station was running late, therefore the show ran late, therefore the EPG was not adjusted and the whole recording process was ridiculous. Because of these we watch what we record OR we time shift to ensure we don’t miss out on anything. It seems a bit ridiculous to have to watch what you record, but because DVRs follow EPGs and don’t follow the transmission markers issued by tv stations, this type of problem is continual.

Advertising is already changing it’s consumer model. We now see the TV station GO is brought to us by Cudo or brought to us by… [insert brand here]. The adverts that sponsor a station or show are more valuable because they receive advertising just before the end of an ad break and are more likely to be watched. If people paid for their television by show (not pay tv, but actual subscription or micropayment per episode) then this would cover some advertising lost. Those unable or unwilling to pay for a tv show, could wait the 18 months for a show to appear on free to air and watch it with ads or time shift to avoid them.

2. Gray cites some high-profiles US examples where ‘overflow’ (the extra material developed around a franchise, like Lost) can be integral to the viewing experience. Does this mean TV can’t be considered ‘by itself’ anymore, or are additional and meaningful online extras still a rarity?

I think TV on its own is less valuable to the viewer now. The extras available for tv shows bring extra loyalty and give more credence to the viewing experience and probably also lead to more DVD sales.

3. Leaver (2008) suggests that the contradictions in current TV programming and online extras might be considered a ‘tyranny of digital distance’?  What does that mean, and does it matter?

It means we don’t see the new episodes of Dexter on Aussie free to air for 18 months. And they wonder why people steal/pirate/download episodes.

I’d be willing to pay (as Tama’s article suggested) a nominal fee for each episode of a current tv show I’m watching. I’d even be willing to put up with one ad at the beginning and one at the end of each episode on top of paying for a season’s pass.

I don’t believe I should be penalised for where I live. That’s like saying I should be penalised because of the colour of my skin, or my sexual orientation or my gender or my…. oh wait… let’s face facts – people who DON’T live in the USA are penalised, just the same way that gay people are, indigenous people are etc.

Globalisation of digital data is a fine ethos to reach for, but the result is not the same. We can always idealise what we want our Utopia to have, but look at women’s rights, same-sex marriage and indigenous relations…. The whole planet (bar a few select locations) are living in the dark ages. Digitalisation isn’t going to change that.



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