Research Paper: Future of Television

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Future of Television

"I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts," asserted famed American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter and producer, Orson Welles, who was arguably best known for his role in the film Citizen Kane (Welles). In concurrence with Welles, television is one of things that the world has been revolutionized by- it is captured the attention of talented actors, accountants, elementary school students, among hundreds of other types of people. Television is an addiction, as Welles alluded to, that is hard to pull one away from despite not even truly enjoying what is being eaten, or in this case what is being viewed. Though, "television isn't what it used to be…in 1961, in a famous speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, FCC chairman Newton Minow called the medium a 'vast wasteland'" (Levine). Television, or TV as it commonly referred to, has transformed itself over the years to what society knows it as today, with scientific developments, and growing cultural relevance, the influence of media moguls like Turns and Murdock, the communication value and power of television grew so that the images and sounds that the television wished to convey starting to mean something. The impact that it has had on modern day society since its invention, only begs the question: what next? How can television evolve even further? Test the boundaries of human society even more? Before going forth to answer those questions, it must be understood that television has revolutionized the way the world lives; but, by exploring the components that comprise television and illuminating the current status of what television has evolved to since it's invention, it will provide the foundation to predicting how television will evolve even further into the future.

What is television? What are the different components of television?

This technology that has evolved over the years has come to be, because of the many different components that are involved in its ultimate product- the images and the sound that come from the set. Television, as society knows it today stems from the telegram which was the technology that "suggested the idea of transmitting images and sounds over distances" (Ray, 1332). Television, with the help of social and cultural changes and technological developments, has become a medium for communication of all type- social commentary, information about the world's events, entertainment, amongst other genres.

Though, television as it is today, has come to be because of its many components and parts including: pre-production, production, post-production, distribution, promotion and archives- with each of these parts is a an umbrella business model that helps secure the audience that television has. First, pre-production embodies all the activities that are needed in order for a television show or program to be actually made, including finding a location, having meetings with the necessary individuals to follow through on the concept being produced in the program or show including director, script writers, managers, among others. Finding a location and getting the appropriate staff for the production of the television is a daunting task but an important one in order to put the wheels in motion to actually produce the concept that an individual or a team may be envisioning (Marshall). After these necessary pre-production actions are taken, production takes place. Production entails "camera, lighting, sound, settings and make-up" (Millerson). The "camera movement, placement of subjects, editing, and aural composition, sound pick-up arrangements, lighting, rehearsal procedures, cueing systems and prompting" are also components that make up production for a television program (Millerson). Distribution, as shown by example on the NBC Universal website, is "responsible for the distribution of current and library film and television product, including formats and non-scripted programming, in the pay, free, and basic markets" (PitchCon.org). As asserted, distribution mainly deals with how the television program is going to be distributed to the markets for viewers. Though, in order for viewership of the distributed product, in this case the television program, to be significant, the studio that produced the program need to promote it amongst it's chosen demographics so that the maximum amount will watch the program if they choose to. In modern day society, promotions can be seen in many forms either through commercials, product placement, billboards, magazine or newspaper advertisements, among others; but, all of these different types fall under the larger umbrella of a promotion. Television shows that are successfully promoted often attract a large audience and are able to continue for a while. When shows are archived, they are placed in a "storage unit" of sorts so that each program is archived on a reel or disc for viewing at a later time. Similar to how we archive medical files of the past, television programs are archived in the same manner so if a show wants to be syndicated, clips need to be pulled from it or the like- the program is readily available for that.

The business model for television channels and programs is fairly straightforward in that they rely on advertisers to help subsidize the costs of post-production, production, distribution and promotion (Mitra). Advertising dollars are worth more if the program that is being viewed on television will reach a broad range of viewers. For example, in the 2011 United States football Super bowl, a thirty second television commercial was three million dollars (Smith). Though, the CNN article goes on to explain that the 3 million dollars is worth it because approximately "50% of the viewers of the Super bowl tune in for the commercials" (Smith). Because "television channels are not reaching more viewers than ever before" advertisements are reaching the masses (Levine). Exposure for certain products and brands to this broad of an audience is worth every penny of their ad dollars, but this in turn, helps sustain a program or a channel that is hosting the program. Advertisements are an the crux of the business model in television programs- it is absolutely integral part of sustaining the programming and keep the production costs covered, while also turning a profit.

These different components are absolutely essential to understanding how television and its programming work. Knowing this background will help establish a strong foundation of understanding what the current status of television is in society and the implications and impact that it has on society as a whole.

What is the current status of television? What is the impact and influence that television has on society? What's next?

Television's status in society is incredible- it has changed the way that society functions, becomes informed and entertains itself. Scholars have asserted that "television functions as a social context, providing sensory communion and social congregation; it also functions as a center of meaning, helping a society define 'us' and 'them', conferring value on persons and objects, and possibly supporting hegemonic social control" (Adams). Television is responsible for this? It is incredible that the images and the sounds coming from a box are not attributed to contributing and influencing so much over the society that we live in. There have been a myriad of studies that have attempted to illuminate the impact that television has on individuals including one that studied about one million students and the "relationship between amount of television viewing and educational achievement" and it seems that "for small amounts of viewing, achievement increased with viewing, but as viewing increased beyond a certain point, achievement decreased" (Razel). This study of the relationship between educational performance and television serves as a macrocosm for the influence of that television has on society- it has enough of an impact to influence the educational performance of children. This speaks to the importance and influence on the way that television has become a stronghold on individuals lives.

Television is a strong medium to inform and entertain currently- there are twenty-four hour news channels and reality television channels that seek to influence the way we dress, the way we act, the knowledge we are aware of, among other things. Television is a powerful medium that cannot be escaped- it is at bars, in waiting rooms of doctor's offices, in the airplane headrest, everywhere. With an omnipresence of television in our daily functioning life, it is almost impossible to escape its influence over us. How are we not to see the images that it chooses to show or hear the sound that comes out with it?

Television has gained such popularity and notoriety that it is now popular that the Chinese government has taken steps to try to control it, specifically when it came to a talent show where people could vote for the best act based on their preference, the voting seemed to trigger the Chinese government in this situation ("No Voting Please, We're Chinese"). Could it be that if individuals started voting here that they would also want to do that in real life? The Chinese government did not want to take that chance. Similar to the study about the relationship between educational performance and television viewership, television… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Future of Television.  (2011, October 15).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/future-television/4144655

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"Future of Television."  Essaytown.com.  October 15, 2011.  Accessed May 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/future-television/4144655.