Monthly Archives: August 2015

“I challenge you to a sche-duel!”

Post 2 for Television Cultures

Television scheduling was once something that was influenced by society, then became an influencer of society. But now, that whole ‘plan of procedure which contains reference to the time that is allocated for each event’ also known as the TV schedule is being influenced by the increase in popularity and abundance of on demand services.

Scholars Jiyoung Cha and Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted have said that online streaming systems that ‘enable users to watch and distribute video content seem to have finally entered a rapid stage of growth in the United States’. And it is evident, through the advertisements for and introduction of more on demand services in Australia, that the popularity of online streaming and on demand services is growing here too.

I remember as a child, watching my Grandmother choosing the programs she wanted to watch for the week- with a highlighter in one hand, the TV guide in the other.
I used to try and do the same in my TV guide, then my highlighter turned into a remote that controlled my Foxtel IQ where I could record my programs and set reminders for programs I wanted to watch. But now, there is no remote or highlighter- there is something called an on demand service, proudly brought to us by the process of digitisation
The process of digitisation can be defined as converting existing material into an electronic format. Digitisation is altering the television and the broadcast experience; not only making it easier for us to weave our viewing practices into our busy, on-the-go lives but also allowing companies to increase their revenue by becoming multiplatform- creating digitised versions of their pre-existing services. Many companies have identified this trend in the want for programs on demand.
Foxtel was once a cable company who provided a satellite service to subscribers, allowing them to access hundreds of channels at the click of a remote. Shows that were once exclusive to America, such as Dance Moms, have become available to Australian viewers.
But the process of digitisation and the trend of online TV watching has lead to a rise in the popularity of other online on demand subscription services. Foxtel has introduced an online version of their service to their subscribers -Foxtel GO. The service allows for subscribers to view the programs they know and love from Foxtel online or via a mobile app for viewing when, where and however they like- allowing individuals to schedule their viewing practices around their pre-existing daily activities. I can now watch Dance Moms as a way to fill in time on my 5.30 train home via the Foxtel GO app on my iPad- winning! Digitisation has lead to a rise in the popularity of other online on demand subscription services. Stan was created to be an Australian version of Netflix, and now Netflix has become available to Australian viewers due to popular demand.

As the process of digitisation continues to occur who knows how on demand and online subscription services will transform- Television might even become a dominantly online concept- maybe when we drive hover cars but always. But whilst this process of digitisation continues, I shall open my Foxtel GO app and catch up on the programs I have been eager to watch during the time I’ve been blogging.

Cha, J., & Chan-Olmsted, S. M. (2012). Substitutability between online video platforms and television. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 89(2), 261-278.


Which News is The News?

Post 1 for Television Cultures

The News was once a name for a genre of informative broadcasts that communicated global and local headlines to its audience in a predictable, formal and somewhat templated manner. But the application of this term ‘The News’ is starting to be blurred due to what could be explained as audiences growing tired of the repetitive delivery of the negative headlines. Ultimately, this has resulted in a growing number alternative News broadcast services, such as satirical news programs.

The genre of ‘satirical news’ encompasses the use of sarcasm and irony in response to and to communicate headlines from around the globe for informative and entertainment purposes.
No longer do audiences seek for their headlines to be solely communicated by a middle aged, slightly plump suited man, sitting at a desk with a mug of what must be terribly cold black coffee who reads his words from a teleprompter with no added personal opinion.
Shows such as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Daily Show and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering are providing audiences with the opportunity to receive and interact with a new type of news- one that takes a lighter approach at recapping the headlines, whilst continuing on with a stereotypical news vibe by mimicking the aesthetics of a typical news broadcast. These shows may be considered, by their elements or on a whole, as an alternative news service or as scholars
Chris Peters and Marcel Jeroen have named them- ‘hybridised media formats” due to their incorporation of different genres, uses and platforms.

Whilst these shows may take on the stereotypical visual aspects of the news, maybe except for the plump, middle-aged man bit, they are different in many other respects.
These shows are broadcast in a different way and at a different time to the general ‘real’ news broadcast. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is not screened on free to air TV- it is a show that in Australia is exclusive to The Comedy Channel and generally at 6.30pm, a whole hour after the stereotypical time-slot for a general news broadcast. But this delivery of ‘the news’ is also available on demand via services such as Foxtel GO AND certain extracts of the show that encompass highlights from his delivery of the news can be viewed on Youtube for free viewing- anytime, anywhere, any way.
Due to the multi-platform of these programs, and their ability to be scheduled around ones day, programs such as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, for instance, have more of an active audience- an audience where members attentively choose the programs in which they view based on their likes, as well as ‘actively’ interpreting the messages conveyed through the media.
This audience includes not just the subscribers of Foxtel or fans that interact with the content available on Youtube, but those who seek a lighter approach to the way they receive their headlines and actively pursuit a TV show which provides this.

Not only has the satirical news show changed the classification of news programs, but it highlights the audience’s growing need for a fresh, new take on the way they receive their news- how it is delivered, how it is received and how it is viewed.

Peters, Chris, Marcel Jeroen Broersma (2013). Rethinking Journalism : Trust and Participation In a Transformed News Landscape. New York, NY: Routledge