I came into TV Cultures knowing 2 things: I like TV, I like culture.
I have come out knowing more than 2 things (luckily).
Taking this class was both a leap of faith and motivated by my interest in the interactions of society and culture with television. Through discussing shows, contextualising theories and information, and by logging my television viewings, I am have been able to reflect on my own viewing habits and the type of audience member I am.
Instantly, I can tell you know that I am a commentator, analysing the conventions of the television show, the storyline and everything in between. My mother has likened me to Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets.
But guess how I can get away with this without the person watching with me missing the story? ON DEMAND/SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES!
I am an audience member who very much relies on the post-broadcast television viewing methods in order to watch television. This post-broadcast era, or ‘post-network era’ as Aymar Jean Christian, author of ‘The Web Reimagined? Online Networks and the Pursuit of Legacy Media’ identifies, ‘marked a transition from mass audiences and source programming to niche audiences and available programming’. As a television audience member, I heavily rely on such subscription and on demand television services that have arisen from this era, and it is quite evident when assessing trends in my television viewing time log. 21 of my 29 entries were viewed on Netflix- that’s a whopping 72%. These subscription services allow me to be considered as one of the members of a narrow casted audience, a smaller group of whom the select form of media is targeted at, determined by demographic or preferences, as I am one of a smaller number of people who choose or have a preference to pay for these services.
This post-broadcast era in which I am heavily a part of has many benefits. The on-demand medium, according to Amanda Lotz allows viewers to ‘begin experimenting with new ways of viewing television’ and for me, these new ways suit my busy schedule, allowing me to watch my favourite shows in my nightly leisure time- my log indicates is approximately 93% of the entries were night-time viewings.
Ultimately, I can schedule my viewings around my daily activities and thanks to their portability (Netflix app on my ipad and website for my computer) and I can indulge in what I call ‘Don Draper Watch’ (Mad Men viewings) anywhere and at anytime.
Whilst these subscription services are great in the fact that they allow me to watch a show at any time I like, sometimes, ‘spoilers’ are spread through my social media accounts (or at lectures *cough GLEN cough*) and can ultimately ruin critical moments of the show, even before I have started watching the episode, season or even the series.
On the other hand, these spoilers can gain interest, and the conversations surrounding the storyline of such programs can create interest, just like the interest I gained from the Mad Men lecture. I guess we could also analyse this scenario as an example of the ‘water-cooler’ effect. This occurs when a show is talked about among many people, ultimately influencing others to gain interest, which is what I guess you could label my Mad Men reviews given to customers at work as- 5 stars for Jon Hamm!
Anyway, I will acknowledge that whilst the post-broadcast era may not have shifted the viewing practices of all, I personally have definitely felt that this new, digitalised way of viewing TV is for me- a member of a narrow audience who indulge in television, fitting in their viewings around their on schedule via their on demand services.
I have been able to contextualise my viewing habits, appreciate the construction of shows and the platforms and interactions they provide, whilst also appreciating Netflix in a whole new way.
Taking this class, initially was a ‘leap of educational faith’ for me- as film based studies were my comfort zone. But I am now a Mad Men addict who is water-cooler-ing -enticing not only my family and friends, but customers and randoms on the street- DON DRAPER I LOVE YOU!
Christian, A. J. (2012). The Web as Television Reimagined? Online Networks and the Pursuit of Legacy Media. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 36(4), 340-356.
Lotz, A. D. (2009). Beyond prime time. Television Programming in the Post-Network Era. New York.
SM Inpulse (2012). ‘What is Narrowcasting?”. Social Media Impulse. Available at: http://socialmediaimpulse.com/social-media-tips/what-is-narrowcasting/