The Future of Broadcast Television

Let us think about the future, the future of broadcast television ten years from now. What may we expect to see?

First, it is likely that we will see broadcast television come to an end. After all, it was not very long ago when we witnessed a push to end governmental support for PBS—one of the most important television stations for news and educational programs. Within the next decade it is likely that PBS may no longer be available to the American public leaving many with low income unable to attain exposure to educational programming for children (Word Girl, Martha Speaks, Sesame Street, and Wild Kratts), the arts, history, and science (Nova, Nature, American Experience, and American Masters), and news programming (Frontline and NewsHour). Local news can be accessed online and FaceBook make it possible to keep up with local news stories. As the Digital Divide narrows and becomes obsolete broadcast television will no longer serve a purpose.

Second, Smart TVs and tablets made it possible for typical television viewers to access YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and many other apps allowing for one to gain access to programs available on broadcast networks. This will be the future of television viewing. The Internet will more than likely be responsible for the decline of broadcast television. More and more we bear witness to households canceling cable television subscriptions to the benefit of instant streaming.

Television via Internet will allow for viewers to participate with knowledge communities leading the way. The future of television will be one of which the viewers decide on content to be aired and access will be obtained without a time restraint. This will make it difficult for media conglomerates to address but if it is recognized already then they can begin planning now for their monetization of programs. They may charge per channel or per program. It will be interesting to see how this will actually play out. Even now many viewers select to pay per season or episode on apps like Amazon and I believe it is highly likely that broadcast companies will follow suit. How will this affect the ethical lines of production and marketing manipulation?

Well, the effects of production and marketing manipulation on ethics have already shown us that broadcasters serve their own means.

Ethics in production and marketing manipulation seem to be missing in broadcast television already so there is no reason to assume that the ethical line will even exist a decade from now. This is why it will be even more important that knowledge communities have more say in what is produced and how society can be marketed too.


What is Convergence Culture?

Henry Jenkins, author of “Convergence Culture” (2006) defines convergence culture as “where old and new media collide, where grassroots and corporate media intersect, where the power of the media producer and the power of the media consumer interact in unpredictable ways.”

Computers, cell phones, and the Internet encourage almost limitless communication providing opportunities for a new cultural experience. Convergence culture is representative of a cultural shift where consumers encourage information and connections dispersed among various media platforms. The result is participatory culture. No longer can the consumer be described as simply a passive spectator, but rather a participant who interact with media producers. When consumers take information from the media and use it for social interactions with other consumers then an incentive is built to continuously talk about the media resulting in collective intelligence. French cyber-theorist, Pierre Lévy is credited with coining the term collective intelligence. Conversations amongst consumers are a collective process valued by media industries.

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Media industries gain more power by using these conversations for advertising purposes and to build their fan base. This has changed the way media is produced and the way it is consumed.

One example of convergence culture between the television industry and consumers is the NBC app. In this app a consumer is able to further their viewing participation. Take for instance the NBC’s show Grimm. Viewers are able to visit the “spice shop” and uncover secrets. By clicking on highlighted items details about objects used in the show are revealed to entice viewers. Viewers can also tour the Grimm set. You can even view creature profiles and explore Nick’s books. This encourages fans to talk and predict what will happen in the upcoming shows on their fandom Sites. The feedback on such Sites allows for producers to understand their audience and thus construct future shows   to keep their audience coming back for more.