This week’s topic is TV and industry, and we have learned from the previous class how text, audiences, and industry links together to influence the genre. IN this week’s readings, though the three authors all touched on television convergence, they hold different attitudes and strengthen in the future of television.
Jennifer Holt’s article “Vertical Vision: Deregulation, Industrial Economy, and Primetime design” relies more on the history of regulation and deregulation in the American Television history. The Financial Interest and Syndication Laws, and the post-Fin Syn era indicates the how the industry survived and powered itself from government involvement. Like a modern chicken farm, the industry formed together and used up all portions of a product to gain profit. While Holt’s article is very informational and industry related, she did not foresee much of the future of television under the digital age. Henry Jenkins’ s article thus focuses on the convergence of media and gives an open question on the future of television. Jenkin starts his article with the current contradiction between the massive production and the intensive concentration of media ownership. He points out the future of television may become like a “kludge, a jerry-rigged relationship between different media technologies” (P34) He defines convergence as “ more than a corporate branding opportunity, which represents a reconfiguration of media power and a reshaping of media aesthetics and economics.” (p35) He leaves nine sites to leave a question mark to his readers not only the altering relation between producers and consumer but also the future of television.
Unlike Bolt’s historical research and Jenkins’s leaving a questions mark, John Caldwell does not only explain the history of the industry relation in television but also point out the threat that digital world put on the television industry and why television will survive from the digital age. Caldwell admits that the television industry is strong enough and cooperated enough to adapt quickly to the new system. He mentions that television will be more adaptable to the digital world than feature films and technology industry because of the five elements television embed: ancillary textuality, conglomerating texuality, marketing texuality, ritual textuality and programming textuality. Through old tradition and innovative practices, television will be able to capture audience’s attention regardless of changes. Although I think his point is a bit too optimistic about the future of television because the article did not foresee the online-streaming network’s invasion, Netflix, Hulu, and the on-going devices, I agree with the majority of his point. The easiest way to claims its position is to make excellent series that attracts people and an example will be HBO’s “Game of Throne.”
I agree with the notion that the television survives and adapt quickly in the digital era because there are examples of how television is utilizing its advantages to stand out and even beat the film industry. “Game of Throne” is the most popular series nowadays that HBO had premiered since 2011. As a division of Time Warner, HBO creates a revolution of fully use the resources of the network and make American TV compete with feature films, and receive massive international audiences. Different from the “sole authorship” in the movie industry, television took the advantages of the existing writers team model and treated each episode as a separate feature film quality. While at the same time, HBO launches each season both on it only cable channel but also in the HBO’s digital channel and various other digital channels. The success of “Game of Throne” certainly need to do with the audiences interaction, the content, its genre, the filming quality, but also the television industry’s response to the arrival of the digital age. In fact, the show is using the digital world to promote itself.
However, the threat does not go away when streaming companies like Netflix are producing its series like “House of Cards” that had the good quality, good scripts, and strong actors as well. Though the streaming network may not have the same amount of resources up until now, it may share the same sources with TV in the future. Thus, there is an inevitable battle in the future between traditional television conglomeration and emerging digital product.