In “Flexible Microcasting: Gender, Generation, and Television-Internet Convergence”, Lisa Parks discusses the cultural and social impacts of ‘postbroadcasting’ television practices. “Convergence is not just about the coming together of technical systems; it involves the shifting meanings of converging technologies as well.” (134) Giving special attention to representations of gender, class and race, Parks analyses current discourses towards this new combination of television and computer technologies.
One of the aspects discussed in her articled that I found to require further thinking was the idea of the switch from television as a collective experience to an individual practice. Parks claims that industry leaders have been interpreting this new age of 'postbroadcasting' as the era of ‘personal television’. Indeed, most entertainment platforms today require a personalized account that will provide the viewer suggestions tailored according to their individual preferences. It is almost as if our television habits are now under surveillance – it seems impossible to watch Orange Is The New Black without being bombed by Netflix with suggestions for Lost Girl and The L Word (Netflix doesn’t seem to know I have watched them all already…). Even though it seems kind of scary to take into consideration that all of these online platforms keep track of our personal tastes, there is also an element of convenience to this experience. It is just more comfortable to have your next show to binge brought to you instead of having to search for them yourself.
There is a new tendency in the entertainment market, and networks and streaming platforms seem to be investing all of their creativity to join the competition. With content available in multiple platforms, one could argue that democratization of television has reached its higher point. However, the financial borders of the industry persist to determine who may access their entertainment content. YouTube, for instance, have recently launched YouTube Red, a platform that offers premium music, commercial free videos, and original content with your favorite YouTubers, for “only” $9,99/month. While some familiarize with the most convenient television habits so far, many others remain excluded from this experience.
In Post-TV, those who can afford it have the opportunity to schedule their own programming, a tendency that Parks identifies as the removal of spontaneity. Aside from big events on broadcast networks—and certain shows that behave as such—the exercise of watching television seems to be becoming an individual, lonely practice.