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The History of Television
 Introduced to the masses at the NY
World’s fair in 1939
 Conflicting opinions about tv: the positives
 Harmless pastime
 Educational tool
 Important part of culture
 The negatives:
 Presents dangerously unrealistic picture of
the world
 Promotes violence
 Waste of time
Tv statistics
 % of households with at least 1 tv: 99
 # of tv sets in avg. U.S. household: 2
 % of U.S. homes with 3+ tv sets: 66
 # of hours per day tv is on in avg. U.S.
home: 6 hrs. 47 min.
 % of Americans that regularly watch tv
while eating dinner: 66
Genres and Program Types
 Purpose of tv
 #1 to gather an audience for advertisers
 Also:
 Entertainment
 Information/ education
Genres and Program Types
 Because tv programs serve to gather an
audience for advertisers (yes, you are viewed as
a commodity):
 There has been little change in programming since
the beginning of tv
 Networks tend to stick with what has worked in the
past – success copying
 When a certain type of program is successful on 1 network,
others rush to produce a similar one
 Accounts for waves of popularity of certain types of shows
from season to season
Genres and Program Types
 Very few series last more than 3 yrs; many
cancelled during 1st yr.
 Dependable programming:
 Soap opera: daytime tv drama
 Originated on radio shows; soap companies were often
 Crime drama
 CSI, NCIS, Law and Order
 Reality tv
 First shows: The Real World; Cops
 Currently 1 of the most-watched genres
 Dancing w/ Stars, American Idol, The Voice, etc.
Television and Stereotypes
 Stereotype:
 The application to an entire group of the
qualities of a limited sample of that group
 Examples of stereotypes:
 How does tv perpetuate stereotypes?
 How can we dispel stereotypes?
MTV and New Production
 Created in 1981 as an all-music video
channel for young audiences
 MTV strives to use capabilities of video in
new ways
Rapid-fire editing
Hand-held camera movements
Synchronizing video edits to music
Integration of digital production
Broadcast Television
 1350++ stations in the U.S.
 Channels 2-13 (VHF – very high
 Channels 14-83+ (UHF – ultra high
 # of channels available in any given area
increased dramatically:
 Cable networks
 Satellite dishes
 Tv stations are licensed by the FCC to
serve the “public interest”
 License must be renewed every 3 yrs
4 Major Networks
 Nearly 85% of all tv stations affiliated with
(not owned by) 1 of the following:
CBS: Columbia Broadcasting System
ABC: American Broadcasting Company
NBC: National Broadcasting Company
Fox: Fox Broadcasting Company
 The most profitable stations are those
affiliated with 1 of the above networks
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
 A tv station that does not belong to a major
network is either an independent station or
a member of PBS
 PBS stations carry cultural and
educational programming
 Supported by gov’t grants, donations from
foundations and corporations, and
contributions from individuals and groups
 Not as dependent on advertising $ as
commercial tv networks
 PBS stations do present messages about
underwriters or supporters
Independent Stations
 Stations that do not belong to a major
network or PBS
 Program movies, local sports, and
syndicated tv shows
Networks and Local Stations
 Networks are not television stations; they
do not broadcast programs – they supply
programs to local tv affiliates via satellite
 Local stations must fill their own
programming when networks do not
supply it
 Networks provide programs free to the
affiliates and are paid for the advertising
time they can sell during the program
Cost of Advertising
 The cost of advertising depends on the
popularity of the program
 The more viewers, the higher the cost of
 A small amount of time during each
program is left for the local station to sell
to local advertisers
 This advertising constitutes main source of
income for local stations
Cable Television
 Began in the late 1940’s as a solution to a
problem in rural areas
 People paid fee to have tv set wired by cable to
master antenna
 Good reception without expense of rooftop antenna
• From isolated rural areas, tv moved to cities
• Tall buildings and airplane interference impacted
• A few cable systems offered subscribers additional
channels brought in from nearby cities as added
Cable tv
 Offers more channels than are possible
with broadcast tv
 Greatest benefit of cable tv:
 It offers a large # of channels to everyone
Television Ratings
 Tv networks have more competition and
find fewer viewers in prime time
 Nielson Ratings
 Determine a program’s future
 Nielson Ratings measure:
 How many people watched a particular show in a
particular time slot
 What % of households with a tv watched show x
 How show x is rated amongst other shows aired
that week
Nielson Ratings
 The higher the rating, the higher the cost
of advertising, and the higher the revenue
Up for Debate …
 Has television had a positive or negative
effect on people and culture over the past
70 years?
 Discuss!!!!