The Norman Lear Center at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC. The Future of Television? Marissa Gluck and Meritxell Roca Sales. Sept 2008. <http://188.8.131.52/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:DW7Vx0zemikJ:www.learcenter.org/pdf/FutureofTV.pdf+hulu+%2B+television>
Sales and Gluck’s research shows how users are consuming content online and how their viewing habits on television are changing. The report cites Nielson, writing that television is still the medium with which consumers spend the most time engaged. Despite this, television ratings are dropping. Sales and Gluck examine why this has occurred. They assert that due to all of the new platforms for watching television—the Internet, mobile phones, DVRS—audiences are becoming more fragmented. Media companies need to take a better look at how this affects their ad dollars and if there are better metrics that need to be used to measure audience members. Sales and Gluck argue that media companies and advertisers are recognizing the new opportunities to be had online. Networks are even becoming more flexible in terms of business plan, the researchers argue, by NBC Universal and News Corporation putting aside their differences and aggregating all of their material and creating Hulu, a bigger site that is a real contender in the online video world. This venture is just one example of the new media used to exploit the television-Internet connection. Though the future of TV is uncertain, this proves that television executives are making a push to stay current. Sales and Gluck cite four strategies that channels are using to ensure viewers: event programming (so that viewers watch live TV), variable length programming (becoming flexible with formats for every kind of screen), narrative sophistication (making audience members invested in the show) and brand integration (in order to battle ad-skipping technologies).
This study is important to my paper because it describes the predicament that television networks are in and presents solutions to their problems as well as strategies to keep their business afloat. Not only do Sales and Gluck give their opinion, but they also comment on current strategies that are working, such as Hulu, which is an important aspect of my paper. Talking about audience fragmentation, due to time and space shifting is integral because their comments will add to the strength of my thesis and the depth of my argument. They study many viewing patterns and include many charts and exact data, which I will have to examine in order to ensure that my argument has validity
Graham, Paul. "Why TV Lost." Paul Graham. Mar 2009. 3 Apr 2009. <http://www.paulgraham.com/convergence.html>.
Paul Graham states that he believes that viewers will not watch Internet television and traditional television in moderation, but they will stop watching traditional television all together. In his blog entry, Graham writes that TV shows will continue to exist, however, the television medium will no longer be dominant. He gives four reasons why “TV lost”: the Internet’s open platform, Moore’s Law, piracy, and social application, which he cites as the most surprising reason for victory. He also believes that social applications on computers are the biggest forces in the contest, because these applications are what draws individuals to computers. He believes that the television executives need to face the facts and rework their business models with computers as the dominant format for viewing shows. On the Internet, individuals are no longer bound a specific viewing time, but can watch at their own convenience. He cites this also as the demise of local television, since people will no longer congregate and watch a show based on location, thus diminishing the usefulness of local television ad spots and local news. This causes huge problems for television networks, which are run by affiliate stations in their local areas. Graham notes that network’s new push towards live television is to strategically force people to view the shows during an exact time on traditional television. He sees the networks trying to fill their own agendas instead of changing with the times and creating new strategies to attract viewers. He thinks that the networks are hindered by this, not realizing the value that Internet can bring by allowing greater access to more television consumers.
This article is important to my paper because it presents a counterargument to my thesis, forcing me to defend my ideas and prove this blog entry wrong. While, my thesis supports a slightly altered business model, this blog entry goes much farther, calling television obsolete. Graham’s concerns will help me think of any pitfalls in my argument and will allow my paper to be strong because of it. I will need to examine his four reasons why Internet is victorious, and develop my own counterpoints of why traditional television will not be going out of business any time soon.
Stelter, Brian. "Serving Up Television Without the TV Set." The New York Times 10 Mar 2008: C1.
This New York Times article examines Internet television consumers’ viewing patterns. They note that many individuals are beginning to watch television via their laptops. The article has quotes from many industry insiders such NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker and Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane. Both acknowledge the changing nature of the industry and promote change so that the television business financially stays afloat. The article also discusses how the shows individuals watch online correlates with the most popular shows in primetime. However, it is difficult to know the exact amount of times that each show has been streamed because there are no Nielsen ratings for the Internet as of now. The article discusses how this relates to advertising money for networks, and adds that viewers find advertisements while streaming to be more memorable. Most importantly, the article talks to real people about their online video consumption habits. One man, said he even gave up his cable service for online streaming, which he hooked up to his television. Many said that they liked to watch online because they could time shift without having to remember to program their DVR. This market is growing, and viewers are jumping on the online video bandwagon.
This article is important to my paper because it has accounts from real viewers about why they are starting to time and space shift by watching television on their computers. The article also provides the information that the most watched shows on television are the most streamed. This shows that people are going online for the same content on television, instead of liking to watch different or more mindless programming on the web. The article also has many good quotes from people who work in the industry, which adds even more proof that the television executives are cognizant that they need to shift their programming strategies and individuals shift their viewing tendencies.
Einav, Gali & John Carey. "Is TV Dead?." Televsion Quarterly Volume XXXVII - 2 (2007): 19-24.
In this journal article in Television Quarterly Gali Einav and John Carey argue that television is far from dead, in fact they believe this is the dawn of the “Golden Age of Media.” Einav and Carey assert that the coming of new technologies, most importantly the Internet, does not mark the demise of television, but opens a whole new door of opportunities for television networks, media providers and even consumers. At this turning point in television we have to re-evaluate what we think of as “television viewing” and what it means to “watch TV.” The burgeoning technology of the past decade has made television more accessible to the viewer, allowing them to watch their favorite shows when and where they want to. All of this new media is not replacing television, in fact, as Comscore noted, the amount of unique television streamers doubled in the past year, while traditional television viewers also increased. Einav and Carey argue that this is due to the rise in multitasking. A whole new realm of television viewing online has opened now that networks are offering full-length television shows. They also note a study done by nbc.com’s Rewind viewer player, that shows that most of television streaming online has been done at night, much like the habits of watching primetime television. These viewers are not forgoing primetime TV, but are instead, using it as a platform to catch up on their favorite shows or to watch in bed if their spouse is watching an alternate program on television. They note that professional content from networks is dominating the rise of streaming video online, benefiting those broadcasters. The television business is not dead, but the environment where people watch, and they time they watch it is shifting.
This article is important for my paper because it supports the idea that TV is still alive and well. Einav and Carey acknowledge that time and space shifting is going on, but they do not see this as a bad thing, something which I also argue. They also discuss how NBC is using new metrics to study the habits of streaming video online, which is important to my paper and the patterns of shifted television consumption. I argue that networks need to be aware of these new formats and find different ways to take advantage of these opportunities, which Einav and Carey also support, and elaborate on, giving many insightful thoughts about the television industry today.
NBC Universal and News Corporation (22 Mar 2007) NBC Universal and News Corp. Announce Deal with Internet Leaders AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! to Create A Premium Onion Video Site with Unprecedented Reach. Press Release. Retrieved on 3 Apr 2009.<http://www.hulu.com/press/new_video_venture.html>
This press release announces NBC Universal and News Corporation’s joint venture, Hulu.com. The two corporations banded together in order to create the largest high-quality Internet video distribution website. The site contains hours of programming, including full-length television shows and movies from the NBC Universal and News Corporation libraries, clips, and other content from different media companies. The press release notes that the site wanted to have a broad reach so they partnered with AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! in order to assure a large distribution field. All of the content on Hulu.com will be free, no matter where or how it is accessed. The content will have embedded commercials, but they will but much shorter than on traditional television. The executives stressed that they want to be able to give consumers high quality programming when they want, where they want it. The site will also contain a user-generated type of experience by allowing individuals to cut up videos, create playlists, discover online communities and make mash-ups. The networks developed this functions so that viewers can have an interactive experience with their favorite television shows and movies. This website is the networks acknowledgement that television on the Internet is a reality and they need to start changing with the times, while retaining copyright on their intellectual property.
This press release is important to my paper because it gives a look into what NBC Universal and News Corp. were attempting to do when they created Hulu.com. It is important because it shows a great step in the television industry, since the networks are recognizing that there is more that needs to be done and they should embrace time and space shifting instead of rejecting it. Hulu is a very important example of convergence in my paper and this press release gives a great overview of the site. This also supports my thesis because the release in no way cites the end of television, but only an extended part of its future.
Pavlik, John V. "Broadband Mobile Media: Digital Video Goes Wireless." Television Quarterly Volume XXXVII - 1(2007): 7-14.
In this journal article, John V. Pavlik describes how the television, broadband and mobile worlds are converging. People are increasingly beginning to watch video content video their mobile phones. Most of these programs are formatted for the mobile screen and are cut into shorter clips. For example, Sony has launched a product called Minisode, in which there are short form videos from some of their feature films. This does not necessarily hurt television, Pavlik argues, because the individuals watching these clips are doing so at a time when they wouldn’t ordinarily be watching TV. Most often these videos are viewed on-the-go or at work. Mobile video viewing dramatically drops during primetime, showing that traditional television is not hindered by this new technology. TV networks are catching on, with CBS, ABC, MTV and ESPN all focusing on creating mobile content. Cell phones are an important platform because the majority of Americans own them, and the amount of users that have internet access on their phones is increasing. The biggest problem facing mobile video users today is that it uses up a lot of the phone’s battery life. This is why video iPods are also becoming important forces in the mobile video market. Apple’s iPhone is also bringing new life to mobile video because its battery life allows for up to seven hours of video use. The mobile phone had now been named the “third screen” behind TV and the computer screen, as video consumption via cell phones is on the rise. As wi-fi technology is explored on phones more and more, mobile video quality is also becoming better. Slingbox, owned by Slingmedia, has a developed a technology that allows users to stream live television from their DVRs or cable boxes to their computer screens, and now even their cell phones, providing multiple platforms for accessible time and space shifting. With all of these new forms of technology, the revenues from mobile video are increasing and are making this “third screen” a real force in the transition of television and new media.
This journal article is important to my paper because it presents another platform for time and space shifting via the Internet. This article also supports my assertion that traditional television is not in danger and these alternate outlets rather help the industry. The article also gives some good examples of how the television networks are responding to these new technological changes and presents interesting ways that they are utilizing the platform, such as short form videos and new companies like Slingmedia. The article discusses time and space shifting outside of the home and when individuals are at work, which is important for my paper and has not been discussed at length in any of the other articles. This article widens my perspective on what the “Internet” means and gives a broader definition of time and space shifting television.
Levin, Gary. "Viewers' shifting habits redefine 'TV hit'; 'Gossip' speaks louder than ratings." USA Today 24 Oct 2007: Life; 1D.
This article discusses the case of several primetime television shows and how they have fared with time shifting, increasing audience members who DVR the show or watch online. This proves how the audience numbers watching television in different formats at diverse times is a reality and that the ratings need to evolve in order to take a more accurate look at the number of viewers. Levin discusses how these ratings systems are struggling to find a better way to measure an audience, especially since these numbers are for advertisers and often time shifting programming either makes ads irrelevant or skips them all together. Levin talks about other models of specific television shows and how they are pertinent to his argument. The CBS program Jericho is a great success story for online content because the 5.3 million episodes streamed online is what convinced the network to renew the fledgling show for a second season. NBC’s The Office, had a similar fate as its first season renewal was based on the ¼ DVR audience, the highest of any series. iTunes is another way that shows can get clout, as Levin argues having the number one iTunes selling television show is like a New York Times “Best Seller” label for a book. All of these new technologies are putting pressure on television to expand beyond its traditional format, but are also working in the networks’ favor because the frequent use is calling attention to ratings companies to change their strategies. The biggest question is—how can one monetize ratings for advertisers in these different formats? This is something which Levin ponders, along with what the best model for time-shifting is.
This article supports my thesis by showing that the majority of viewers still watch on traditional TV (only ¼ of The Office’s viewers time-shifted), while also recognizing that time and space shifting is something that television executives still need to be aware of. This article is also important to my thesis because it discusses the issues that the industry is facing in developing this new technology, especially in monetizing the novel content. Levin’s argument adds to my paper by discussing not only the negative effects that Internet TV has on the television industry, but also some positive ones, which brings a new element and interesting point of view to the debate.
Wildstrom, Stephen H. "Internet TV Just Got A Lot Closer." Businessweek 16 Mar 2009: 65-66.
This article discusses the coming of television on the Internet and how it is going to affect traditional TV. Wildstrom explains that television will continue to feel the impact that Internet is making on their business, but that traditional television will not be undermined. He explains the main issues with Internet TV that will keep it from becoming the dominant format, which he believes is its lack of a centralized content provider, lower quality viewing experience and inability to showcase live feeds such as the Oscars or sports games. Wilstrom introduces a new form of open source software, call Boxee, which combats some of these shortcomings. Boxee is like a cable box which acts as a television guide, aggregating all video content from the internet and displaying one’s available options. He then discusses how this allows for time shifting, because viewers can watch content whenever they want, as long as it is available online, and wherever they want, because all you need is a computer. Wildstrom writes about using Boxee and his experience with the product, but discusses how it is not advanced enough to compare with the current television system. Boxee also faced another obstacle because Hulu.com forced Boxee to take down their content from their site because of concerns from cable providers.
This article is important for my paper because it discusses the technological aspects involved in switching television viewing from the traditional television screen to the Internet. The article also introduces other ways in which this space and time shifting is occurring aside from Hulu. Hulu’s decision to block Boxee from using its content also provides insight into the inner workings of Hulu and the desires of broadcasters and cable operators when bringing television to the web. Wildstrom’s argument also supports my thesis because he believes that traditional television still has a future, citing all of the current aspects of TV that help it continue to dominant the market.