more on tv

marc and sarah's comments have me thinking...

powerful in what sense? i.e., in being able to reach oodles and millions of people with a single soundbyte? will anything reach the ubiquitousness of tvs? even ipods are trying to make tvs and the tv experience more accessible; tivo encourages our habits of making sure we don't miss a single episode of "america's next top model;" dvds of television shows are as popular (maybe more?) than movie rentals (especially for poor schulbs like myself who use the laptop as a movie/tv theater); etc... yet, the question about what the second most powerful medium is makes me wonder: is tv a singular medium? that is, can we watch tv now as a singular activity? re: the ipods example - it's tv in conjunction with a host of other functions.

getting back to exploring the dimension of "powerful" - in what ways is television powerful? while listening to someone wax poetic about the influences of media on "today's youth," i got to thinking about yesterday's youth? are we, or were we ever, without "influence" of some kind? why is influence necessarily a bad thing? i'm intrigued by the question of for whom tv is powerful... in viewing it? in producing it? in critiquing it? that's what i want to know from the Current TV folks - what makes TV the most powerful medium in the world? is it, as eric clapton sang, in the way that you use it? (sorry clapton fans!)


Gus Andrews said...

I'm surprised that anyone would try to claim TV was the most powerful medium today. The numbers just don't support it. The industry has been openly worried for years now about the fact that they can't deliver the kind of mass markets they used to be able to when there were just a small handful of networks. There was a giant panic two-three years ago when they realized there was a sharp drop in viewing specifically among 18-to-35-year-old males, who are starting to play more video games and spend more time on the Net. The market is fragmented by the incredible number of cable offerings; an increasing amount of TV revenue is pay-per-view, be it TV On Demand, TiVo, or people buying DVDs of series they really liked. Honestly, that claim sounds like puffery from TV promoters worried about losing their hold.

I don't think any one medium can really be said to have broad influence these days. Certainly not the way TV did in the age of Walter Cronkite. Everyone's doing their own thing. I know a few people who still continue to talk about their favorite TV show as if everyone had probably seen it, but they're decreasing in number and it always weirds me out when they do it.

lalitha said...

i wonder if there's something to the notion that tv as we know it is changing - and so, in fact, those dvds are an extension of "tv." as it (one might say) ipod tv, etc...

Gus Andrews said...

Yeah... you know, it begins to feel as if all those "visionaries" who said that all our media would converge into one amorphous medium are beginning to be more and more correct. though only asymptotically approaching correctness -- clearly all our media will not be delivered through one box, they'll be delivered through a flexible agglomeration of them. portables and set-tops and laptops and suchandsuch.

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