“This is some kind of invention we have here.”
Television is probably the greatest and most significant invention of the 20th century. It made its formal debut at the 1939 World’s Fair. Lowell Thomas started the first televised nightly news broadcast on NBC, a live simulcast of his radio program. But during the ’40s television production was hindered due to WWII. However, innovation continued and color was introduced towards the end of the decade.
“Now that I have your attention, I will take over your home!”
The ’50s ushered in the golden age of television, with the invention of channel changing remote controls, TV dinners, and TV trays. Television was considered more of an entertainment medium until the 1960s, when the Kennedy assassination changed the angle and power of television. Radio couldn’t show the shooting and newspapers couldn’t capture the moment-by-moment drama. Americans were mesmerized by the news broadcasts, and it changed society, more news was watched; than read in newspapers.
“Harry meets Barbara” NOT Harry meets Sally
The ’70s brought home the first video TV game, Pong, and the first direct to broadcast satellite television in 1972. The decade also brought many breakthroughs like Barbara Walters made TV news history when she joined Harry Reasoner at ABC to become the first woman to co-anchor, local stations formed “news teams” to broadcast the news and the spotlight shifted towards bringing people information they wanted to see; versus what they needed to know. At the same time, live microwave trucks allowed local stations to “go live” from the scene at a moment’s notice.
Thank God for CNN or I would never know what is on Twitter
Television innovation had slowed down in the ’80s. Although, budding television accessories increased such as VCRs, Nintendo, and Sega.The booming cable industry spurred the never-ending CNN 24 hour news network. News organizations changed their news format from typical content like news, weather, and sports, to focus more on lifestyle content to improve their viewers lives and wellbeing. Computers entered the newsroom space which helped finding information much quicker and easier.
Welcome to technology changes in the ’90s, thank you Internet. Computers were becoming affordable and information was readily at our fingertips. For the networks, the 1990s were the decade of newsmagazines, 20/20, NBC’s Dateline, and 60 minutes. Investigative tabloid news reporting was bombarding our culture. President Clinton’s sex scandal made top news to attract an audience, who now dramatically had more programs to watch other than newscasts; kudos to cable TV. News stations used email and Web sites to connect with their viewers. They had no clue about the computer revolution that would challenge their dominance as news providers.
We don’t care. We don’t have to. We are technology.
Zoom into the 21st century, we have LCD, plasma, TiVo, home theatres, reality television, smart TVs, Blu-ray, DVRs, HD television, all digital signal, video streaming, and digital recording. Not to mention larger, curved screens with Dolby sound systems that are constantly improving. Web site development allowed video stories to be posted easily, which presented its own dilemma. News organizations have to choose whether to put stories on the Internet immediately to beat their competitors, or hold off until after their on-air broadcasts so that their viewership didn’t suffer. Ever since the televisions introduction, people have been hooked on TV, boob tube, baby-sitter, idiot box, tube and TV set. According to Nielsen more than half of the homes in the United States have three or more televisions.
Nielsen’s 2014 Advance National TV Household Universe Estimate (UE), there are 115.6 million TV homes in the U.S., up 1.2% from the 2012-2013 estimate of 114.2 million. Nielsen estimates that 294 million persons age 2 and older live in these TV homes, an increase of 1.6% from last year.
What has happened to television since the dawn of the 24-hour news cycle? Watching the nightly news is quickly becoming a habit of past generations because today’s news consumers have a wider selection of choices where to get information from. TV newsrooms are changing their priorities to become information providers across a variety of platforms. Web sites are only part of the delivery system.
Do we hold social media in our hands or does social media have a hold on us?
Facebook, Twitter and other social media are important avenues to secure potential viewers. Mobile devices, from cellphones to tablets, are strategies used to reach people on the go. It’s elementary that traditional TV news won’t last much longer. But the strong stations and networks can improve their odds of being around through the decades by focusing on what has gotten them to this point — solid, accurate reporting that isn’t influenced by outside sources, creative visual presentations and credible newscasters who form long-lasting relationships with their audience.
How has technology (satellite providers, cable, and streaming Internet television) changed our relationship to television, and what will the next decade look like for American culture as represented in this medium? Developing technology and society trends have threatened to derail the industry. Cable and Satellite are usually sold in a package deal featuring a multitude of channels and programs. However, more content does not always equate to what a consumer wants, rendering most of the channels subscribed to as worthless. Also Satellite television does not allow you to watch a different program on another television unless they have a separate box which is a hassle. The convergence of television and the Internet has compelled TV providers to constantly innovate due to consumers preferences for online and digital platforms. American culture has grown accustomed to technology integrated into their everyday lives therefore, seeking constant engagement and maximizing their time and attention span.
Television? Internet? All at our fingertips.
Mobile devices and social sites have impacted the way individuals interact with media and the world. With a need for convenience, and the opportunity to freely access content without any time restrictions and at a relatively low-cost; online streaming is rapidly gaining popularity as a means of watching TV. In the future, I believe that the television industry is headed towards a paradigm shift, from cable, satellite connections, to Internet platforms. The advancement of creating content and sharing via the Internet, and carry it across multiple devices has simplified it for new players to enter the marketplace of innovation.