TVtech V8

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A presentation originally for USC's MFA CTCS 587 (Study in Television with Aniko Imre) updated as necessary.

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  • Fin-syn -
  • WSJ “subscribers Fuel Netflix Stock” Oct 25th,,2013,pg B1 & B2Google sites include Youtube. Latest Sandvine November report
  • From The Week, March 15th, 2013,pg 29 “TV on the Go”
  • CBS sold Under the dome to Amazon (2 days later) against other industry (Les Moones) wishes.
  • Wall Street Journal, Aug 16th “The TV Recappers: From 'Breaking Bad' to Honey Boo Boo” John JurgensenWhen episodes of popular television shows end, the deadline pressure begins for a legion of writers whose episodic recaps of shows have become a cornerstone of the industry. WSJ's John Jurgensen and Television Without Pity's Daniel Manu join Lunch Break. Photo: AMC.The biggest challenges facing most "Breaking Bad" fans during the crime drama's final weeks are coping with cliffhangers and nervously speculating about the show's conclusion. The stakes are higher for viewers like Donna Bowman. Every Sunday night, within a few hours of the final credits, Ms. Bowman completes a written analysis of the episode, decoding the narrative of one of the most tightly written dramas in TV history. She must anticipate questions in the minds of thousands of readers waiting to read her review online Monday morning and, if she's on her game, get some laughs in the process.A 47-year-old theology professor at the University of Central Arkansas, Ms. Bowman has been dissecting "Breaking Bad" since its debut five years ago on AMC. Her own audience has ballooned with the show's prestige. During season 1, her weekly reviews garnered a couple of hundred comments each from readers. Her breakdown of last week's premiere episode (which set a viewership record for the series) received about 3,000 comments the first day. Her posts routinely get more views than anything else on the website paying her to write them, the A.V. Club, a sister publication of the Onion which attracts more than 1 million unique visitors a month."I'm very proud to have been there since episode 1," Ms. Bowman says. "That's a long time in Internet or television years."If a TV series has mustered enough of a following to stay on the air, it has likely attracted scribes that churn out the episodic plot summaries known as recaps. In a reflection of how we devour and digest television now, the number of TV recaps has exploded in recent years. Unlikely outlets from political magazines to local news affiliates are publishing CliffsNotes-style summaries of "Under the Dome" and "Big Brother," piggybacking on the shows' popularity and thrusting themselves into competition with established entertainment sites and individual bloggers. (The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog posts recaps of about 10 shows per week, from "Mad Men" to the reality TV spectacle "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.")Enlarge ImageCloseScott BrundageEvery night, legions of bloggers churn out descriptions and critiques of shows, episode by episode, from 'Breaking Bad' to Honey Boo Boo.Recaps have emerged as a cornerstone of TV culture in a phase of major transition. For networks, they are indicators of buzz at a time when traditional Nielsen ratings don't tell the whole story. Though the weekly scrutiny annoys some producers, others monitor recaps to help guide storytelling decisions. When creators of the CBS drama "The Good Wife" were preparing to reveal a major secret about a character in season 2, "we kept track of the recaps to make sure the deceptive plot points were truly misleading," said executive producer Robert King in an email. Conversely, recaps of last season's big finale suggested that viewers hadn't fully grasped the main character's romantic motives. "Clearly, our plot movement here wasn't explicit enough. And we intend to address it," Mr. King said.Yet the rise of recaps has most to do with the transformation of the TV audience at large. Not only are viewers more inclined to sound off online about the minutiae of their favorite shows, many are also looking for insights about a growing number of serial dramas with complex and sophisticated storytelling. The best recaps serve a dual purpose: guiding fans of a show through subtleties (or entire episodes) they might have missed, and serving as fixed hubs of discussion for readers whose viewing patterns are staggered by time-shifting.Nine minutes after "Breaking Bad" ended last Sunday, Washington, D.C., college student Brett Rudman wrote on Twitter, "I need @andygreenwald to tell me what I just watched," joining other fans of the show in alerting Mr. Greenwald, a critic for ESPN's Grantland site, that they were awaiting his conclusions.There's also a more basic driver of recap activity: They drum up steady web traffic for the content-hungry sites that host them. That has helped transform the role of professional TV critics, who in the past would weigh in on a series (in a newspaper or magazine column, of course) at its premiere or at pivotal moments in its run. Now that no longer seems sufficient to keep pace with viewers.HBOKit Harington in 'Game of Thrones'It's impossible to tally the number of sites that regularly publish recaps, but the demand has spawned a growing labor force: 21st-century piece workers who pound out posts during the graveyard shift between prime-time TV and the early-morning deadlines of the websites they work for.Jacob Clifton doses up on various supplements—MiO caffeine mix, 5-Hour Energy drink, Prolab caffeine tablets, stovetop espresso—to cover up to five shows a week, sometimes three in one night. A freelance writer in Austin, Texas, he makes his living writing recaps for the site Television Without Pity, where some of his treatises run to 20 online pages and include made-up character dialogue that delivers his running commentary. It takes him up to four hours to recap a one-hour drama as he pauses each scene on his DVR, writes it up on his laptop, then moves on to the next scene. In a recent explication of the teen show "Pretty Little Liars" (season 4, episode 8) he made references to Homer (the poet, not the Simpson) and the Dust Bowl."If I can be the one to take a show so seriously that's it's ludicrous," he says. "Then my readers will feel less weird about taking the show as seriously as they do."Some shows are more conducive than others to the recap treatment. Though "NCIS" is the most-watched program on television, its procedural crime-of-the-week formula doesn't leave many viewers clamoring for a post-show deconstruction. After author Rachel Shukert chronicled the two-season flameout of "Smash," an NBC show about a Broadway show, writing delirious streams of consciousness about "Smash"'s unintended absurdities, Amazon.com approached her to write a memoir about the experience. In the e-book's introduction, she wrote, "'Smash' destroyed my sleep patterns, my workweek, and, I feared for a brief time, my sanity."Enlarge ImageCloseAMCNorman Reedus, Robert 'IronE' Singleton, Andrew Lincoln and Steven Yeun in 'The Walking Dead'People have been writing online recaps since the 1990s. Like any industry hitting maturity, however, this one is reckoning with big changes. Writers accustomed to the weekly rhythms of episodic TV have struggled with how to cover shows from Netflix, which dumps whole seasons onto its streaming service at once. Websites are recruiting professional comedians to riff on "Real Housewives" and veteran advertising executives to parse "Mad Men," leaving less demand for the entry-level writers who sell recaps for $20 each—or less—to get their foot in the door.One occupational hazard: When a slow-starting show suddenly becomes a hit, as ABC's "Scandal" did this year in its second season, some sites were caught flat-footed. They'd ignored the show through in season 1."I wish I could get a do-over on that," says Daniel Manu, site director of Television Without Pity, the first website to build a broad audience by publishing recaps; launched in 1999 under a different name, it was purchased by NBCUniversal in 2007 and covers about 40 shows during the peak fall TV season.NetflixTaylor Schilling in 'Orange is the New Black'Gilbert Cruz, deputy editor of New York magazine's Vulture, says, "Every site has to play the traffic game. If you were to remove the recaps from the site, we would take a huge hit." Post-mortems on last night's programming also give editors a head start on the 20-plus TV items Vulture publishes on a typical day. "Recaps are the reliable foundation. You know you're going to have that every morning. The challenge is to distinguish yourself with the writing."Like TV networks canceling shows that sag in the ratings, recap sites routinely scrub shows from their lineups if they don't generate enough traffic or discussion. Hitfix.com recently cut recaps of the NBC singing competition "The Voice," one of the most popular shows on television. "The people on our site didn't have any particular interest. It petered out after a season-and-a-half," says HitFix Executive Editor Daniel Fienberg.On the other hand, sites cover some series out of obligation to readers or the shows' perceived relevance. Todd VanDerWerff, TV editor and chief TV critic at the A.V. Club, says the animated comedy "South Park" can be punishing to review on a weekly basis, because the satire is overt and the characters never change. But the site has a mandate to document important TV shows in this way, not unlike a news outlet handling an obscure a political race. "It's like covering the Iowa caucus campaigns. 'South Park' is that for us," says Mr. VanDerWerff, who rotates writers on the show (now in its 16th season) to avoid burnout. Still, those reviews often rack up hundreds of comments, usually from readers debating whether the show has maintained or squandered its greatness.In addition to current series, A.V. Club scribes are currently working their way through some that ended years ago, including "Friends," "Gilmore Girls" and "Freaks and Geeks." It's a library on defunct shows that viewers continue to discover on video. Mr. Manu of Television Without Pity says archived recaps of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The West Wing," and "Friday Night Lights" routinely get tens of thousands of hits per month. "People are still trying to figure out what the heck was going on in 'Lost,'" he adds.Like any trade, recapping has its version of combat duty. Though many networks make episodes of their shows available to reviewers in advance of the air date (usually on DVD or password-protected websites), sometimes they choose not to, especially in the case of finales and other carefully guarded episodes. Ms. Bowman enjoyed early access to most "Breaking Bad" episodes in previous seasons, giving her days for observations to "marinate." But she was stressed for most of this summer about having to critique the final episodes sight unseen. That contributed to her decision to focus more on her academic career, less on analyzing fictional TV characters into the pre-dawn hours: "I'm too old for that," says the married mother of two. "I'm getting out of the recapping game."View GraphicsHBO (3); Fox; FX; ABC Family; Lifetime; AMCClick to view graphicShowrunners have been known to praise and interact with certain recappers. Alex Gansa, an executive producer of the Emmy-winning thriller "Homeland," says he admires the writing of Mr. VanDerWerff and others. Overall, however, he says recaps are problematic, like reviewing a novel chapter by chapter. "This insane scrutiny and dissection of each episode as if it has a beginning, middle, and an end is kind of maddening to those of us doing the show. I can't read those things anymore," Mr. Gansa says.
  • Arrest Developments changed script to rapid plot points (pay forward , call backs) that would not work if show was watched week to week.
  • These trends can be summarized as follows: Broadcasting > NarrowcastingSingular Technology > Multi-platformContent > Rich set of diverse experiences/practicesSponsorship/Spots > Multiple although splintered revenue streamsPiracy is the resulting weakening of intellectual property due to file-sharing Variety, Dec 2013 “TV Biz Needs These Gifts That Will Keep on Giving”. Pg 26, Cynthia Littleton No. 1. A Better Nielsen Yardstick “The thing that keeps CEOs up at night is the feeling money is left on the table because ratings measurement systems haven’t kept up with the many ways people now watch TV programs.” Nielsen has been working towards delivering omnibus ratings for live, DVR, VOD, and streaming viewing for years, but there are still many obstacles to getting numbers networks and advertisers can agree on as currency. The best research minds in the industry formed a coalition a few years ago to study the problem (and prod Nielsen to move faster) Let’s hope 2014 is the year the biz cracks the code. “
  • TVtech V8

    1. 1. The Digital Era of TV and its Effect on Content USC CTCS 587 “TV Theory” with Aniko Imre. John Nordlinger John Nordlinger Ruthie Williams Skinner Myers Skinner Williams Ruthie Myers Jackson Flanagan Jackson Flanagan
    2. 2. Production Component Network Era (1950s to 1980s) Multi-Channel Transition (1980s – 2009) Post Network Era (after 2009) Technology Television VCR, remote Analog Cable DVR, VOD, Digital Cable, Portable devices Creation Deficit financing Fin-syn rules, surge of independents, end of fin-syn conglomeration and co-production Multiple financing norms, variation in cost structure and aftermarket value, opportunities for amateur production Distribution Bottleneck, definite windows, exclusivity Cable increases possible outlets Erosion of time between windows and exclusivity of content anytime, anywhere. Advertising .30 ads, upfront market Subscription, experimentation with alternatives to .30 sec ads Co-existence of multiple models -- .30sec,placement, integration, branded entertainment Sponsorship, multiple use supported transactional & subscription Audience Measurement Audiometers, diaries, Sampling (Nielsen) Portable People Meters, census measure People meters, Sampling (Nielsen) Amanda Lolz, “The Television Will Be Revolutionized”, pg 8, 2007
    3. 3. Production Component Network Era (1950s to 1980s) Multi-Channel and Digital Era Digital Transition (2010-2014) (1980s – 2009) Financing Deficit financing Fin-syn rules, surge of Independents, Conglomeration and co-production Multiple financing norms, variation in cost structure and aftermarket value, opportunities for amateur production Development Creation limited to within stovepipe system of select studios. Studios open up, Independent efforts gain note. Cable raises quality. Opportunities for amateur production Tech companies enter the fray. Internet affects production and story. Distribution Bottleneck, definite windows, exclusivity Cable increases possible outlets Consoles pervade living rooms Erosion of time /space between windows and exclusivity of content anytime, anywhere. Cable wanes while broadband waxes. Advertising .30 ads, upfront market Subscription, Experimentation with alternatives to .30 sec ads Co-existence of multiple models -- .30sec,placement, integration, branded entertainment sponsorship, multiple use supported transactional & subscription Audience Measurement Audiometers, diaries, Sampling (Nielsen) Portable People Meters, census measure , Social networking, Data mining People meters, Sampling (Nielsen)
    4. 4. Video On Demand Estimated Subscribers Unique Viewers Google sites Inc Youtube 16,166.83 Million Vimeo Peak downstream traffic on net 135 Million 18.6% Hulu+ 5 Million 22 Million GBTV 300,000 24 Million HBO 28.7 Million Showtime 23 Million Netflix 44 Million Amazon Sites 20 Million 1.3% 31.62% 143.21 Million 1.6%
    5. 5. Devices enabling Video on Demand users Cost Features DVR Google Chromecast $35 Control from laptop Netlfix, HBO, Hulu, Youtube. Google Play No Tivo Romio $150$600 4-6 tuners 75 HD to 450 HD / 500 to 3000 SD hrs Wireless Amazon, Netflix, Hulu Yes Roku3 $90 Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, many more No XBOX One $500 Netflix, HBO, etc. SmartGlass, skype chatting Voice, Motion control Needs Hard drive Playstation 4 $400 Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, Youtube, etc. No Apple TV $99 Netflix, HBO, Itunes, Vimeo, Hulu, ESP, many more. Yes
    6. 6. Devices enabling TV Anywhere Cost Features Slingbox 500 $300 1080P, wifi, - smartphone or tablet requires $15 app. Belkin @ TV plus $150 Low quality picture, ok on devices. TV Stream $130 DVR to Iphone, IPAD Boxee TV $99 set top device and antenna + $10 monthly service Includes DVR and streaming to devices.
    7. 7. TWC vs. CBS (& Amazon) The Digital Era commodization, upsets entertainment businesses with unexpected winners and losers.
    8. 8. How does Digital TV, by expanding it reach, affect how it’s made and measured? emmy nominations Wired, Vol 21.04 April, 2013 “How Data Powers the Platinum Age of Television
    9. 9. Content for Global and Niche Audiences
    10. 10. Interactive Engagement & Supplemental Media • • • • Fan/Critical Forums Web Extras Binge Watching and Speed Plotting Social Media
    11. 11. Binge Watching
    12. 12. Global Distribution
    13. 13. Global Production
    14. 14. TV is watched and created globally: VFX
    15. 15. New Limits and Freedoms • Piracy • Avoiding spoilers for global fandoms • Changing metrics in translational viewership
    16. 16. Writing is influenced by Technology
    17. 17. Brief History of Writing and Technology • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTPaGfrI2wc
    18. 18. Why Technology Matters to Writing From the scenic perspective, writing is not only the words on the page, but it also concerns mechanisms for production (for example, the writing process, understood cognitively, socially, and technologically); mechanisms for distribution or delivery (for example, media); invention, exploration, research, methodology, and inquiry procedures; and questions of audience, persuasiveness, and impact. From the scenic/contextual perspective, writing technologies play a huge role—especially in terms of production (process) and distribution (delivery).” Jim Porter- Author
    19. 19. Social Media influences Writing
    20. 20. Technology Makes Writing More Transparent • Curtin says, “media policies can establish barriers, but just as importantly they can act as enablers, helping to nurture and sustain spaces for local voices in a global era.” • Olson defines transparency “is the capability of certain texts to seem familiar regardless of their origin, to seem a part of one’s own culture, even though they have been crafted elsewhere.”
    21. 21. Writing Influences Transnationally • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI_92dbf7pQ
    22. 22. Digital TV and Quality
    23. 23. Nelson: “Quality TV Drama” • • • • • • Historically, we valued quality (1950’s-1960’s) Digital technology is approximating film Technology has validated the TV Network era Broader economic and cultural impact Subscription and premium channels Aesthetic and production values appropriate dramatic code
    24. 24. Brundson: “Problem With Quality” • Quality is “just a word” • Technology vs. Film as an art form • Judgment on advancing technology is subjective • What can be achieved with technology constraints? • Can quality be interlinked with money and technology?
    25. 25. Henry Jenkins: “Cultural Logic” • • • • • • • What is the future of media? Commercial Media Collective Imagining Production vs. Consumption Flow of media across different platforms Revising audience measurement Redesigning the economy
    26. 26. “Since Mad Men debuted on AMC in 2007, the cable channel’s subscriptions, licensing fees, and ad revenue have all grown dramatically. In other words, quality original programs mean big money”. Wired, Vol 21.04
    27. 27. Conclusion The entertainment industry is entering the Digital Era and encountering risks and rewards: Risks: piracy, disaffecting viewers, inferior content and shifting revenue streams, media monopolies (Netflix, media consolidation) and lost historical media content. Rewards: reaching niche and global audiences, better stories, improved quality, shifting revenue streams and an empowered consumer. With laissez-faire regulation, and unbridled technical change; it is up to the cultured consumer to hold media to a higher standard and to discourage piracy, monopolies and up to the industry to provide a better way (data mining) to measure viewing habits.
    28. 28. Bibliography • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Academic Articles: Aluetta, Ken, Three Blind Mice :How the TV Networks Lost Their Way Lolz, Amanda D. and Gray, “Television Studies” Lolz, Amanda D., The Television Will Be Revolutionized., 2007. Sepinwall, Alan, The Revolution was Televised, 2012 Hayles, N. Katherine. (1999). How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Jenkins, Henry Journal of Cultural Studies 7.1: 33-43. ““The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence”, 2004 Mittel, Jason “Narrative Complexity in Contemporary American Television” Sullivan, Patricia A., & Porter, James E. (1990). How do writers view usability information? A case study of a developing documentation writer. Asterisk ( now Journal of Computer Documentation), 14, 29–35. Warschauer, M. (2007). Technology and writing. In C. Davison & J. Cummins (Eds.), The International Handbook of English Language Teaching (pp. 907-912). Norwell, MA: Springer. Nelson, Robin “Quality TV Drama.” In McCabe and Akass, Quality TV. Brunsdon, Charlotte (1990) “Problems with Quality” Screen 31.1 Industrial Articles: Geller, Jonathan, Variety, “How Apple Will Kill Gaming Consoles.” pg 31, May 2013 “ Hulu’s Fork in The Road“, Wall Street Journal. December 12, 2012 Pp B1-B2 Wired, “From Netflix to Twitter, Biometrics to Banana Stands. How Data powers the Platinum Age of Television”, 92-103. April 2013, Vol 21.04 L:A Times, Aug 6th pp “A blackout and a black eye in cable TV feud”, B1,B3, “Viewers see class of the TV titans.”, D1,D5 Wall Street Journal, “Subscribers fuel Netflix Stock, Oct 2th, 2013. B1,B2. The Web and magazines: http://insidedigitalmedia.com , assorted articles http://entertainment.slashdot.org http://flowtv.org TV Technology website and magazine.– www.tvtechnology.com http://insidedigitalmedia.com , assorted articles http://entertainment.slashdot.org http://flowtv.org

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