BCEC Television Committee Meeting #5: Television's History and Future
BCEC Television Committee
Television’s History and Future
By Rachel Kang | firstname.lastname@example.org
Agenda – April 13, 2014
• Industry News
• History of Television
• Television’s Future
• Upcoming Events
VARIETY: Amazon Streams More Video Than
Hulu or Apple, But It’s Still Miles Behind Netflix
• As of March 2014, Amazon streams more video than Hulu or Apple
• Netflix remains the No. 1 streamer, followed by YouTube
• Netflix represented 57.5% of the video-streaming market in March 2014
• In Sep 2013, Netflix represented 31.6% of all downstream Internet traffic
in North America during primetime hours
• Amazon recently introduced Fire TV, a small box that provides access to
Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, video rentals from
Amazon, among other content
• Amazon Studios‟ first original series, “Alpha House” and “Betas,”
debuted last fall
TVWEEK: Which Network Will End the Season
at No. 1?
• NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said that he expects NBC to be
the top network in prime time in the key demo of viewers 18-49
• “In less than three years, we‟ve gone from fourth to first…. Some
believed we would never be able to come back from that sort of
• The network is bolstering its summer programming lineup, tapping
six new scripted series and three reality shows
• Other broadcasters are rolling out new
programming in the summer, a season
traditionally populated by reruns
• “We‟re all competing straight through the
summer now. To us the notion of talking about
a broadcast season doesn‟t make sense.
We‟re all moving to a 52-week season.”
The Birth of Television
Idea began to germinate as early as the 1820s
1927 – Philo Farnsworth produced the first electronic television picture
As opposed to film, with its mechanical progression of images, television
produced motion pictures through a Cathode Ray: a focused beam of energy
from the electrode inside a vacuum tube that projects images on the tube
1930 – patent for the first electronic television
1932 – NBC began experimental broadcasts in New York
1939 – NBC began regular service, starting with the World‟s Fair as the first
presidential speech on television. RCA, the company that dominated the
American radio business with its two NBC networks, unveiled their new NBC
TV studios in Rockefeller Plaza, and network television was introduced. Other
networks, such as CBS (1939) and DuMont (1940), emerged.
July 1, 1941 – FCC authorizes commercial television and
WNBT (now WNBC) in New York began broadcasting
WWII leads to a significant delay in television‟s growth.
Personnel shortages forced stations to shut down. Existing
stations are only used for defense-related programming.
End of WWII sees conditions favorable to the explosion of
- Return of veterans
- Emergence of suburbs
- Major stimulus for purchase of TV sets, dramatically
Beginning of Commercial Broadcasting
1947 – full-scale commercial broadcasting in the US takes off
NBC and CBS took the funds needed to establish their TV programs from their
No new invention entered American homes faster than black-and-white TV sets. In
1946 there were 6,000 and by 1955 half of all US homes had one.
Milton Berle was the era‟s biggest star, known as “America‟s favorite uncle.” He
brought his vaudeville sensibilities to NBC‟s Texaco Star Theater and made it an
unprecedented success. Stores closed early for the program.
1947 – in the wake of McCarthyism, the House Committee on Un-American
Activities began its investigations of the film and broadcasting industries.
1950 - Edward R. Murrow partners with news producer Fred Friendly for See It
Now, a television documentary series. In 1954, Murrow narrated a report on
McCarthy, exposing the senator‟s shoddy tactics. His indecency is further exposed
when ABC and DuMont aired nonstop coverage of the Army-McCarthy hearings in
1951 – linking of both coasts by coaxial cable meant the same programs could
be seen simultaneously nationwide
1952 – television news first covered the presidential nominating conventions of
the two major parties. Networks began producing their own news film and
began to compete with newspapers as the country‟s primary source of news.
1953 – television programming began to take steps away from radio formats.
NBC president Sylvester Weaver devised the “spectacular” and magazine-
format programs Today and The Tonight Show.
1954 - The third network, ABC, turned its first profit with youth-oriented shows
such as Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club.
1955 – game shows became popular after the debut of The $64,000 Question.
However, it was revealed that Charles Van Doren and other contestants were
given answers in advance.
1950s - the two major networks borrowed heavily from theater.
Memorable television dramas were usually broadcast live. Notable
examples include Marty (1955) and Twelve Angry Men (1954).
CBS‟s premiere of I Love Lucy made situation comedies rise to the
forefront. By 1960, only one of the live drama programs are still on the
air. Viewers come to prefer dramas and comedies that sustain a
familiar set of characters week after week. Filmed shows began to
replace live programming. The use of filmed drama increased the
scope of expression, including many popular police, courtroom,
hospital, and mystery series.
1960 – the first televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon
1967 – Congress created the Public Broadcasting System, in
response to FCC Chairman Newton Minow calling television a “vast
The Rise of Cable Television
Home Box Office became the first pay cable network to go on the air in 1970s.
Cable networks Showtime, ESPN, and Nickelodeon debuted as well.
1980 – Cable News Network (CNN) launched. By 1987, it was the only
network providing live coverage of what turned out to be the tragic NASA
Challenger space shuttle launch.
1984- MacIntosh television
commercial aired during the
Super Bowl, justifying the record-
breaking airtime costs of special
event television spots. Also
introduced feature film production
values to television advertising
More cable networks follow in „80s,
including BET, MTV, Home Shopping
Network, and the Disney Channel.
1980s saw a shift in themes as well. After years of watching shows
that tackled tough issues of the Vietnam War and inflation, shows with
escapist themes became popular. Shows such as Dynasty, Dallas,
and Hotel showed peeks inside the lives of the super-rich.
The Cosby Show catapulted the formerly third-rated NBC back on top
and became the keystone of the network‟s “Must See TV” mantra.
The other networks filled their slates with family sitcoms.
1990s - the upstart networks of FOX and the WB seriously challenged
the Big Three Networks.
The WB‟s dramas Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
seemed to speak to a new generation of viewers.
Youth-based reality documentary, MTV‟s The Real World became the first
in popularizing reality TV shows.
1991 – Americans rushed home from work to watch the start of a war
against Saddam Hussein. Shown live on CNN, the bombing runs secured
that network‟s foothold in world news coverage. Time magazine and daily
newspapers couldn‟t keep up with the minute-to-minute updates that
television coverage provided.
1996 – in response to
government pressure, the
television industry began to
display ratings of its programs, to
indicate the ague group for which
the programs might be suitable.
“V-chip” embedded in new TV
sets gave parents the power to
automatically prevent children
from watching programs with
The Future of Television
There are now numerous ways of getting TV entertainment:
• Live TV
• Pre-recorded via DVR
• DVD box set
• Stream on subscription services and view on your computer, smartphone, tablet,
2009 – “Splatter” became the first series whose production was paid for by Netflix. It
was a horror webisode that allowed viewers to vote on which characters would
2012 – several stand-up comedy specials became Netflix exclusives.
Shows such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have won critical
acclaim and several nominations at the Emmys.
Though it originally started out as a movie rental company, it is now focusing on
Services such as Netflix, Hulu, and and YouTube in the US are now
winning over kids television networks.
One reason these network alternatives
are faring so well in the youth market is
because kids see no difference between
surfing channels on TV and surfing
content on a streaming site.
Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu have become a
regular routine of families‟ routines. In the
car, at grandma‟s house, at bedtime,
streaming services fit their lifestyles.
However, they haven‟t cornered the
market in terms of brand affinity and lag
behind the Big Three Networks for kids:
Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and
Thursday, April 17– Applying to Fall 2014
Board of Director Position Meeting. 7-8:30 PM
in 223 Wheeler.
Friday, April 18 – CBS San Francisco studio
tour. Meet at the front entrance of the
Downtown Berkeley Bart at 8:45 AM.
Saturday, April 26 – Urinetown at 8 PM at 72
Cesar Chavez Center. $10 presales at
Sunday, April 27 - no committee meeting
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"TV History." Capturing TV History Through Video Interviews. Archive of
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