EMERGING ISSUES IN TELEVISION
Television evolution is no doubt one of the precious things in the media industry. Its evolution, growth, and revolution are major factors in its continued existence. With the advancements in media capture and transmission technologies, more attractive and engaging methods of presentation continue to crop up. One of the emerging trends in television is the evolution of storytelling that takes advantage of the omni-platform media environment. To reach this stage, the television gone through several stages of growth. In its early stages, television programming was basically radio shows that were modified for television because stakeholders had not come up with effective ways of exploiting the new media. Television storytelling developed in 1950s harnessing the potential of the new visual media. Currently, omni-platform storytelling is made up of television programs that have been formatted for small screens that display advertisements that do not add value to the main screen experience. A study done by comScore in 2012 indicated that one in every three minutes spent on digital media takes place through tablets and smartphones. This trend is expected to grow in the future.
Smart producers can take advantage of the different screens audience use to access television to broaden the audience for their stories. However, under the current customs, television is still considered as the primary screen and other screens such as smartphones and tablets are only secondary. In future, television content offered through different screens will be integrated, with the only difference being the size of the screen. The screen that emerges dominant will be dictated by the nature of the stories it conveys. Similarly, in future, viewers will have more control over the storyline. For example, viewers can assist characters in television stories to solve mysteries through interactions enabled by different social media tools. USA Network is one of the media houses that is already experimenting with this approach.
The audience has shown interest in being part of the television experience which forms an opportunity and a platform to create firsthand experience and insight from the audience. This out rightly explain the reason twits made by celebrities are very popular because they enable the artist to communicate directly with the fans. Direct communication personalizes the relationship between the celebrity and the fans. The evidence that television storytelling will evolve to take advantage of the omni-platform media environment is seen in a study done in Australia. The study found that the majority of Australians watch television on their computer or phone. Another survey done in Australia in 2013 found that 74% of people who surf the internet watched television. This represented a 25% increase compared to statistics in 2009. The likelihood of using a second screen while watching television stood at 89% among people between the ages of 25 and 34 years in the survey done in 2013.
Another trend that has emerged in screen use is the triple-screening whereby a person watches television while using a mobile device and the internet. Surveys have shown that 26 percent of Australians using the internet triple-screen. Nevertheless, television has remained the primary device that is preferred for viewing lengthy television programs. The omni-platform media environment has enabled people to view more than one screen on their television. For instance, internet enabled television increase the number of services offered through television that include interactive capability and buying products. In addition, the second online screen in smart televisions can be used to comment and discuss the programs being broadcasted.
The tendency of audience to engage two other screens while watching television could mean a variety of things. First, the audience may not be interested in the program being aired on television. For example, people who watch the evening news on television while chatting on Facebook may not be interested in the evening news. Secondly, engaging two other screens while watching television could mean that the audience is deeply engaged with the content. Consequently, a person may be interested in specific information which is part of a certain bulletin or program. For instance, while watching a program on television, an individual may comment about the program on social media. A survey done in Australia revealed that 21% of the audience that used a second screen while watching television engaged in activities related to the program being watched. This is evident in the practices by most media houses to display viewers’ comments on social media below the program being watched.
An example of viewers engaging in a television program through social media is the debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential campaigns. The debate had attracted 10 million tweets by the time it ended. Viewers can also integrate the content of the second screen with that of television. For example, some television stations encourage their audience to discuss the show on a second screen. This trend has been widely adopted by many media companies globally, pointing to its importance in television viewership growth.
The fact that audiences are accessing additional screens while watching television does not mean that people are now watching less television. On the contrary, evidence indicates that people are watching more television, accessing more videos, but the difference is that they are now using multiple screens. For instance, one survey found that 58% of television watchers globally access the internet while watching television. Other studies have found that the time people spend watching television has gone up by 5.8 hours per day in the last ten years. This is evident in the growth of internet-based television market, which is projected to reach 80 billion dollars by 2020. Moreover, analysts have projected that by 2020, television will be all about on-demand programs, personal content distribution, small television shows, and binge watching.
A study done in the U.S found that people are using a wide range of devices to view television programs both inside and outside their homes. The study also found that device-use per capita would increase globally by approximately 55% by 2020. However, the nature of content accessed still differs across devices and different devices generate revenue at different rates. For instance, television companies make 30 cents from every person that watch television. This rate is higher considering the fact that television companies make 11 cents from every person that stream content on online platforms such as Netflix.
The current television landscape is mobile oriented and content that can be accessed through different devices has a competitive advantage because viewers can engage with the content multiple times. However, experts have noted that television content may not perform well in different platforms in the same manner content does not have the same level of success across different social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest among others. This means that television companies will have to recruit a team of editors to convert television content into short clips that can be accessed through different digital devices. Accessing television content through different screens has led to the emergence of personalized content. Viewers can access personalized content through their smartphones because of the privacy accorded by these devices.
Television storytelling is evolving to take advantage of the emerging omni-platform media environment. This is evident in the tendency of viewers to watch television while interacting with multiple screens such as tablets and computers for social media, direct communication, customizing information to a particular device among others. In most cases, when viewers watch television accompanied by extra screens, they are normally engaged in activities related to the shows they are watching. For example, the audience may use smartphones to comment on the social media about the program that they are watching. In some cases, viewers engage in activities that are not related to the program they are watching on a second screen. This can be an indication that the viewer is not interested in the program on television. Media houses are also modifying television content so that different devices can access it, and the trend is expected to continue and grow in future. The fact that people are watching television accompanied by extra screens does not mean that they are watching less television. On the contrary, studies indicate that people are watching more television because of easy access.
Australian Communications and Media Authority. Six Emerging Trends in Media and Communications Occasional Paper. Occasional paper. Sydney: Australian Government, 2014.
- The Future of Television: Media & Entertainment. Accessed May 27, 2017. http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY_-_6_trends_that_will_change_the_TV_industry/$FILE/EY-6-trends-that-will-change-the-TV-industry.pdf.
Lafayette, Jon. Analyst: Video’s Future Is Omni-Channel Content. Last modified September 11, 2016. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/currency/analyst-video-s-future-omni-channel-content/159491.
MediaGuru Consultants. Television 2020: Top Predictions On Technology Trends. Accessed May 27, 2017. http://www.mediaguru.com/television-2020-top-predictions-on-technology-trends-shaping-the-television-broadcast-industry/.
 EY. The Future of Television: Media & Entertainment. n.d. <http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY_-_6_trends_that_will_change_the_TV_industry/$FILE/EY-6-trends-that-will-change-the-TV-industry.pdf. 27 May 2017>p. 10
 Ibid., 10
 Australian Communications and Media Authority. Six emerging trends in media and communications Occasional paper. Occasional paper. (Sydney: Australian Government, 2014), 25.
 Ibid., 25.
 Ibid., 26
 Ibid., 26
 MediaGuru Consultants. Television 2020: Top Predictions On Technology Trends. 2017. http://www.mediaguru.com/television-2020-top-predictions-on-technology-trends-shaping-the-television-broadcast-industry/. 27 May 2017.
 Lafayette, Jon. Analyst: Video’s Future Is Omni-Channel Content. 11 September 2016. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/currency/analyst-video-s-future-omni-channel-content/159491. 27 May 2017