The transformation of youth and children’s content production by public broadcasters in the multi-platform era
Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) serves as a public institution that educates (Graham & Davies, 1997; Tharoor, 2006), informs (Tharoor, 2006) and entertains the public, shapes public consciousness, and acts as a public forum (Garnham, 1986, 1992; Habermas, 1989) through which the public can voice their opinions. PSB can be of great value for youth and children’s learning and engagement.
Recent online and mobile technological advancements continue to shake up the traditional broadcasting system. The traditional media industries are submerged in a game-changing, rule-shifting and risk-taking environment. The rapid growth of the Internet has provoked unparalleled shock waves through the entire broadcasting system. The Internet has widely expanded, evolving into a global community in which people interact, share and connect.
Although digital transition has been prominent since the late nineties, the broadcasting system all over the world was ill-prepared for the magnitude of the transformations brought to light by the Internet. Some notable changes to the dynamics of the Internet include, video streaming, speed of file transfers, peer-to-peer exchanges, social networking, e-commerce and free long-distance calling. These activities have stunned the traditional broadcasting and telecommunications worlds. The exponential growth of unregulated media within the current system has forever changed the broadcasting environment. The purpose of this research is thus to examine how rapid multi-platform pervasion has changed traditional television production for youth and children’s content in public service broadcasting (PSB). Children’s programming has long been considered one of the pillars of PSB (Rutherford & Brown, 2013). In other words, one of the most important missions of PSB has been to create programmes designed for communicating and engaging with young audiences as future citizens. Therefore the institutional territory chartered to PBS has been under an obligation to inform, educate and entertain various audiences and encourage them in public participation.
In this study the primary research question that the author intends to address is “how has the emergence of multi-platform viewing transformed conventional TV directors and producers in PSB to multi-platform content makers in order to engage children and young people?” keeping in mind the above question the author will focus specific aspects of the research topic and each chapter will attempt to answer specific questions so the main theme of the study is explored in depth. For this purpose, the main question in this chapter is “What forms of integration between linear broadcasting and social media or UGC platforms exist, and to what extent are they successfully enhancing the audience’s experience? In this chapter, the ways PSB has been utilising the interactivity of social media to engage young audiences will be demonstrated. Drawing on a history of PSB’s social media strategy, BBC Children’s utilisation of YouTube will be examined in order to highlight the BBC’s successes and failures in young audience engagement. On the other hand, NHK’s efforts to integrate Japan’s most popular SNS (Social Networking Service) platform, “LINE”, which has 54 million Japanese users, into their teenager programmes will be demonstrated.
The purpose of this research is to examine the role of public broadcasters in the transformation of youth and children’s content in the multi-platform era. In an effort to accomplish its declared purpose, the proposed dissertation will combine a number of secondary literatures gathered from multiple resources (academic, institutional, governmental and journalistic). While the dissertation will mainly emphasize the use of qualitative academic sources, necessary quantitative sources will also be utilised to capture applicable evidence that complements the paper’s objectives (e.g. national statistical data, etc.). Furthermore, primary research such as interviews, electric messages and personal communications with professionals who work in the youth and children’s content field will be conducted to deepen this study. In addition to this, the researcher’s personal experience as a director and producer in NHK will be utilised to discuss the arguments from the perspective of NHK.
All secondary materials can be collected through the University of Salford’s access to libraries, online journals, web-based grey literature, statistical information available online from Ofcom, and so on. In terms of primary research, the researcher’s personal connections with media professionals will be employed. Interviews with Claire Hoang (YouTube Channel Manager, BBC Children’s), and Lisa Percy (Executive Producer, BBC Learning) have been already confirmed. Over the course of a three-month period, June 2015 – August 2015, the following schedule of work is proposed:
The author collected the primary data through semi-structured interviews with Claire Hoang (YouTube Channel Manager, BBC Children’s), and Lisa Percy (Executive Producer, BBC Learning) and asked multiple questions related to the study area (Appendix 1). The interviews were recorded and transcribed for later semantic analysis. The participants gave their willing consent but asked for not to use their real names or disclose their personal identity for privacy purpose. So the author will use fake names for to maintain the ethical obligation.
Keisuke Hosokawa, the author and researcher of this study has been working for NHK as a director and producer for more than 13 years. In this capacity, the author is interested in exploring how new broadcasting platforms can help in children’s learning.
It is impossible to speak about the three public corporations that are the focus of this thesis without noting the vast changes that the field of communications and broadcasting have undergone in recent years. Aided by the neo-liberal assault on the social service state, where deregulation, privatization, and government cutbacks have become the norm, the broadcasting universe has been transformed. With bigger markets now possible, national and regional barriers are breaking down, while the assimilation of technologies, corporations, and national cultures is happening on a global scale. Not only can digital technology now provide “a common language (the conversion of signals into codes) that can be translated and used in all mediums” (Taras 2001:62-63), it also allows for greater speed, better quality, and the ability to put ten channels in the space that, under analogue, used to accommodate only one. The merging of television, the telephone, the satellite, cable and the computer, goes hand-inhand with corporate convergence.
The concept of Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) is now more than 80 years old (Coppens & Saeys, 2006, p. 261), and it has been an issue for debate among media, scholars and social activists for the last few decades. The major concern is the uncertain future of PSB. Scholars have expressed their concerns in research papers, reports, conference papers, books, and other publications. Most previous studies on PSB systems have focused on Western European PSB systems; in particular, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has often been seen as a model for PSB systems around the globe.
According to Brown (1996b), PSB systems have two distinct models in terms of management, production, and program transmission. A decentralized model is followed in the United States and a highly centralized model is used in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. In the United States, local stations are the main public broadcasting entities while in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, networks are the main public broadcasters. United States’ stations have strong links to their communities, and programs produced by local stations are diverse in nature.
Kops (2001) emphasized that existing PSB systems around the world have considerably different missions, financial resources, and legal competencies. In order to study PSB systems, it is important to look beyond the BBC and PSB in Western Europe, and focus on the particular media environment within which PSB systems operate or are going to operate. In addition, since the emergence of the BBC in the early 1920s (Scanell, 2000), both the BBC and PSB systems throughout the world have evolved significantly; they have been influenced by the development of technology (McClauley, 2003; McDaniel, 2002; Price, 1999; Schejter, 2003), political circumstances (Banerjee & Senevirate, 2006; Brown, Hallin & Mancini, 2004; McChesney, 2008, economic conditions (Jakubowicz, 2004; Kops, 2001, Lanara, 2002; and civil society (Raboy, 1994).
While hardly equal in their present-day resources or global impact, the three public broadcasters discussed in this chapter were actively created under similar circumstances – or, at any rate, with similar anti-market justifications. This chapter deals with the origins of the BBC, the CBC, and PBS, and their contrasting arcs of development. It also examines the specific critiques of public broadcasting that have loomed so large in recent years, all this with an eye to assessing the impact of multi-platforms of user generated contents that bear on their individual survival.
Wireless broadcasting got off to a quicker start in the United States than it did in Britain. The technology was first demonstrated successfully by Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi, who quickly formed the Marconi Telegraph Company. The U.S. Navy adopted Marconi’s innovation at the start of the 20th century, and soon after, fears arose about the possibility of interference and intrusion on private communications (Bums 1977:2). Marconi owned most of the patent rights in both the United States and Britain, and was loathe to give up control, irritating the British Navy, which was forced to commandeer his products during the war (Ibid.).
National security, then, was one issue, as Andrew Crisell (1997) notes, which lead the British government to keep early telegraphy and telephony under its control (12). Other issues played their part, too, in making a public broadcasting system possible. In 1920s Britain, there was an attempt by the Marconi company to gain monopoly control of the radio broadcasting spectrum. There was also great public demand from wireless enthusiasts to improve the broadcasting system. As is the case with the creation of the Canadian Public Broadcasting System, there was also a deep and abiding fear of the American way of doing things. The anarchy that governed American wavelengths and frequencies seemed especially objectionable. The American branch of Marconi’s company was taken over by General Electric, which in turn formed the Radio Corporation of America in 1919. Even the creation of RCA, however, couldn’t prevent transmitting stations from disregarding monopoly rights: “in May 1922 alone, 99 new stations were started. By the end of July 1923 there were 460 stations broadcasting – all on the same wavelength (360 metres)” (Bums 1977:4).
The British were suspicious of the American system, which, as Tom Bums (1977) suggests, appeared to consist of “the incorporation of the entire broadcasting industry into the marketing, sales and advertising sector of American business” (6).
The anarchy of the American airwaves and the control of those same airwaves by commercial interests combined with negative sentiments in Britain about both popular American films, and the American press. The turn towards populism in content, and the increase in commercial presence in both of these platforms left a bad taste in the mouths of many traditional Brits, who considered the mediums to be tending towards falseness and vulgarity (Bums 1977:38).
In response to this climate of elitist concern, in 1922 the British government invited the six leading British wireless makers to form a broadcasting syndicate. The monopoly was funded by three sources: the original stock, royalties on the sale of wireless sets, and a share of the revenue from broadcast receiving licences that the Post Office collected from the public (Crisell 1997:13). John Reith, the son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister and an engineer by trade, was named general manager of this newly created syndicate, referred to as the British Broadcasting Company. John Reith’s part in creating the public service role that came to be associated with the BBC is significant. Reith viewed broadcasting as a “precious natural resource – too precious to be used merely to deliver audiences to wireless manufacturers (or to any other commercial interest) by the easiest, hence most frivolous, forms of content” (Crisell 1997:14). From the very beginning, Reith felt that the licence fee was necessary in order to ensure the British Broadcasting Company did not need to focus on making profits, a perception that has been born out over time and is especially apparent when we compare the relative political independence enjoyed by the BBC to that of its Canadian and American counterparts.
Public broadcasting’s potential for disseminating ideas about education, religion, and controversial social and political topics also interested Reith. As Andrew Boyle (1972) notes in his biography of the founder, Reith “loathed and despised organs of opinion which sought to manipulate facts and mould false values” (173), as judged, of course, by the values of his own class and national community. Boyle further suggests that “the rock on which the BBC stood was the rock of Christianity and the moral code that flowed from it”. He quotes A.J.P. Taylor, who argues that Reith “used what he called ‘the brute force of monopoly’ to stamp Christian morality on the British people” (175). Indeed, Reith’s Calvinistic upbringing played a major role in his vision of the British public broadcasting system, and “by late 1925 he was so embroiled in the fascinating task for which destiny had earmarked him that the BBC and its consolidation had become for him a substitute-religion, a surrogate faith in its own right” (Boyle 1972:176).
British television closely following the path laid out by radio. The Selsdon Committee, which was appointed in 1934, pointed to the need for a national television system run by the BBC that should not contain any advertising, and should be funded by the existing licence fee (Crisell 1997:72-73).The BBC’s television service began in 1936, but due to the war, ended in 1939, only to resurface in 1946.
It is interesting to note that John Reith, and post-war Director-General of the BBC, William Haley, were both suspicious of the new medium of television. This suspicion, combined with a less than stellar post war television service, the rise of conservatism and a focus on individual choice, and Winston Churchill’s dislike of the BBC in part due to its coverage of the 1926 General Strike (Crisell 1997:76-77), meant that the public broadcaster’s monopoly came to an end in 1955. As Grant and Wood (2004) note though, while the BBC’s monopoly relaxed after the war, there continued to be public-service obligations attached to the early private channels (174), revealing the extent to which Reithian values remained central to the system.
Canada and Britain first considered broadcasting policy in-depth because of fears of foreign influence. The same cannot be said in reference to the United States. As Thompson and Randall (1994) note, Canada’s “timid cultural nationalism” did not worry the U.S. much: “Canadian attempts to promote domestic mass culture (and domestic high culture, for that matter) were usually ignored because these attempts did not seriously threaten the profits of the U.S. exporters” (125). For example, “the documentary niche chosen by the National Film Board represented no danger to Hollywood’s domination of feature film production, nor did American broadcasters fear the demonstration effects of Canadian public radio. Corporate America showed a great deal more hostility to Ontario Hydro, the government-owned electrical power utility, than it did to experiments in public film production or broadcasting” (Ibid.).
Unlike both Canada and Britain, the number of very powerful companies in the radio business and Americans’ lack of trust in government meant that a commercial system, and not one focused on public service broadcasting, ruled the day. As Grant and Wood (2004) suggest, Americans live by the dictum of Thomas Paine: “government even in its best state is but a necessary evil” (176). There was also a fear of special interest groups that was evident in comments made at a number of the radio conferences held in the United States in the 1920s. With its antistatist nature and entrepreneurial spirit, the United States presented a perfect setting for a commercial system to be established as the dominant form of broadcasting. The Radio Act of 1927 led to the creation of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an organization that was charged with granting licences to for-profit broadcasters (Hoynes 2003:118). This is not to say that the radio act wasn’t challenged. There were arguments that educational groups and nonprofits were excluded, and that radio should be about more than achieving mass audiences to sell products to, but the large commercial companies and the fear of the government or special interest groups taking control was just too strong.
While this chapter has thus far focused on the origins of the BBC and PBS, the remaining section seeks to briefly update the reader on the organizations’ scope and structure. It will also outline some of the main concerns and critiques that media globalization has prompted in Britain and Japan, the focus of this study, with respect to each countries national public broadcasting system. The way in which these concerns, and the broadcasters attempts to cope with them, relate back to the organizations’ origins, will be explored in more depth throughout this study.
Thanks to its structural foundations (primarily the licence fee), the BBC has fared much better than its North American counterparts in the global broadcasting market. In 2001, “BBC television accounted for about 38 per cent of UK television viewing and BBC radio for 53 per cent of UK radio” (Collins 2003:165). As well, the licence fee has been set to rise at RPI +1.5 per cent until 2006, and “whether measured terms of audience share, broadcasting revenues or government support, the contemporary BBC rides high” (Collins 2003:164).
To put the size of the licence fee into perspective, it is useful to note that with a UK population of around 60 million (UK National Statistics), the BBC pulls in roughly 6.3 billion Canadian dollars. The CBC, catering to a Canadian population of roughly 32 million people (Statistics Canada), receives 1 billion 442 million dollars in funding. Finally, with an American population of 280 million (United States Census Bureau), PBS receives approximately 410 million Canadian dollars of funding, and the entire U.S. public television system about 1 billion 974 million Canadian dollars.
Just as in the United States, the British market is now dominated by a number of vertically integrated companies, one of which happens to be the BBC. In 2001, the five main public service television channels (that is, channels that have some basis and mandate related to public service), BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, accounted for about 80 per cent of UK television viewing. The remaining 19% of consumption went to cable and satellite services (BSkyB accounted for 6.1%).
While this continued domination of the British market by the BBC might be regarded as a success story, it has nevertheless led to numerous complaints. Increasingly, as Richard Collins (2003) notes, it is claimed that the BBC “has too much, does too much and mimics commercial broadcasters too much” (167). In this vein, an August 2002 article in the Financial Times suggests that “the biggest threat to diversity is the BBC, which is moving into all sorts of new sectors” (quoted in Collins 2003:167). The same sentiment is echoed by a former BBC producer Anthony Smith (now president of Magdalen College, Oxford) who notes, “the BBC is having to justify itself in too many directions at once” (Gumbrel and Fonda 2003). And with diversification comes a lowering of quality. Not only did former BBC Director-General Mark Thompson admit that the BBC had ‘dumbed down’ in a 2000 speech in Banff (Collins 2003:168), but activities such as the creation of a news-to-mobile-phone service, that was started as a commercial service, but when commercially unsuccessful, reclassified as a public one, reveals that the BBC, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was indeed appearing to be thinking and acting more and more like a profit-driven global media conglomerate. In a Telegraph article in September 2004, it is noted that much of the criticism has focused on the BBC’s commercial magazines, many of which “bear little relation to its broadcasting output” (Litterick). As the Observer noted, “commercial competitors in broadcasting services have complained for years that the publicly funded corporation is at an unfair advantage to those who have to risk shareholders’ money” (Forgan and Davies 2005). These criticisms help point out the problem with the increasing size and commercial-like behaviour of the BBC: if the organization starts to resemble private broadcasters even more closely, why should it receive a licence fee?
It is impossible to speak about the two public corporations that are the focus of this research without noting the vast changes that the field of communications and broadcasting have undergone in recent years. Aided by the neo-liberal assault on the social service state, where deregulation, privatization, and government cutbacks have become the norm, the broadcasting universe has been transformed. With bigger markets now possible, national and regional barriers are breaking down, while the assimilation of technologies, corporations, and national cultures is happening on a global scale. Not only can digital technology now provide “a common language (the conversion of signals into codes) that can be translated and used in all mediums” (Taras 2001:62-63), it also allows for greater speed, better quality, and the ability to put ten channels in the space that, under analogue, used to accommodate only one. The merging of television, the telephone, the satellite, cable and the computer, goes hand-in-hand with corporate convergence.
At the same time, broadcasting regulations have allowed a limited number of conglomerates to emerge, mostly by diversifying their holdings in order to dominate on a global scale. “Breakthroughs in cable technology brought by digitalization and the advent of VCRs, satellites and the World Wide Web are splintering the audience into tiny fragments,” writes David Taras (2001:93).
Audience fragmentation and increasing corporate convergence are a threat to public broadcasting because, as noted earlier, the very scarcity of airwaves and wavelengths has long served as a justification of public ownership. Thanks to the implementation of digital technology, this justification no longer holds true. With specialty cable channels and digital satellite services expanding their services and their programming in order to remain competitive and capture more and varied audiences, the argument also arises as to whether the distinctive services and programming public broadcasters have always claimed to offer, are in fact still distinctive, and cannot be found elsewhere. The cannibalism that is occurring thanks to the multi-channel universe also raises the issue of just what share public broadcasters should be expected to achieve, and what should be done if their share continues to decline. If only a tiny fraction of the public they were designed to serve tunes in, why keep them going?
Between 1998 and 2008, many technological advancements pertaining to the Internet occurred. First, the domestication of the Web led to the popularization of online chat rooms, the creation of company websites and an astronomical spike in the use of email to share information. Second, the increasing popularity of the Internet led to technological innovations such as, online radio stations, e-commerce, online banking, the development of faster networks and the creation of social networking sites including Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Bebo. The growing popularity of the Internet also brought on advertising shifts and new business opportunities, such as selling and buying used or new products and distant education. Third, technological innovations are creating a new style of media economics. As a result, the development of new business models and new levels of knowledge sharing become a crucial factor in the future of media.
Since it origins in the mid-nineties, BBC Online has mixed information and news content with usable and practical material. Along with schedules and promotional material, BBC Online added usable information: recipes, children’s stories, auto reviews and BBC program transcripts and also encouraged user interactivity at an early stage. In 1994, the site invited users to join what it called a networking club and according to one Web observer, one of the most imaginative things this was used for was an online Advent calendar to which club members could contribute pictures that were mounted on the calendar (Crowcroft, n.d.).
In 1997, the BBC launched a full-scale online news operation, a year after the CBC Newsworld site launched but a year before the CBC would have a unified online news service. As was the case with the various Web sites at the CBC, the BBC took some time to group all of its online operations under one umbrella: its early online strategy split three ways between news, an online sales venture titled Beeb.com and BBC Online, which included program sites as well as Web pages for various activities and clubs. According to British newspaper The Guardian, this created divided online politics within the corporation that “resulted in such gems as producing three unconnected World Cup sites, with meetings held between departments over which site had the right to publish a match report.” (Waldman, 1999).
The Guardian adds that today, the BBC has reduced internal duplication, and “can at least claim a news site to be proud of; thanks partly to a staff of over 100 journalists and a budget which most new media operations could only ever dream about.” (Farrelly, 2000). By comparison, the BBC’s entire budget for 2000-2001 equalled about $6.8 billion, about five times that o f the CBC (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2001). Put in other terms, the budget for BBC Online equals about 1.7 per cent of the corporation’s total budget, compared to the CBC where roughly one per cent of the budget goes to new media.
However, news of the British broadcaster’s allowance for online services has come at the cost of negative coverage in the British media. Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, chairman of the culture select committee, has suggested that BBC Online should either be scrapped or be transformed into an entirely advertising-funded service (Vickers, 2001) The chair of the private sector-based British Internet Publishers Alliance, Rob Hersov, has charged that, “the BBC is a power unto itself that can get away with murder. There’s not a single thing that the BBC has done in new media that has not already been done by the commercial sector.
Despite the controversy, the BBC has dedicated a larger portion of its budget to new media than does the CBC. It also has worked to develop good public relations and participation in the operation. In 1999, it launched Webwise, an intensive six-week campaign to promote the Internet to the British public and play up to the Labour government’s information age strategy. The campaign involved 5,000 community organizations and six weeks of extensive television and radio programming on the subject o f the Internet.
Such campaigns allow for the BBC to boast of its involvement in the community, but the scope of its operations continues to expand beyond what the corporation can afford with its current funding structures. Ashley Highfield, BBC’s director of new media, said the cost of plans to put all BBC programming online could force the corporation to charge for new media services over and above the licence fee that British citizens pay to the broadcaster. Noting that half of BBC Online’s estimated ten million users accessed the site from overseas without paying license fees, Highfield suggested a system of giving those in the UK limited credits to access BBC Online services for a limited time.
The idea made headlines – some negative – in British newspapers for a short period of time before it was dismissed in a brief BBC statement: “We encourage an atmosphere of voicing ideas and Ashley was just talking hypothetically.” (Vickers, 2001) Journalist Amy Vickers of The Guardian commented on the episode.
With its charter up for renewal in 2006, the BBC is fearful that sliding TV ratings may mean a reduction in the amount o f license fee revenue given to it, so it is having to come up with radical new ideas to catch dwindling audiences and raise more cash. But maybe this is one idea that goes a little bit too far – may it never see the cold light of day. (Vickers, 2001)
Bill Thompson, who writes a column about new media for the BBC, says a recent government report about media regulation and ownership was telling in what it left out.
The introduction gave the first clue that I might be disappointed. It begins the question of who owns our newspapers, television and radio is vital to democracy,’ and goes on to talk about ‘a rapidly changing technological and economic environment,’ but it does not mention the Net at all. The Internet, we are told, has become a significant new medium but nothing in the proposals indicates that anyone really believes this or sees just how much the Net has already changed the shape of our media landscape (Thompson, 2001)
Despite some cynicism on their part about how the BBC has dealt with its online operations, most of the broadcasters believe that the arrival o f the Internet at the BBC has taught some people at the corporation a lesson in how the BBC adapts to change and to new developments in media.
The BBC’s ability to adapt to change is at the heart of questions about its vision for online communications because, after a history of displaying UK to each other, the BBC may have to focus more on connecting Britain’s to each there. This could be a challenge for the corporation: the history of the BBC shows that some radio broadcasters were reluctant to accept television as a unique medium in the same way that some television producers may wonder about the uniqueness of online media.
At the same time, the potential changes posed by new media haven’t been articulated in any grand vision and have grown with a fraction of the resources the corporation puts into other services. Maybe some equally-passionate discussion about the future of the BBC’s Internet operations could help provide, not only a more focused view of the BBC’s treatment of online media, but a look at how well the corporation is adapting to the changes and challenges of the British media environment at the start o f the new millennium.
Given the rapid growth of the Internet in the past decade, this kind of discussion might give the corporation a new reason to exist, not just as a public broadcaster, but as a public communications utility on an information highway that does not run just one-way. The BBC’s move to the Internet may never prompt the same kind o f broadcasting lore generated by celebrated radio and television programs but it may have the potential to help the corporation to serve Britain public with a new sense of purpose.
The introduction of television into Japan occurred during the American Occupation following the end o f World War Two. At that time, American administrators were looking for ways to spread the ideals of democracy among the population at large. To this end they purged the wartime editors of Japanese newspapers who had furthered the war efforts through their pro-military coverage, and introduced into the Japanese constitution the notion of freedom of the press (to be instituted after the American Occupation censors left in 1952). They also took the first steps to expand NHK from a national public radio broadcasting corporation into a television broadcasting corporation, while simultaneously debating the idea of importing international television facilities in order to broadcast Voice o f America directly to the Japanese people.
Despite initial public discussions focusing exclusively on the establishment of NHK as the first television broadcaster in Japan, it was the commercial station Nippon Television Network (NTV) that eventually won the nation’s first television broadcasting license. NTV’s founder was Shoriki Matsutaro, a man who ironically was one of the wartime editors purged from the public media field during the Occupation.
During his forced departure from the profession, Shoriki had followed debates in the Diet regarding the issuance of broadcasting licenses. When it was decided in May 1951 to postpone the introduction of television into Japan indefinitely because of lack of sufficient broadcast equipment and the high cost of television sets which prevented its mass dissemination among the public, he decided to take action. He contacted Carl Mundt, the U.S. senator behind the concept of bringing the Voice of America to Japan, and convinced him that a better way of popularizing television in Japan (as well as the democratic ideals that it would convey) was to establish a domestically-run commercial broadcasting network based on American loans and donations of technical aid and equipment, but supported by local sponsors through advertisements. In other words, Shoriki proposed to build a television industry along the same lines as the commercial television industry in the United States. As for the high cost of television sets in Japan, Shoriki proposed that the broadcasting station itself would buy the sets and install them in public locations all over Japan. Once popularized, the people would start buying the sets for themselves. Mundt submitted the proposal in congress and got it passed. A few months later Shoriki was cleared of the wartime crime charges and immediately unveiled his plan; on July 31,1952, NTV became the first station to receive a television broadcasting license in Japan.
As soon as Shoriki announced his plans for the formation of NTV, management at NHK put their plans for television broadcasting back on track. They brought in Ted gretti, a prominent American television producer from NBC to teach NHK staff and conducted experimental telecasts of sumo, university baseball and the nomination of Shigeru Yoshida for his fourth term as prime minister (NHK 1977:217-8). They won their television broadcast license five months later on December 26,1952.
Unlike NTV which depended on advertising sponsorship as its main source of revenue, NHK was organized as a public broadcasting corporation dependent on monthly viewer subscription fees. Because of this, the management felt it necessary to begin broadcasting almost immediately, lest the audience get exposed to free (i.e. commercial) programming first and come to view television programming as a free commodity and monthly subscription fees as an option rather than an obligation. NHK was aided by a series of operational and financial setbacks at NTV. First, there were unexpected delays in the arrival of American broadcast equipment which needed to be specially fitted with reinforcements in order to render them earthquake-proof. Second, and more important, funding from U.S. loans fell through when Shoriki’s final plans for NTV were shown to differ significantly from the original Mundt plan. This led ultimately to a financial arrangement that included investments in the station by three of the largest newspaper organizations in Japan, Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun and by Oji Paper, a company which had ties to the newspapers as their chief supplier of newsprint.
In the next few years other applications for television broadcasting licenses were filed and accepted by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and by 1957, 34 provisional licenses were issued, leading to a flurry of startups the following year including Tokyo’s Fuji TV and TV Asahi in 1959. (TV Asahi was granted its license four years earlier in 1955 while TV Tokyo was not established until 1964).
Meanwhile, television set purchases by the public were steadily increasing. Shoriki’s plan to place television sets on street comers, in railway stations, and in other public viewing areas proved a great success in popularizing television. At the same time the economy as a whole was growing and people had more money to spend on luxury items. Mass production of television sets (fostered by the restriction of television set imports beginning from 1954) brought down their prices and installment plan credit schemes brought purchases within the reach of the middle income family. By the late 1950s televisions were considered a “must-have” item along with refrigerators and electric washing machines.
In these early days of television, news broadcasts were a rudimentary affair, televised twice a day showing maps, charts, and photos to illustrate news copy re-edited from the radio version. However with increases in staff, developments in video processing and special effects such as superimposing headlines and news flashes during commentary, the popularity of news picked up. Two events in this early postwar period helped to establish television news as a major social and economic influence in Japan. The first was the 1959 wedding of the Crown Prince to “commoner” Shoda Michiko. News that the event would be televised spurred the purchase of television sets to unprecedented heights. Sales doubled from 613,000 televisions in 1957 to 1.2 million in 1958, and then doubled again to 2.8 million in 1959. It also forced stations from different parts of the country to pool their equipment and staff in order to cover the whole event and broadcast it nationally. This cooperation led to the formation of Japan’s first commercial television network, INN, in 1959 by 16 stations centered around the Tokyo “key” station TBS. Similar linkups followed with NTV heading up the NNN network in 1966, Fuji TV heading the FNN network in 1966, and TV Asahi heading the ANN network in 1970.
The second major event to affect the television industry was the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. With the announcement that the games were to be broadcast in color, families who had bought black and white television sets for the royal wedding now rushed to buy color television sets. Television stations in Tokyo facing new technology and unprecedented demands for film and reporting crews embarked on hiring sprees that brought thousands of university students into the world of television broadcasting. Among the new recruits were NHK’s first female reporters assigned to the job of covering female athletes on the field and in the locker rooms.
The expansion of the television industry came to a sudden halt with the Oil Shock in 1973. Overnight purchases of new televisions dropped, affecting NHK’s intake of viewer subscription fees, while sponsorship simultaneously dried up, reducing the main source of revenue for commercial stations. Television broadcasters reducing the hiring of new recruits and shifted management staff to subsidiary companies or jobs within the company which would have previously been done by part-time workers.
Resumption of large-scale hiring began only in the late 1980s when a rise in the economy coincided with the anticipated retirement of the cluster of early 1960s recruits to the television industry. This created a demand not only for new young recruits, but also for middle management staff to supplement the class of employees hired during the lean years between 1973 and 1985. Today some of these middle management staff are currently being recruited from newspapers and other large industries, but unlike the earlier days when only expendable newspaper staff were sent to television, it is now the elite of the print media who are seeking and attaining employment in the television industry.
The television news broadcasting industry has evolved into a dual structure with the public broadcasting corporation o f NHK broadcasting through a network of 68 broadcasting stations, and the commercial sector consisting of 126 local broadcasting stations, over 90% of which belong to one of five national networks headed by key stations in Tokyo.
NHK is modeled on a structure very similar to that of England’s BBC. It operates on a budget financed 97% by subscription fees, which supports over 13,000 employees working in Tokyo and in local bureaus around the country. In addition to two television channels, one for general programming and one for educational programming, NHK broadcasts on two satellite channels and three radio frequencies and recently has begun HDTV broadcasts.
The decision-making body of NHK consists o f the twelve -member Board of Governors who are appointed by the Prime Minister with the approval of the Diet. This board has the final authority over budgeting, operating plans, and programming policy, but importantly, any decision to increase the viewer subscription fee must be approved by the Diet. NHK is also designated by law as a “public service” organ that is legally responsible for reporting news in the case of disasters. (Commercial stations do this also, but on a voluntary basis). Therefore although NHK is not officially a government organization, it is answerable to the government with regard to revenue-generating activities and broadcast content during disasters.
Many significant developments have occurred throughout YouTube’s relatively short history. In October of 2006, YouTube was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion (Burgess & Green, 2009). The site began offering advertising partnerships shortly thereafter, adding to the increasing commercial nature of YouTube. These factors of “marketization” (Burgess & Green, 2009) have led to creators of UGC to notice a change in communities and viewership as professionally produced and advertised content attained a stronger presence and positioning (Burgess & Green, 2009). With the introduction of mainstream celebrities to YouTube, Strangelove notes contention among users who felt their creative space threatened by big media and feared the end of “the golden age of YouTube” (2010).
The concept of Internet television allows the users to choose the program or television show they want to watch from an archive of programs or from a channel directory (Sabbagh, 2008). The two forms of viewing Internet television are streaming the content directly to a media player or downloading the program to the user’s computer. With the steady growth in the market for on-demand programming websites or applications have become essential for major television networks. Every night the use of on-demand television peaks at around 10 pm. Most streamed service providers offer individuals several different formats and quality controls so that online video programs can be viewed on many different devices in HD alongside SD (Sabbagh, 2008).
Prior to 2006, most video services used peer-to-peer (P2P) networking, where users downloaded an application and data would be shared between the users rather than the service provider giving the more commonly used streaming method. Some consumers didn’t like their upload bandwidth being consumed by their video player. This is what motivated the rollout of centralized streaming distribution. Most service providers have moved away from the P2P systems and are now using the streaming media. The ability to access Internet television is heavily dependent on Internet-streaming speeds (Lanxon, 2009). “Entertainment online is not just about the program you’re watching, but how you watch it,” says Jason Hirschhorn, senior vice president of Digital Music and Media for MTV Networks. The interface around the programming and the way that a viewer interacts with the programming are all a part of the experience (Murphy, 2005).
According to the consumer internet barometer, one out of every ten online consumers watches television broadcasts online. The Barometer is produced by The Conference Board and TNS, the world’s largest custom research company, reaches 10,000 households across the country. In 2006, their study concluded that online viewers say personal convenience and avoiding commercials are the top reasons for watching TV broadcasts online. Only a small percentage of consumers claim that their traditional television viewing has decreased. Three out of every four online viewers report no change in their viewing habits. But still, many consumers use the Internet for entertainment on a daily basis (US Fed News Service, 2006).
According to a 2008 study, many consumers regularly visit official TV-network websites as well as Hulu, TV.com, Joost and other sites with TV content, both legal and illegal. Males 18 to 24 say they are most likely to visit Fox.com and females 18 to 24 say they’re most likely to visit ABC.com. A majority of consumers say they do not watch online video regularly on any of the network sites. The greatest driver for watching TV shows on the network sites is the desire to time-shift. The viewers simply could not be in front of the TV at the time the show was originally broadcast. This finding concurs with much of the proprietary research we have done in this regard and implies that online TV viewing is generally accretive, not cannibalizing.” However, 11% of online video viewers say they watch less TV now that they are watching online video on their computers (Vorhaus, 2008).
In 2003, a survey was mounted by an alliance of cable operators and programming providers angling to learn more about the viewing habits and preferences of 18-to-29-year-olds toward on-demand TV. The survey found that 75% of the 1,219 Gen Y participants multi-task while watching TV. This can suggest that technology will combine chatting online, TV, and computer functions together. Gen Y grew up with the Internet alongside instant messaging and they have a desire for commanding video-game controllers an navigating electronic programming guides. Tasks like performing music downloads and burning CDs is second nature to them. Among other key findings, 92 % of the respondents indicated they liked the idea of accessing a previously broadcasted program, while 62% would consider paying a fee for such a service. (Elkin, 2003). The desire to time-shift viewing is reflected in the finding as 87%. The respondents like the ability to consistently access favorite episodes. The finding indicates the influence of TiVo– style TV viewing– watching what you want, when you want to-comes into play in the on demand environment. At least, 56% of survey respondents never watch pay-per-view events. This could mean Generation Y doesn’t like the linear nature of it because pay-per-view movies can’t be paused and must be watched at a specific time, unlike VOD. It also may point to Generation Y’s comfort with the online model of paying one fee for unlimited usage rather than pay-for-play (Elkin, 2003).
There are a number of streaming video services online, and Netflix is the most popular. In order to watch network television programs recently missed, viewers need to sign up for Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus has the advantage of being easily viewable on a television or mobile device. Netflix provides access to older program episodes for $8 per month, you get unlimited access to Netflix’s instant streaming catalog of 20,000 films that can be streamed on your computer, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, or any other Netflix-enabled home theater device, such as a Wii or certain Blu-Ray Disc players. (Moskovciak, 2011).
If one of your favorite current episode(s) is not available on Netflix you can get access to most of them via Amazon Instant Video and iTunes, typically a day after airing. Episodes on Amazon Instant Video that costs about $2 for SD and $3 for HD. If viewers use Apple TV to watch iTunes shows on your television be aware that some shows need to be downloaded onto a PC first, which can take some time (Moskovciak, 2011). All modern gaming consoles such as The Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii can also support Netflix streaming. Device-makers such as Samsung, Boxee and Apple TV are continuing to roll out products that bypass the cable box and draw content and streamed services directly from the web, thus setting up what could be one of the entertainment industry’s biggest business battles. Features built directly into devices have become a major selling point for high-definition sets, gaming consoles and boxes (Learmonth, 2010). As an alternative, if consumers don’t want to purchase a set-top box or gaming console and are willing to put up with a little hassle, they can connect a laptop directly to the television. This is not the best solution because they will have to mess with a laptop connected to a television instead of relaxing on the couch with a remote (Moskovciak, 2011). Cable has the most reserves of TV programming, films, video-on-demand as well as live sports and news. Web-based devices are coming closer to offering the full deal. Avner Ronen, CEO of startup Boxee, estimates 60% of broadcast TV is available online free in some form, and 10% of cable TV (Learmonth, 2010).
In Fall 2010, The Nielsen Co. reported that some consumers were starting to trade off between online video and traditional television. In June 2011, Nielsen found that Americans ages 18-34 who watch the most video online tend to watch less TV. This represents the younger population advertisers are particularly eager to target. This doesn’t mean that people are starting to think they can get by without conventional pay-TV. In 2011, a survey by Leichtman Research Group Inc. found that of the 13 percent of U.S. households that don’t subscribe to some form of pay-TV service, about 60 percent have broadband. Few people cite online video as the reason for not subscribing to pay-TV. Research firm SNL Kagan is on the other side of the debate, estimating that 2.5 million households had already given up their pay-TV subscriptions in favor of online video at the start of 2011. They believed that 2 million more would end their subscriptions by the end of 2011. They predicted that by 2015 10 percent of households would be online-only, thus forcing changes in the pay-TV industry (Svensson, 2011).
A transistor radio is a small portable radio that uses transistor-based circuitry. In 1906, the American physicist Lee De Forest invented the vacuum tube triode, the first three terminal device that enabled amplification and switching of electrical signals. Vacuum tubes helped the development of telephony, radio and computers but “the metal that emitted electrons in the vacuum tubes burned out.” (Rubin, n.d.). During this time tubes were too big, not reliable and required a great deal of power. In the late 1940’s, large computers were built with over 10,000 vacuum tubes and occupied at least 93 square meters of space (Rubin, n.d.).
On December 23, 1947, Bell Laboratories demonstrated the first transistor. The team responsible for the solid-state amplifier were William Shockley, Walter Houser Brattain, and John Bardeen. After obtaining patent protection, the company held a news conference on June 30, 1948, to demonstrate their prototype transistor radio. By 1956, the three men received the Physics Nobel Prize for their invention (Rubin, n.d.). Bell labs’ first “transistors were extremely delicate devices, made by contacting a very small chip of N-type germanium crystal with wires spaced a few thousandths of an inch apart through a P-type layer.” (Simcoe, 2004). Dropping one could destroy it and its contact areas were easily contaminated. Executives at Bell Labs figured the technology would develop much faster if a lot more people got involved, so in 1951 they decided to license it to anyone interested for $25,000 (Simcoe, 2004). During the mid-1950s, transistors changed from germanium to silicon. The different semiconductor material was essential to the device’s future. It is the building block of all integrated circuits (Riordan, 2004).
In 1951 Texas Instruments’ vice president, Pat Haggerty decided to license the new transistor technology from Bell Laboratories. Haggerty had the vision to see that the little solid-state device would “eventually replace the millions of vacuum tubes then at the heart of the fast-growing electronics industry.” (Delaney, n.d.). By 1954 he was eager to get in at the start by establishing a high-volume, high-profile consumer market before any other company. Haggerty chose the portable AM radio and, by doing so, TI made more progress with silicon than its rivals thought possible. In May 1954, the company surprised the industry by announcing that it had made silicon transistors that worked (Rubin, n.d.). Texas Instruments, working with the Regency Division of Industrial Development Engineering Associates, also introduced the first commercial transistor radio, in 1954. The Regency TR1 measured about 5 inches high, contained four germanium transistors and ran on a battery. It sold for $49.95 at the time, which translates to about $400 in 2011 (Delaney, n.d.). Listeners sometimes held an entire transistor radio directly against the side of the head, with the speaker against the ear. This was done to minimize the “tinny” sound caused by the high resonant frequency of its small speaker enclosure. Most radios included earphone jacks and came with single earphones that provided mediocre-quality sound reproduction (Rubin, n.d.).
Nevertheless, during the 1960’s and 1970’s, billions of transistor radios were manufactured, making them the most popular electronic communication device in history. For the first time, a portable pocket size device caused a change in music listening habits by allowing users to listen to music anywhere they went (Simcoe, 2004). People enjoyed listening to news broadcasts and music on the radio. The Regency TR-1 was the first technological devices to be thought of as a fashion accessory. Though originally starting out with four colors, the radio was soon available in 11 different colors including pink and jade green (Khan, n.d.).
Transistors played a pivotal role in the advancement of electronics. They proved to be a viable alternative to the vacuum tube as the amplifier elements meant that the device was much smaller, required far less power to operate than a tube radio, and was more shock-resistant (Simcoe, 2004). During the late 1970’s, individual transistors were superseded by integrated circuits in which a multiple of transistors and other components (diodes, resistors, etc.) were formed on a single tiny wafer of semi conduction material (Rubin, n.d.).
The transistor radio remains the single most popular communications device. Most operate on battery power to receive AM FM broadcasts and are small and cheap due to improved electronics. Simcoe states, “To the general public, the prefix “transistor” means a pocket radio; it can be used to refer to any small radio, but the term itself is now obsolete, since virtually all commercial broadcast receivers, pocket-sized or not, are now transistor-based.” In the 1970s the transistor radios popularity declined as other portable media players such as boom boxes and portable cassette players took over (Simcoe, 2004).
Apple released their very first MP3 player, the iPod on October 23, 2001 and it took the music world by storm and soon displaced the Sony Walkman as the portable music player of choice. The iPod had the ability to play several different audio formats, could hold up to 1000 songs and had a user-interface containing a mechanical wheel that could be used for scrolling with fingers all day long. The iPod contained 5GB memory, FireWire, a battery that lasted for 10 hours of audio playback. After a few months the 10GB version was released (Pandey, 2011).
In 2002 Apple released the second generation iPod that featured a 20GB memory hard drive. The iPod’s closest competitor at the time was the 20GB Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen. By 2005, the iPod offered 60GB of storage. Since becoming a mainstream success, there have been 13 different variations of the iPod targeted twards specific market segments and were diversified into models like the iPod mini, iPod nano, iPod shuffle and iPod touch (Khan, 2008). Each unique design and innovation has astonished music lovers. This has driven companies and manufacturers to compete with one another and advance its technology (Khan, 2008).
Unlike most other players, the iPod did not use press controls like Sony’s Walkman and the capacity to hold thousands of songs. Instead of using skip buttons, a user could spin a wheel on the front of the device to scroll through a list of songs to find the song the user wanted to play. The same wheel was also used to control the menus of the system. As a result, it was much easier to navigate through the iPod’s playlist than the comparable Nomad or Compaq MP3 players (Hormby and Knight, 2005).
In September 2007, Apple launched their latest device in the series of iPods, the iPod Touch. The iPod touch is a high-end all-around entertainment device that’s similar to the famous iPhone but without the phone capabilities. Over the years the only change has been its memory increase (Pandey, 2011).
In 2011, Comcast Corporation announced its digital subscribers using the Apple iPhone, iPod touch can access a vast collection of on demand entertainment to stream thousands of hours in the palm of their hands for free. “Whether our customers are relaxing around the house or traveling around the country, we’re bringing them a huge selection of great content at their fingertips, all for free, thus giving our customers access to the entertainment they want, where and when they want it.” said Matt Strauss, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Comcast Interactive Media (Targeted News Service, 2011). A 2010 Pew report found that “55% of American adults connect to the internet wirelessly, either through a WiFi or WiMax connection via their laptops or through their handheld device like a Smartphone.” (Hahn, 2010). Furthermore, the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 found that “more than half of respondents (51.2%) owned an Internet-capable handheld device and another 11.8% planned to purchase one in the next 12 months,” (Hahn, 2010).
While tapes and then CDs were a precursor, it wasn’t until the iPod Touch that consumers were given the power of total choice. We can listen to music, watch on demand content when and where we choose. “The Internet changes everything it touches and the iPod touches almost everything,” said writer John Ellis. (Graham, 2007). Within the blink of an eye, touching almost everything has taken the world by storm and the iPod Touch became the most successful new product in history. iPods are everywhere. In 2007 when the iPod Touch was first introduced Steve Jobs said, “Listening to music and watching on demand content will never be the same. Try to take an iPod away from anyone who owns one, or more likely, several, and see what happens.” (Graham, 2007). The company commands at least 70 percent of the digital music-player market. The digital music player continues to evolve from simple audio player to complex multimedia device. Most come with color displays, many with touch screens and some can show digital photos. Many players can also play movies, record directly from a TV or download and share their content over Wi-Fi (Consumers Reports, 2012).
The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple. The first iPad was released in April 2010 and sold 3 million in 80 days. With the iPad, it makes watching movies, TV shows and sites like Hulu to view programming much easier (Harrison, 2010). When the iPad made its debut, most of the press focused on how it could change with world of print. While that may be true, the iPad appears to be well on its way to changing the world of television (Bergman, 2010). According to Nielsen, 70% of tablet owners and 68% of Smartphone owners surf while watching TV. Both traditional and nontraditional content providers add supporting content in the form of apps, social interaction points, and additional media. This creates a richer experience for consumers who can add their own content, chat, and become fully immersed in the event (Castillo, 2011). Using the iPad as a portable television is a great idea for accessing entertainment while watching live TV on an iPad can keep a viewer up to date on favorite programs regardless of location. Unlike cell phones and other small mobile devices, live television on the iPad can be viewed in a much larger and enjoyable format while still remaining light and easy to carry, unlike the typical laptop (Mahlo.com).
Consumer lab reported in 2011 that about half of all tablet owners are watching both feature length films and TV shows on their tablet devices. In-Stat found that about 86% of tablet and Smartphone owners are using them to watch video and nearly 60% of Smartphone/tablet owners are viewing over-the-top video at home (National Newspaper Week, 2011).
In order to raise the number of mobile viewing hours to a level that is commercially viable, compelling packages of content must be put together specifically for the mobile platform. People will only watch TV on a mobile as the device of last resort. If they’re at a PC they’ll watch on their PC; if they’re in front of a TV, they’ll watch there. The small screen will only win when the alternatives are unavailable (Centaur Communications, 2006). However, with the rise of Apple’s video iPod and iPad, it seems people are more likely to download entertainment on their devices rather than risk constant signal drop-outs while they’re trying to watch a show (Centaur Communications, 2006). The iPad is still a perfect portable television solution. A user can begin watching television in a matter of minutes, just as long as there is access to a Wi-Fi connection. Users do need to download an app that allows access to television programming. Videos are available from Hulu, and Netflix offers streamed services, allowing users to “check into” TV shows (Bergman, 2010).
In 2010, TiVo announced an iPad app that allows subscribers to “view guides, schedule and manage recordings, get recommendations, or investigate a particular actor’s entire resume as well as post comments about a specific show or movie on Twitter or Facebook.” As second-screen apps become more sophisticated the opportunities to integrate social media into the viewing experience are limitless — shows friends are watching, shows friends recommend, shared social experiences of live news events, and the list goes on and on (Bergman, 2010).
In March 2011, Apple released the second generation of tablets with the iPad 2. The iPad 2 features a tapered design and a slimmer build. Though the screen size remains the same, its 33 percent slimmer than its predecessor, sporting dual webcams. The rear-facing camera features a 720p HD resolution, and the front-facing camera features VGA resolution (Satariano, 2011). There’s also a new graphics processor that Apple promises to be nine times faster than the iPad 1. The iPad 2 connects to high definition displays via a HDMI-out cable, which can transfer video (up to 1080p) from the iPad to an HDTV (Smith, 2011). In March 2012, Apple introduced the “New iPad,” with a number of changes including a sharper screen, a 5-megapixels camera, 4G capability, and a faster processor (Olivarez-Giles, 2012).
First two-way radios appeared in the early 1920’s and soon became quite popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s, when they were installed in a wide array of vehicles, including mostly taxis, trucks, and police cars. Not only did they build around them a very serious user community, but they also provided the foundation for a whole new concept, namely that of radio-telephony. Engineers used these concepts to develop the next step in the evolution of mobile phones. Although two-way radios made it possible for users to communicate while being on the go, people could not simply pick up the phone and contact a person using a two-way radio (Vochin, 2009).
Most teens turn their focus to feature phones, whereas college students are geared towards the world of mobile internet devices including smartphone’s, tablets and mobile game consoles. In a 2010 study for the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 62.7% of US undergraduates surveyed had an Internet-capable handheld device. That number fell about halfway between the 83.8% who had a laptop and the 45.9% with a desktop PC (eMarketer, 2010). The second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report, which looks at the relationship between human behavior, the Internet, and networking’s pervasiveness, was based on surveys of college students and professionals 30 years old and younger in 14 countries. The report revealed that one in three college students and young professionals considers the Internet to be as important as fundamental human resources like air, water, food and shelter. Two-thirds said the mobile device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) was the most important technology in their lives. Nineteen percent consider the smartphone as their “most important” device used on a daily basis, compared to 20 percent for desktops. The prominence of TV is declining among college students and young employees in favor of mobile devices like laptops and smartphones. As TV programming and movies become available on mobile devices, this downward trend is expected to continue (Telecom paper, 2011). According to a SurveyU study, which compares its results with the Pew Internet/American Life Project’s online video study, there’s a huge difference between the online video habits of college students and adult Internet users. Only 57 percent of adult Web surfers have watched online video, whereas 93 percent of college students have viewed Web video. Only 19 percent of adults on the internet will download video on a daily basis, while 62 percent of college students will do the same. “The line between creator and consumer is blurring for the Millennial generation,” said Dan Coates, cofounder of SurveyU (Bourgeault, 2007). But when it comes to online video, college students have advanced beyond the rest of the internet population and are fully engaged in the complete online video lifecycle: downloading videos, rating content, posting comments, publishing video links and uploading their own videos (Bourgeault, 2007).
Stephanie Popofsky, a senior at Cornell University, had just finished her first round of midterms and was eager to relax. In four weeks, she watched the entire series of the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” devouring 120 episodes. Like many of her college peers she watched at her laptop, having found the show through television aggregator sites that direct viewers to episodes online. Stephanie stumbled upon Sidereel, one of the Web’s largest independent sources for TV content, with 10 million unique monthly viewers. The site is redefining how younger viewers watch television. Sidereel conducted a survey of 1,800 visitors and found that 78 percent watched more than five hours of TV online per week (Eidler, 2011).
Students’ increasing mobility and need for 24-7 connection is confirmed by rapid year-over-year increases in ownership of both laptops and MP3 players, according to Alloy Media + Marketing’s 9th annual College Explorer survey, conducted by Harris Interactive. The research found in 2009, for the first time since the survey’s inception, desktop ownership has dipped to less than half (46%) of the 18-30 year old college-student population, while laptops were the preferred model on campus, with three-quarters (75%) of students reporting ownership. In four years, the MP3 player had more than doubled to a total of 74% ownership, while digital camera ownership also has jumped to almost three-quarters (74%), a 28% increase since 2006. This study also demonstrated students’ increasing use of online video, which has increased year-over-year for TV shows, user-generated videos and webisodic programming. Among 18-24 year old students, one-third said say they had increased their consumption of webisodes or user-generated videos over the previous year. College males were watching more webisodes than they did the previous year, as compared with their female counterparts (Marketing Charts, 2009).
In the users’ viewing environment, changes in places where they consume television programming heightens their ability to connect with the medium. Televisions have been seen is areas around the house, such as the family room, an individual’s bedroom or study area causing the viewer to develop a personal space with the screen. With an increased amount of programming from a multitude of providers, users are able to gain control of what to watch. Instead of being able to get three stations from the local area, one can get hundreds and go onto the Internet and click on various Web sites, such as Hulu (Hardenbergh, 2010). Technology has come a long way since the phonograph and it will continue to progress. Americans gradually adopted the use of different technologies such as the Television and Transistor Radio and they have incorporated them into their daily lives. Digitalization has helped make these technologies faster, lighter and more smaller for use. Broadcasters utilized this technology to distribute HD content into Americans homes by cable or satellite and can stream HD over the Internet. Portable media players have become popular with the younger generations because they are able to enjoy their favourite entertainment while on the go.
The researcher conducted semi-structured interview with Lisa in her office at the scheduled time and asked different question to ascertain her views and ideas on the research theme. Responding to the changes and trends in media viewing she explained that because she looked after everything for schools, and school children, and teachers so she knew that they have to move away from traditional broadcast models. She said: “The way the school time taping structure and the way teaching is delivered in the classroom has change drastically over the last decade. We needed to move with that and help our audience get to our content in the most useful way.” She also told the author that a simple level that meant moving away from broadcasting our program at particular time of day everyday to making them available online and smaller clip size chunks that teachers could use as part of their lessons whenever they wanted and they could find them whenever they wanted, so they weren’t bound to a rigid schedule from us. We know that just the audience needs have evolved, so we changed with it. Really basic level, that’s how we moved from being a more traditional broadcast department to a more digital department. If you went along side that the way that eLearnign has evolved and developed so that we know that it’s not only a delivery platform, actually for learning it’s really a way, and probably the best way, the most effective way of engaging with an audience to foster proper learning outcomes and deliver real actual learning. That’s why we moved into that spaces. Best of things that the audience needs and the evolution of our broadcast model plus the development of a whole new way of delivering learning in and of itself using digital.
Responding to the question of how digital broadcasting is different from the traditional broadcasting and how BBC has been successful in creating such a digital oriented department, Lisa said: “… we had a dedicated education department and because there was this whole new … Trend is too light a word in a way, but trend in learning, or new opportunity in learning around digital. As a department we kind of … This is before I joined BBC, but began to investigate how that might work and began to sort of pilot ideas. Then, right at the beginning really of the internet becoming a big mainstream thing the BBC as a whole organization was right at the forefront of that. They developed a website early on. BBC learning developed a website as well. It evolved from there. It started up with a very small self contained bits of activities, but Bite Size was one of the very first education websites in the UK at least.”
She further explained that: “We make radio programs, which have been going since. School radio is one of the oldest parts of the BBC. It’s been going since the 1920s and we still make it today. What we do is have lots of different complimentary bits of content. There’s not really a conflict. I like what we’re saying, for lots of the traditional media, digital provides a new way to reach the formal learning audience more effectively because they can get what they want anytime they want and find things that are curriculum related.”
The next question for Lisa was about how BBC learning is organized and what kind of background does they have with regard to the workforce. Responding to this question, she said: “In our USN education program development 100 people are working and we have a big team which is an online production team. They come with a range of different skills. Some of them will have a TV or video background, which is useful. They all have editorial skills, which is the main function of my team really is to be an editorial team. She further explained that her team is not the technical team. Some of my team aren’t very technical as well, so it helps to have an understanding of what technology can do at the very least even if you can’t actually sit and code it all yourself. It’s helpful to understand that world. That is really important. It’s really important to understand the needs of children, and teachers, and the demands of formal learning, and what it means to make something for learning rather than for entertainment. That’s really the editorial value.
Commenting on how to create digital content, Lisa asserted that first of all they know what the audience need from us. It’s kind of being creative within some very clear parameters in that sense about how you treat a subject and how you present a subject and so on. Some editorial choices to be made but you know what the job is.
For other projects where it’s a bit more of a blank page, again it’s really starting with what the audience need is in terms of learning. If it is around 10 pieces for example, and if I was making, I didn’t do this, but if I was making a piece of digital content for 10 pieces I want to think well, what’s the objective? Is it just to get young people exited about classical music or is it to help them understand the structure of a particular piece? It might be both but what’s really … What’s this for? What’s this about, this particular piece of work?
Technological trends could be resultant of changes in technology and could relate to research which suggests faster rates of pacing in recent media. A greater number of individuals in the 2013 sample could indicate trends towards more individualistic expression in youth-created content communities. Such expressions through media forms in online content communities may also facilitate the development of individual identity.
Nonlinear narrative trends which celebrate self may be tied to this trend in increased individualization, but intended audience is an important aspect which should be considered when interpreting changes in narrative trends. A younger, predominantly female representation of actors in videos of 2013 could serve to define some characteristics of the genre, which might possibly deter some older or male content creators from associating with this genre of UGC. Comments provide examples of interactivity and engagement with the creative process in online communities, as supported by the literature.
Overall, radical changes were observed in structure, technical characteristics, and gender representation among our sample within a relatively short period, which gives a glimpse at how much youth-created music videos on YouTube have evolved. It would only help to have more sample years between those in this study, or follow-ups, to see if these trends continue in the same direction.
Further research in youth-created music videos would be valuable, including studies which connect this genre to other genres of UGC or to professional media content. Further trend studies would benefit by adding additional sample years. An exploration of factors that inspired, motivated, and impacted trends and creative choices would also be valuable. Researchers might examine the extent to which visual trends in youth-created music videos are impacted by other forms of UGC, or compare youth-created content with professional media content.
Methodologies such as surveys and interviews might help answer questions concerning influence and motivations. Studying trends in gender representation across other genres of UGC, as well as changes in that representation over time, would also be valuable.