This book by two leading experts takes a fresh look at the nature of television, starting from an audience perspective. It draws on over twenty years of research about the audience in the United States and Britain and about the many ways in which television is funded and organized around the world.
The overall picture which emerges is of: a medium which is watched for several hours a day but usually at only a low level of involvement; an audience which views mainly for relaxation but which actively chooses favourite programmes; a flowering of new channels but with no fundamental change in what or how people watch; programmes costing millions to produce but only a few pennies to view; a wide range of programme types apparently similar to the range of print media but with nothing like the same degree of audience ‘segmentation’; a global communication medium of dazzling scale, speed, and impact but which is slow at conveying complex information and perhaps less powerful than generally assumed.
The book is packed with information and insights yet is highly readable. It is unique in relating so many of the issues raised by television to how we watch it. There is also a highly regarded appendix on advertising, as well as technical notes, a glossary, and references for further reading.
Chapter 6: Broadcast Channels
Countries differ in how they run their broadcasting. Television stations in the USA are nearly all privately owned, while in the Eastern bloc and in most developing countries they are run by governments. In these cases, the television is mostly or wholly funded by competing for a single source of money, either advertising revenue or taxes. Other countries increasingly have a mixture of public and private ownership and so a mixture of funding sources, such as license fees paid by viewers and commercial airtime fees paid by advertisers.
The number of channels in a country and their organization and incomes lead to somewhat different kinds of programming. Nonetheless, every major broadcast channel in the world transmits a wide range of different types of ...