Thursday, December 23, 2010

Viewed by lots of people at exactly the same time

“ ...with the rise of digital and catch-up television in the 2000s, the era of "linear viewing" was supposed to come to a definitive end. Just as we could create our own playlists on an iPod, we could now personalise an evening’s viewing...
Only it hasn’t happened. Saturday night event television like the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing has revived the concept of live shows watched by whole families. True, the viewing figures are smaller than in the 1970s but in some ways the potential for collective involvement is greater because there are so many opportunities to comment and participate. Twitter, with its improvised invention of the hashtag to allow similar content to be searched and tracked, has allowed vast virtual communities to meet to discuss shows while they are being broadcast...
One of the defining qualities of TV remains that it can be viewed by lots of people at exactly the same time. ”

Author, columnist and cultural historian Joe Moran discussing the beloved, but somewhat exaggerated, history of the Christmas special. Right after reading a dozen glowing articles about how the iPad (et. al.) changes everything, I wonder how much the broadcast model really will change.

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