chapter  2
10 Pages

Television in Transition, a View from the Margins

The Flow essays 2010–2012
ByGraeme Turner

In television and new media studies, it has become customary to attribute a special political significance to the expansion of choice. Implicit in much of the theorising of convergence culture is the proposition that the expansion of choice directly enables a new level of empowerment for the individual consumer, as if the answer to the power of the media production industries lies simply in their technical diversification. Among the most familiar lines of argument used to define the specific attributes of the experience of television include an emphasis on ‘liveness’, and on ‘sharedness’. With ‘liveness’, the immediacy of live television is regarded as fundamental even though, once the capacity to record and replay was developed, so much television (particularly prime-time) is pre-recorded. The online pattern of consumption is highly individualized, through personal choices taken from extensive menus or playlists, calling up a more fragmented and atomized audience than that which is gathered by broadcast television.