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Literature Review Argumentative

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  • Pages: 23
  • Word count: 5557
  • Category: Media

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This chapter focuses on the gradual evolution of the television landscape, from analog to digital, and the impact of this transmission on how people watch TV today and on how television companies capitalize on social media, which relies on web-based technologies in order to gain more advertising revenues and profits. This chapter also explains how this transmission leads to interactivity, convergence and mobility on the part of both the media audience and the television broadcasters.

It also tackles the role of social media, how it impacts the function of television journalists and broadcasters with respect to their interaction with their audience. Furthermore, this chapter discusses the possibilities for television advertising in this era of digitalization— how television companies gain a wider audience share and how they achieve more advertising revenues and profits.

  • Changing TV landscape

For many decades, television is one of the most important, if not the most important, and most widely used communication mediums for transmitting information that affect the lives of individuals across the world. Television was used to transmit moving images and sounds about the many historic world events that changed the course of our history. It also plays and continues to play an important role in the social, political and economic life of people in every nation of the world. That is, television continues to play a very significant role in the area of education, politics, economics, religion, culture and the arts, as well as in the advertising and marketing world (Gutmann 2002: 244).

However, the television as we know it will be gone forever, to be replaced by a more powerful, more persuasive, and more revolutionary communication medium: the digital television (Given 2003: 100). For decades, people across the world were using analog television. This technology has already become part of our lives. In fact, it was reported that there were about 1.7 billion television sets in all countries in the world in 2007 (Vliet 2008: 19). This means that analog television has had a very big influence on the lives of hundreds, if not billions, of people on this planet over the past few decades.

Due to the continued advance of technologies over the past few years, a lot of countries have already commenced the conversion from analog television to digital television. Unlike analog television, digital television does not only transmit distortion-free and interference video and audio signals, it also delivers this function while attaining much higher spectrum efficiency. This revolutionary media technology can also flawlessly interface with digital media, computer networks, and other communication systems, allowing for multimedia interactive services and datacasting.

There are a lot of factors that triggered the transition from analog to digital. Some of these factors that highly contributed to this transition are the continued technological development, the rise of the era of digitalization, the rising consumer demand for digital media, competition among media broadcasting companies, and the desire of media companies to focus on and benefit from the many advantages of social media. Unlike digital television, analog television is an over the air programming, which means that the owner must use a TV antenna in order to receive a signal or a cable attached to an antenna in order to receive TV signal.

On the other hand, digital television represents the most important development in television technology since the first discovery of colour television. Compared to analog television, digital television has the capacity to provide movie theatre quality sound and pictures. It also provides the following revolutionary features: multiple video programming, which is not provided by analog television, better colour rendition, a wider TV screen, and other revolutionary services that are currently being developed by TV manufacturers all over the world. Also, digital television can also be high definition television (HDTV), or even a standard definition television (SDTV) (Koch 2007: 1).

One of the most significant functions of digital TV is its ability to offer superior broadcast quality to media viewers and its capability to enable media broadcasters to provide other forms of services, such as pay-per-view, which is now being offered by satellite and cable television companies. One of the reasons why television companies abandoned analog technology is that digital television enables the conservation of limited resource, which is bandwidth, which can be used for other important wireless applications.

The digitalization of television is now an ongoing process across the world. The first country to end the reign of analog television is the United States. On June 12, 2009, television stations in the United States put an end to their analog signals, terminating a more than eight-decade era for the over-the-air technology that altered the shape of the world (Fox News 2009).

This decision to cut the services of analog signals affected those who owned analog televisions hat receive over-the-air television transmissions. This means that consumers using analog television will have to buy a new TV and other materials in order to avail of the services of digital television (Silva 2009).

Since digital television is a new media technology, there are many people who complained they could not afford to buy a new digital TV. It was reported that about 17 million households in the United States rely on antennas (Svenson 2009). Another problem with the digitalization of television in the United States is the fact that a lot of poor and minority households were not prepared for the analog shutdown (Associated Press 2009).

Many developed countries also prepare for the shutdown of analog TV signal in order to pave the way for the digitalization of their media airwaves. The Japanese government, for instance, announced that the switch to digital media was set on July 24, 2010. The United Kingdom government, on the other hand, announced that television services of UK broadcasting companies will be achieved in 2012 (Digital Television 2010). Other countries that have been undergoing this digitalization process of Brazil Germany, China, Australia, Croatia, Indonesia, Malaysia, among others.

Since the digitalization of television affects consumers, it has become a government policy, which means that every citizen will be able to receive digital TV signals provided they have digital TV set. Unlike analog TV, digital TV uses less broadcast space, which provides for more room for new communication services, such as HDTV, local TV, and wireless broadband. Thus, among the benefits of this digital technology are as follows (Grimme 2003: 176):

  • More choices of television channels;
  • New exciting and helpful television features, such as subtitling for TV viewers with audio and visual impairments, audio description, interactivity, and on-screen listings.
  • More television channels and services, including telephony, broadband, and premium channels such as sports, movies, fashion shows, etc.
  • Digital TV and the market

The development of digital television went through a lot of obstacles in the past. Some of these obstacles are the following: the unwillingness of cable operators to provide both the analog and digital signals of local television stations; the lack of high-definition programming; the failure television manufacturers to integrate digital tuners into analog television sets; and negative response of consumers. Apart from the fact that there is a need o move from analog to digital, there are various reasons why it is important to adopt digital technology. Some of them are the following (Great Britain Parliament 2006: 15):

  1. Cheap hardware. Unlike analog, digital hardware has become very affordable.
  2. New Services. Digital technology is in line with the necessities of the world where we line in today. We are now in an era of electronic banking, computer moderns, e-commerce, and airline booking systems, email, and social media.
  3. Error control and control of quality.
  4. Flexibility and compatibility. Digitized signals make it possible for transmission to be shared by other mediums.
  5. Cost transmission. Once signal is digitized, the cost of digital transmission would be significantly less. This highly benefits broadcasting companies.
  6. Message security. This is true not only with digital television, but also with electronic banking system and e-commerce.

Given the many impacts of digitalization on media or television companies’ audience share, advertising revenues and profits, market opportunities, among others, it is important to look at the ways to capitalize on analog switch off. In order to benefit from this digital launch, executives and leaders of television companies must be able to take actions that would benefit their organization. In regard to this, there are identified actions, which must be carried out by television executives and broadcasters. These actions are as follows (Borins 2007; Jolly 1997):

  • Segment. Television executives must invest in divergent techniques and supply chains in order to gain a wider market share or viewer ratings. Executives must also look at their audience reach, pricing, and advertising rates.
  • Innovate. In this age of digitalization, television executives must continuously innovate their packaging, distribution, windows, pricing, business models, and marketing strategies by developing a wider consumer choice.
  • Experiment. It is imperative for television executives to conduct and update their market experiments to identify and understand consumer preferences. It is also important to invest in new metrics and new measurement schemes for possible demands of consumers in the future.
  • Mobilize. It is also very important for television executives to develop and seamless media content mobility for viewers who frequently have on-the-go experiences.
  • Open. Media and television executives must also develop standards-based and open content delivery platforms to maximize revenue exploitation and content, and to better establish network cost-efficiency and high business flexibility.
  • Reorganize. It is also imperative for television executives and leaders to re-evaluate their business composition against future goals and requirements. They must also know and understand core competencies needed for competitive advantage against their direct market competitors.

There is no doubt that television companies could gain a lot of commercial and economic benefits from the advent of digital television by providing their consumers or public viewers with a more diversified scope of services and media content. The continued digitalisation of the television industry indeed provides a lot of possibilities in terms of additional services, mobility, interactivity and convergence.

However, there is a need to understand that this ongoing process entails a number of possible pitfalls as well (d’Haenens & Blink 2001). The transition from analog to digital involves a lot of questions such as the following: Are the people willing to completely switch to digital television landscape? Are there any responsibilities of television broadcasters in this digital age to make sure that certain sectors of our society are not excluded or alienated? What are the social valued that need to be considered?

The age of analog television saw the rise of competition among television and broadcasting companies, the advent of new distribution channels, as well as the continued digitalisation process, which greatly helped in the evolution of the television landscape from monopolistic market structure to highly competitive television markets (Dahlgren 2000). Apart from public television channels, there were also pay-per-view television platforms that offer different kinds of services to paying consumers.

Satellite pay television gradually grew in many European countries. In some part of the world, for instance in the Benelux, the most dominant player in the television industry was cable transmission system, which led to the monopoly of the local cable company on both content providers and viewers (Adda and Ottaviani 2005). However, with the advent of terrestrial television and satellite television, the television markets in Benelux was turned upside-down. This situation led to a more competitive television industry, which allowed the consumers to choose between different television platforms.

In order to shift from analog to digital, there is a need for each analog platform to be digitized by adopting the following requirements: digital satellite (DVB-S) and digital cable (DVB-C), which are adopted as European standards for diverse television platforms (De Grooff 1999: 7).

Digital television nowadays can be offered through a broadband digital subscriber line (DSL) that enables the IPTV-transmission of a digital video signal via telephone line. Since this technology is relatively new, its penetration to the market is said to be low (OBS 2007; Adda and Ottaviano 2005; Gawlinski 2003: 56-67). It is indeed true that television transmission continuously shifts to digital technology, providing both challenges and opportunities to television and broadcasting companies.

  • Digital TV’s impact on viewers

With the continued digitalisation of the television landscape, the public or television consumers should expect more from television broadcasters and media companies, as the markets become more highly competitive. As television companies find more ways to gain a wider market share, parents would like to have their children exposed to educational channels, voters would like to be updated on election events or political affairs of the country, consumers would like to be informed about commercial products and services, travellers would like to be properly informed on interesting tourist sites and places, and ordinary people would like to be updated on weather condition, consumer information, breaking news, important global events, etc.

It is often said that television companies and broadcasters must consider the interests of their viewers and not merely their commercial interests. The primary responsibility of television broadcasters is to deliver proper and accurate information to their viewers. Since the function of television broadcasters and media companies affect public interest, all governments regulate how they deliver news and information to the public, including the contents of the news and information.

Since digital television enables multitasking, broadcasters have the opportunity to provide the information needs of their viewers. On the other hand, viewers also have the chance to give their feedback and comments on various television programs, making the television landscape more interactive.

The advent of digital television gave rise to what we know today as social TV, which integrates all the innate qualities of the conventional mass medium into the capabilities of the Internet and digital technologies. However, unlike in the traditional or analog television, the service offerings of digital television can be personalized and they can also be independent of space and time limitations. There are many advantages of digital television on the point of view of the viewers.

With this revolutionary technology, viewers have the opportunity to actively interact with their favourite television programs or channels by choosing information from teletext-style services, by engaging in line interactive television games and programs, and by watching enhanced television shows. This digital capability improves viewers’ experiences with television and changes the way it is experiences and perceived. It also improves the awareness of viewers that they live and move in a new digital environment.

The capability of digital television to individualize television experience could increase the viewers’ level of experience and degree of education, as they given the power to choose among the many program offerings of the digital media.

Digital television experience could also encourage viewers to improve their electronic habits and activities by engaging in various social media activities, such as blogging, video blogging, posting comments and commentaries on video sites and websites, participating in media and television forums, among others. This means the television viewers can be encouraged to publicize their television experiences and personal material like home videos, photos and music, personal diaries, video commentaries, as well as to convey their personal remarks, suggestions, and viewing preferences.

The continued development of digital television significantly shows that it guarantees individual’s freedom to choose. This quality is what makes digital television highly unique and distinct from traditional television platform. With this capability, digital television viewers have the freedom to choose when and how they watch a television show or program.

They are also given the freedom to gain access to media contents produced and uploaded by other viewers and even to communicate online by uploading their personal material. The interactive characteristics of digital television, which permits viewer-to-viewer interaction, may have a positive impact or influence on how viewers perceive the naturalness and genuineness of television (Thorson and Rodgers 2006: 39). Viewers are also given the opportunity to encourage other viewers to express their personal views on social issues, as well as personal preferences.

Virtual communities in digital television also attract viewers’ participation. This participation highly depends on viewers’ interests in a television program, which can be a TV series, gaming show, entertainment-oriented show, etc. Within these virtual communities, viewers also expect to find participants who share their views, interests or preferences and establish communication with them in order to achieve better information and experiences, obtain more reliable suggestions, and express themselves in public.

Since digital television provides more opportunities to viewers or users to connect and communicate with other individuals and achieve more reliable and accurate information, the latter (viewers or users) may be able to improve their analytical and technical skills, as well as their knowledge on various social, political and economic issues. This connection process is called the ‘core value of socialisation’, which is one of the most significant advantages of digital television (Comer 1991: 64).

So the transition from analog to digital can have a significant impact on the behaviour and habit of television viewers, as digital television has the potential to encourage viewers to be more active and participative in various online or television activities and events. This means that the engaged viewers or users have opportunity to increase his/her knowledge according to his/her demands, preferences and interest.

Thus, television, whether analog or digital, plays vital role in man’s wellbeing. A study conducted in the United States reveals that the purposes of television in order of importance are the following (Winick 1988: 223):

  1. Information dissemination
  2. Entertainment and relaxation
  3. Awakening of public debate or discussion
  4. Communality
  5. Scheduling the day
  6. Spending time together with family members or friends.
  • Interactivity, mobility and convergence

One of the most significant features of digital television platforms is interactivity, whose levels mainly depend upon the availability of bandwidth and whether or not the platform has a return path. This return path enables the viewer’s equipment to communicate with the service provider. Although digital TV platforms offer better television services, which are not interactive services but one-way services.

For instance, a viewer can choose among a number basketball or baseball events being shown at the same time. Apart from this, several television companies also offer interactive television advertising, which makes it easier for consumers to know and buy featured products or services. A number of companies that want to have a specific audience share also offer access to government services, banking, and shopping. This system also allows viewers to go and shop online, and to know more information on products and services, which are advertised.

When a viewer is using satellite connection, the return path is connected to a telephone line, which is attached to the set top box. When it comes to digital cable, the return path is view the same cable that transmits television signal to the set top box.

Digital television gives TV viewers the freedom and the control over the content of television shows or programs. As already stated above, interactive television offers a broad array of revolutionary services that enable viewers to interact or communicate with the television, including a number of new uses of graphics or texts over a picture, multiple camera angles in any kinds of event, interactive program guides, polling, interactive gaming programs, TV survey, video-on-demand, among others.

These television programs are all under the control of the television viewers. In Japan, the early experiments of interactive television were conducted in late 1970sa and early 1980s through what was known as the Hi-Ovis Project (Report 1988). Other early experiments of interactive television were carried out in the United States and in France.

Many television viewers like interactive TV because its new services offer extra channels and reliable digital signals, and because of this viewers respond well to more TV channels and better picture quality. For some viewers, video-on-demand is highly appealing and interactive because of its pause function that enables the user to stop a movie to attend to go to the bathroom or to answer the telephone.

For movie fanatics, viewer expectations for video-on-demand are high, as the viewers expect the same movies that are sold or rented at the video shops. There is also this subscription video-on-demand, which is an alternative type of the video-on-demand. Unlike the video-on-demand, subscription VOD allows a viewer to obtain an access to all movies or films available on pay movie channels for a certain period of time.

Interactive television also plays an important role in the field of marketing.

In regard to this aspect, it is important to know how the return path to the provider works. This is necessary to guarantee interface that entails exchange of information, such as a viewer completing an online consumer form in response to an interactive advertisement or buy a product or a service online. In most countries in Europe, interactive digital technology has been available for years to convey television services to viewers and provide new interactive services.

In the United Kingdom, more than 5 million viewers are subscribed to Sky Digital, which has contents from various banks, such as Woolwich and HSBC. It also has content from British retailers such as Carphone Warehouse, Dixons, and Woolworths. This interactive television system is referred to as “walled garden service”, as it cannot be accessed by the general public like the Internet. The cable providers of this type of service in the UK are Digital terrestrial ITV, Teleest, and Ntl (Marketing Insights 2010).

The digitalisation of television also led to convergence. There is no doubt that convergence in television, the Internet and telecommunications leads to a higher level of competition between the giants of industry.

This situation led to what is known as converged competition, which has two fundamental features: content aggregation and video distribution (Gentzoglanis 2010: 310). Converged competition produces a more level playing field for television companies and providers. When it comes to video distribution, old and new market players compete for the provision of television and other services to consumers. The goal of market players is to achieve viewer loyalty and to upgrade their revenues and profits.

A lot of new market player around the world also embark on network upgrades to shift to the video distribution business. In the United States, the cable industry invested more than $95 billion on upgrades to move to video distribution business and market aggregation, with its high potential for digital phone, video on demand, digital cable, and high-definition television. On the other hand, digital television has invaded more than 52 million households in Europe. But unlike in the United States, providers in Europe did not invent much on video on demand.

One of the challenges to digital media providers is the creation of seamless content mobility for people on the go. There is no doubt that there are a lot of media users who have excessive desires for media and experiences, keeping updated with consumer demand, and portability for their media devises. These media users are the ones driving providers and media technology companies to:

  • Offer consumer-friendly television and other services with required user modification;
  • Provide easy synchronisation among media devises.
  • Social media

There is no exact definition of social media because it compasses a lot of concepts related to communication, media, broadcasting, public, society, among others (Breakenridge 2008: 269). Since social media has no definite or exact definition, it can be a huge focus group of all sorts and it can be produced in many different ways (Comm 2010: 20).

Like advertising or media as a whole, social media have a huge impact on public relations and marketing. However, social media becomes a common term among media people and advertising experts due to the advent of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, MySpace, etc., as well as blogs, and other advanced communications technologies like YouTube.

There is no doubt that social media emerged as a result of the development of the World Wide Web. Over the years, social media developed certain characteristics, which makes it a legitimate terminology in the field of media studies. The characteristics that can be attributed to the condition of social media are the following (Brown 2010: 89):

  • Being easy to use;
  • Being community-oriented;
  • Having organic contents;
  • Being user-driven.

Some of the social media outlets include the following: media-sharing sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, social networking sites, podcasts, and blogs. With the continued development of social media, the interface between the readers and the bloggers and between the television broadcasters and their viewers is now becoming the mainstream. With the revolutionary features of digital television and interactive technology, television viewers enjoy interactivity as they are permitted to join online forums, interactive television programs, and order or make purchases online.

The power of social media is increasingly observed because of its capacity to foster public relations or any kinds of marketing campaign. Social media will not only change the way television broadcasters conduct their job, it will also provide more and more opportunities that will alter the face of traditional public relations into something more challenging, more revolutionary and more interactive.

Before, most of the media were under the control of a few groups of people. This group of people transmitted television or radio signals through a communication tower to provide media services to passive audiences. However, with the advent of interactive digital technologies, those days of traditional media are over and never to return. The existence of digital media technology and the development of social media transferred the power of controlling media content from a few media elites to the people. This phenomenon, which characterises the rise of social media, reflects two underlying trends in media communication (Van Den Dam 2010):

  • A transfer in the control of communication media, from a few media elites to media users;
  • A transfer in communication media trends, from one-to-many and one-to-one to many-to-many. This entails collaborative communication, sharing of multimedia contents, photos, digital music, and videos, among others that will benefit the user media experience.

Social media has a huge impact on television broadcasters in terms of media content and audience interaction. Since digital television and social media encourage audience participation and interaction, television broadcasters and journalisms will be forced to be more responsible in the way their deliver news and opinion (Smith, Smith and Chaffey 2005: 145).

This means that this setup will make them more accountable to their viewers who now have an open access to social media and other media communication technologies. This would also push television broadcasters to improve their talents and focus on the way they shape public opinion and encourage public debate and public consensus.

There are properties of social media that make it distinct from industrial media. Some of these important properties are as follows (Bruck 2005: 145):

  • Audience reach.
  • Accessibility.
  • Media usability.
  • Timeliness.
  • Permanence.

These properties are strictly being observed by television broadcasters in order to keep a wider audience share and to attract more potential viewers. In order to maintain the loyalty of viewers, television broadcasters encourage them to shape media content and join in shaping a current issue that affect public lives. For instance, CNN, Fox News, BBC and other giant television networks encourage their viewers to produce their personal report on a particular issue, to send photos and video footages concerning a controversial event or breaking news, and to comment on any given issue.

On the other hand, digital interactive television can be used for the delivery of personalized advertisements. There are now more opportunities for television broadcasters to benefit from digital television technology by capitalizing on interactivity in order to build a sticky interface with consumers (Loos, Haddon and Mante-Meijer 2008: 40).

With the fragmentation of media audiences, proliferation of channels and the digitised distribution of technologies, television broadcasters may now be able to break the technical barriers to interactivity (Pagani 2003: 40). The ability of media interactivity to fuse the emotive capabilities of television with the power of advertisement can have a high influence on consumer interface.

It is interesting to note that interactive digital television provides a lot of capabilities to television broadcasters and advertisers to attract a wider consumer attention. These capabilities may include the following:

Interface can be initiated from:

  • Advertisement experiences listed within a menu.
  • On-screen triggers.
  • On-screen overlays.

When picked, a viewer may see:

  • Additional video.
  • A superimposed application that allows interactivity while maintaining the video experience.
  • Microsites or designated advertiser locations.

There are a lot of ways and means for television broadcasters to look at the many possibilities for television advertising in this age of digitalisation in order for them to achieve higher revenues and profits. However, it is still important for television broadcasters to focus on the media content and on the manner of their media delivery, as well as on the importance of audience interaction order to maintain their competitiveness in the television market.

  • Conclusion

The advent of digitalisation indeed led to the development of social media that transferred the control of media content to the Internet or to the public as a whole. The transition from analog to digital also brought about an atmosphere of freedom wherein media viewers are free to choose among available media services or channels, to engage in media forums, and to interact with other viewers.

However, there are at least two gaps identified in this study. These gaps are the following:

  1. What is the impact of social media on the competitiveness of various media communication technologies, such as television, the Internet and mobile phone?
  2. How would television broadcasters capitalize on social media by means of integrating the capabilities of these media communication technologies (television, the Internet and mobile phone) in order to achieve higher advertising revenues?

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