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Chapter 5. TELEVISION and the Power of Visual Culture. EARLY TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS. Late 1800s: cathode ray tube 1880’s: Nipkow’s scanning disk 1920’s: Zworykin’s iconoscope 1920’s: Farnsworth’s image dissector tube 1930: Farnsworth patents first electronic television.

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Chapter 5

TELEVISION

and the Power of

Visual Culture


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EARLY TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS

  • Late 1800s: cathode ray tube

  • 1880’s: Nipkow’s scanning disk

  • 1920’s: Zworykin’s iconoscope

  • 1920’s: Farnsworth’s image dissector tube

  • 1930: Farnsworth patents first electronic television


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Early TV broadcasting: 1940s

  • 1941: ten stations on VHF band

  • 108 stations by 1948 (major cities only)

  • FCC concerned about frequency allocation

  • FCC FREEZE on new licenses 1948-1952

  • Freeze lifted in 1952: 400 stations apply for and are granted licenses


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SINGLE SPONSORSHIP

  • Early TV programs usually conceived, produced and supported by one sponsor

  • Shows were extended advertisements

  • Sponsors, not networks, had total control over content


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How networks gained control of programming

  • Increased program length (raised production costs for sponsors)

  • New concept of “magazine” programming, with sales of spot ads

  • Introduction of “Spectaculars” (TV specials) with multiple sponsors

  • Quiz Show Scandal (1958-1959)


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NETWORK ERA of Television:1950s-1970sNBC, CBS, ABC


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Changes in TV industry (late 1950s)

  • Networks moved entertainment divisions to Hollywood

  • Network news operations (information divisions) remained in New York


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TV’S INFORMATION CULTURE

  • Nightly news began in 1948 (Camel News Caravan, NBC)

  • modeled after radio news

  • primarily averbal reportby an authoritative male anchorperson

  • imagesprovided support

  • 15-minute format


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TV’s ENTERTAINMENT CULTURE: THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION

  • Situation/domestic comedy

  • Variety shows/sketches

  • Anthology dramas

  • Episodic drama series

  • Continuing serials


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ECONOMICS OF TELEVISION

How are programs produced and distributed?


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Prime-Time Production

  • Programs created by film studios and independent production companies

  • Programs licensed to networks for a licensing fee (for 2 airings)

  • Networks sell ad slots to advertisers

  • Production companies lose money on network airing, but recoup it in syndication (deficit financing)


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DISTRIBUTION of TV Shows

  • Networks send national programming to affiliate stations

  • Each network has 150-200 affiliates

  • Network ownership of affiliates (O&O’s) was limited by FCC

  • Local affiliates sell local ad time

  • Affiliates have local control and choice


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SYNDICATION of TV Programs

  • Local TV stations and cable firms can buy syndicated programs

  • They acquire exclusive local market rights for specific length of time

  • Syndicated programs dominate hours outside prime time (fringe time)


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Types of Syndication

  • Off-network

  • First-run

  • Hybrid


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DECLINE of the NETWORK ERA

  • TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES

  • GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS

  • DEVELOPMENT OF NEW NETWORKS


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