Posted by: richardlp | October 26, 2015

The Increasing Spreadability of Television Media

The amount of shows that are illegally downloaded for personal use ever increases, to the dismay of innumerable production companies. However, as was explained in Chapter 3 of The Spreadable Media, the shows’ creators do not necessarily share those companies’ disdain for the law-breaking individuals characterized as pirates. These creators maintain that the current nature of the television industry is too dependent upon “sticky” advertising slots, meaning that audience measurement is determined by the amount of viewers who tune in at a particular time, for a particular broadcast; and those who tune in for the broadcast are not the only ones who view the show. How then, these creators wonder, can the television industry adapt to become more “spreadable?”

It seems to me that such a shift is already in progress, considering that many shows now are released by the season, to be watched at the consumer’s leisure through applications like Netflix and Hulu. It also seems that this encourages “binge watching,” and I can’t help but wonder how this trend could affect our social realities, especially if it becomes the new norm for how we consume media. Whereas broadcast schedules used to moderate our consumption, we are now left to moderate it ourselves. Maybe that’s progress, but still it’s worth asking: when should the consumption of media (entertainment media especially) be considered overconsumption? Is too much media consumption really such a bad thing?

The effects of overconsumption, as depicted by Pixar’s 2008 movie, Wall-E.

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