Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Topic selection/research aims and objectives
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Chapter 3: Methodology
Chapter 4: Discussion and Presentation of Results
Chapter 5: Conclusion and Reflection
Since the birth of popular television (TV), watching has come to play a major role in peoples’ lives. In this time, television has gone from being broadcast only in black and white with very few channels to being broadcast in full colour with a myriad of television channels. Technological advances, especially those promoted by the internet, have allowed viewers to take control of how they view TV and where and when they watch it. Millions of people around the world view some sort of television broadcast every day.
This study investigated whether the advent of internet-broadcast television has a major impact on how people watch television programmes together with their reasons for choosing to watch television via the internet as opposed to more traditional platforms. Television once again is changing and developing in a new market and this study wanted to explore how these new developments are fitting into people’s lives. This study used the approach of Quantitative research and had a sample of 55 respondents. The results in the study discovered internet television is being embraced by people and counts towards their viewing habits.
Chapter 1: Topic selection/research aims and objectives.
This paper intends to look into the growth of the viewing of television shows through the internet and how it is expanding both through the increasing of online content by traditional mainstream broadcasters (programmes and news content) and the creation of content that is now increasingly aimed only at the online viewer (specifically via subscription channels).
In the current market, there has been a huge growth in the viewing of television online with viewers choosing to view television shows in other ways rather than just in the more traditional set-based means.
When the idea of being able to access television through the internet was first discussed, many people thought this would be an impossible task to perform and that it would never happen.
Technology is allowing us to expand on how we receive content such as television shows. Television shows are not just for the ‘box’, so to speak, anymore but for many different platforms. When the idea of viewing content away from the television set was first proposed (in the 1990s), desk-top computers contained less memory and processing power than now (and were not so widely distributed amongst the population) and the data streaming power allowed through broadband was nowhere near what it is today. Laptops were slow and bulky and mobile phones were only used to phone and text, so the idea of any of these devices carrying television output was unheard of amongst the general population. But, as technology has developed (especially with the development and growth of broadband internet provision) and the demand has grown for more online content, so demand from people wanting to access television content where and whenever they want has grown. This could also be attributed to the fact that wireless-free internet (Wi-fi) is now accessible almost anywhere in most towns and cities and is present throughout most homes, thus allowing people to access internet content when and where they wish to.
More and more TV companies have invested money into online content which includes allowing viewers to choose when they want to watch a show. In addition to this, independent companies such as ‘Netflix’ and ‘Hulu’ (subscription channels) are creating original programmes, without the big broadcasters behind them, aimed specifically at the online rather than the traditional television viewer. This is very interesting because people are now stepping away from mainstream television and the traditional culture of television viewing is changing.
The research aim of this paper is to determine the impact of the rise of internet television in people’s lives.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Internet television was created by Zenith Electronics Corp (Van, 1996). ‘Such hybrids, or "teleputers," have been predicted by industry observers for years, and several computer-makers use technology that enables people to watch TV on computers’. (Van, 1996).
The word “teleputers” was constructed by Michael Aldrich in 1980, after he invented a ‘Multi-functional home computer/television/networked computer terminal’. (Aldrich, 2011).
‘In 1988 and 1989, AOL, (then Quantum) had an online story called the “Quantum Link Serial” (created by Tracy Reed) which used chat, e-mail and traditional storytelling’. Audience participation also played a key part in the development of the story and it became the ‘highest rated text segment’. (Swaine, 2008).
Following on from this, in 1995-1997 came a new web show called The Spot (from the creator Scott Zakarin. The Spot was set in California and followed the lives of people who lived in a beach house together. ‘Predating the rise of blogs, the site featured individual web pages or diaries of each of the houses’ roommates’ (Christian, 2012).
As broadband speeds have increased this has allowed for videos to be streamed faster and for servers to take on the demands that cater for these services.
Internet Television allows viewers to have more control over what they watch. This therefore has allowed users to access content whenever they want and wherever they want to access it.
As technology has developed, Internet Television is no longer just about accessing videos through a main computer which was one of the original concepts; laptops, mobile phones and pc tablets have allowed users more accessibility.
‘Seventy-five per cent of consumers globally have used a desktop computer to view video content; 72 per cent have watched video on a laptop; and 63 per cent have watched video on a mobile device or Internet-connected TV’. (Patel, Vernocchi and Venturini 2011).
More and more ‘traditional’ main-stream television networks in the US and the UK such as ABC, BBC, ITV and NBC, are promoting the fact that their shows are available online, but this is essentially directly through their own video streaming services (e.g. the BBC’s I-Player) which is streamed through the network's websites or applications (apps). With the streaming of television shows online, also come advertisements which allow the television networks to invest in such on-demand programming.
Television shows can now be accessed away from the television set not only after they have been aired on the traditional box but also when they are being broadcasted live. This is done by technology and streaming. (Noam, Groebel and Gerbarg, 2011).
The growth of services such as those as iTunes, Netflix and Hulu allow users to access both content that is free of charge (free-to-view), which depending on the services can be somewhat limited, and premium content that is available through some form of subscription (pay-per-view). Having content which users have to pay for allows these services to create original programming and, in theory at least, to also deliver a high standard of television shows and movies.
‘These aggregator sites are the result of partnerships between networks and production companies and, consequently, offer a broader range of programs than the network sites’. (Logan, 2011)
Cugnini (2011) describes the process of video streaming.’ Video content is pre-stored on servers and delivered to consumer devices as streamed files; the experience
can be PC- or STB-based. The content is sent over a TCP-IP connection to the
user, much the same way as web pages are sent to an Internet browser’.
Moreover, like traditional television, advertisements are also placed on the video streaming websites. ‘Hulu shows only one-quarter as many ads-two minutes for every 22 minutes of content, as opposed to eight on TV’. (Kirkpatrick and Lashinsk, 2008)
Netflix have created their own original shows like The House of Cards and in May 2013, exclusively streamed the hit show Arrested Development after years of it being off a main television network. The show originally broadcasted on the Fox Network in the United States in 2003 and came to an abrupt end by the network in 2006.
Before the re- launch of Arrested Development on May 26th there was a huge buzz about the show online from the fans via social network websites such as Facebook Twitter and Tumblr and the media.
In a report by Cullen (2013), they discussed the data surrounding the weekend of Arrested Development (season 4) on Netflix being available to stream. Two of the points included;
‘Arrested Development represented 10% of all Netflix traffic on one University network in the US’.
‘Xbox and PS3s generated the most traffic for Arrested Development on fixed line networks. This is pretty common on most networks, with consoles usually being the favoured Netflix viewing device, as well as supporting the highest resolution streaming today’.
Logan (2011) argues that ‘Online streaming video (OTV) appeals to a young audience that is difficult to reach on traditional television owing to their light television viewership and heavy usage of technology’. Viewers are moving away from the main television ‘set’ there once was and using online content because they no longer have to be tied to a television schedule to watch or to catch up on their favourite shows. The traditional ways of watching these shows is moving forward to a more viewer friendly dynamic. Although at the same time, video game consoles allow users to utilise services such as YouTube and Netflix and enable these to be streamed through their systems to a television so that viewers are still able to watch internet-based television through their LCD/HD sets for example.