This book deals with the Internet’s influence on television. The traditional value chain has been transformed, giving rise to new forms of television that foster user generated content. We no longer dream about interactivity but participation. Accordingly, the “digital natives” like to tag programs and films in the cyberspace, each conveniently tagged so that other users can find it. Although many questions have yet to be answered, this decade’s motto may be “the tag is the medium”. However, on-demand television is unlikely to replace mass TV. The Web 2.0 has brought an end to the “my TV” concept of the dotcom age and may put “our TV” in its place.
These changes pose serious problems. The industry is facing the real threat of revenue cannibalization because current online business models are not financially rewarding. The Internet is not yet a profitable market for programs that require additional revenues to advertising. To date, the box office, video and premium television have been the main sources of revenue of the audiovisual industry.
This book explores the factors at play in this shift. It reveals the contradictions of cyber-Utopia, where the Net is thought to be horizontal, free, devoid of ownership and content-neutral; where a different kind of entertainment and communication can be shared freely, beyond the clutches of traditional companies. However, it also stresses the pivotal role of users in shaping this new medium that will not bow down to the old way of media use. User-generated content and an array of applications will give rise to the “anyone/anywhere/anytime” viewer. Current technology affords unlimited access to channels, and disperses the audiences. The flexibility of Internet-connected devices entails a new dictatorship of the audience, multiplatform contents and distribution, and a permanent Internet connection.
Focusing on the social and economic implications of this transformation, the book provides a critical perspective on the emerging of new television forms of audiovisual entertainment, while simultaneously it brings the debate on the future of TV medium. It is a timely contribution to the audiovisual industry.