What difference has the internet made to media production and consumption?
What difference has the internet made to media production and consumption?
The internet is a world wide storage of information and entertainment which everyone has access to. With millions of websites, the internet allows people to look, interact and watch different things. The media depend on the internet for various things such as getting information out to the audience if it is a newspaper or a TV company. Being as the internet is extremely popular in these modern times, it is depended on for just about everything.
For the TV industry, the internet plays a big part. The majority of the thousands of TV channels there are available now; there is generally a website to support the channel. For example, the BBC is a multi – media conglomerate and produce various TV channels, radio stations and projects for the British public. They have a website to help support everything they produce. The BBC website includes many links and information for everything they do such as up to date new stories, weather updates, interactive games for the younger audience, sports news and updates and many links to other parts of the BBC website which will allow people to access. The BBC also offer a video on demand service called iPlayer which allows people to catch up or watch again any BBC programme for up to 30 days after being posted online. Without its own website, I believe that the BBC would not be as big as it is today.
Since the invention of the World Wide Web, there have been many changes to the TV industry. People are now able to access video on demand services in order to catch up on any programmes they have missed. The services available include BBC iPlayer, ITV player, Sky player, 4oD and TV Catch-up. All these services are free to use and available to everyone. An example of a service that didn’t successfully launch was a service called Project Kangaroo. The competition commission claimed that by bringing all the channels together (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc) then there would be no competition between any channels. This caused Project Kangaroo’s plans to be cancelled and to never be launched on the internet. As I have previously mentioned about the conglomerate BBC, without its own website it wouldn’t have the wide audience it has today and wouldn’t be as successful. This applies to all TV channels and companies as their websites help support the channels, they provide extra information for the audience to look up and certain channels also offer their own video on demand service. Without the internet, the TV industry wouldn’t be as successful as it is these days. However, the internet is being relied on more and more which is stopping people from actually watching TV. I have found that some of the younger generation are not watching TV as much as they used to as it doesn’t really appeal to them anymore. If they want to catch up with any programmes, they use a video on demand service via the internet.
TV companies are now expected to supply a website as an extra source of information for audiences to read up on. In this day and age, people have extremely easy access to the internet where they are able to “Google” anything they want and within seconds, they are free to wander the World Wide Web about whatever they want. Being as this is so easy to do, people now have easy access to any website they want to view and TV companies and channels are required to join in this revolution. Due to growing competition between companies, channels are constantly looking for new ways of gathering a bigger audience. Most channels (on their websites) have a VOD service, information about the channel, TV listings and much more. The only way of keeping these websites free to use for the public is through advertising as the BBC Virtual Revolution programme found. It said the even though websites such as Google, Flickr, VOD services and blogs are free to use, they still make their money by having links to advertisements at the side of the screen. The programme also said that when we click on one of the adverts, the advertising companies take a ‘cookie’ from the person’s browser which then allows the company to find adverts which apply to the individual’s needs and likes to catch their eye in future.
The invention of the BBC iPlayer found a whole new revolution to the way people use the internet. Iplayer was one of the first VOD services to be freely accessed by the public. Advertised through BBC adverts on TV and through the BBC website, the service is now very successful and used by many people across Britain. From this being released in 2007, the other channels ceased the opportunity to increase the competition and offer their own video on demand service also. The ITV player was launched shortly after BBC iPlayer in 2008 with Sky Player released the same year, 4oD was released on the internet in 2009 and TV Catch-up was launched in Beta on the internet in 2008. Even though there are more choices to how you can watch TV, BBC iPlayer still seems to be the most popular service to use. Services such as TV Catch-up allow people to watch many channels which are available on freeview. This is similar to the proposed Project Kangaroo but also different. TV Catch-up is publicly funded like BBC iPlayer whereas Project Kangaroo would have allowed it’s users to pay for the videos they wanted to watch. Video on demand services seem to more publicly funded and use advertising to help fund the service through the websites. This is to allow the public to enjoy free services at any time online but it is also a continuous argument. The argument being about whether so much content should be free to use via the internet. Even though advertising helps funds costs, companies are now discussing whether people should have to pay to use services such as video on demand and social networking sites.
The funding issue also affects the BBC as the licence fee is being brought into the argument. Only 75% of the people in the UK have the internet and ¼ of the population in the UK don’t have any internet access. The argument about the licence fee says that it pays for all BBC services including TV channels, radio and internet. But if a ¼ of people don’t have the internet, then how can they get the best use out of the fee they have to pay. This is a fair argument as I believe it isn’t completely fair they have to pay the same fee as everyone else but don’t get to use all the services. However, I believe that being as a large majority of the population do have internet access, then the fee shouldn’t change just for people without internet due to the iPlayer being a free service for all. The digital divide is also involved within this argument. The term ‘digital divide’ means that there is a split between people who have access to the internet and people who have limited or no access. The argument surrounding the digital divide discusses how unfair it is that people don’t have the equal access to internet sites and services even though they all have to pay the same amount of money. This digital divide is a worldwide issue and officials are discussing ways to overcome the issue. I believe that in this day and age, all people should have access to the internet and a computer and should be able to enjoy the free services which are available.
Now that video on demand service are available for free use, there has been an increase in internet use for services such as BBC iPlayer and TV Catch-up. The TV industry still survives as people do watch it still even though the internet seems more appealing to audiences these days. People are also able to download some programmes to watch rather than watch them on TV or use Video on Demand services, Due to technological advancements; people are now able to view video on demand services via different ways. These include iPhones, Xbox’s, PS3’s and mobile phones that are compatible. The BBC iPlayer and TV Catch up services now offer a free download to these products and people can now watch programmes a lot easier and on the move. Even though these services are trying to make viewing habits a lot easier to be accessed, there is still a huge amount of competition going on between channels and companies.