The American Television Industry (International Screen Industries)

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9781844573370: The American Television Industry (International Screen Industries)
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In an age of proliferating choices, television nevertheless remains the most popular medium in the United States. Americans spend more time with TV than ever before, and many 'new media' forms, such as blu-ray movies, Hulu videos, and Internet widgets, are produced and delivered by the world’s most lucrative and powerful television industry. Yet that industry has undergone profound changes since the 1980s, moving from a three-network oligopoly to a sprawling range of channels and services dominated by a handful of major conglomerates. Viewers can now access hundreds of channels at all hours of the day and can search and select from hundreds of thousands of individual programmes on video and Internet services. This diversity has fragmented the size of television audiences and transformed relationships between viewers and television companies. Unlike the first fifty years of television, today's industry leaders can no longer rely on mass audiences and steady revenue flows from big-budget advertisers, and this in turn affects their programming and production strategies.

The American Television Industry offers a concise and accessible introduction to TV production, programming, advertising and distribution. Michael Curtin and Jane Shattuc outline how programmes are made and marketed, and provide an insightful overview of key players, practices and future trends. Although star-driven dramas and comedies continue to attract a great deal of critical praise and audience attention, television is increasingly characterised by niche programming services, that, with modest production budgets, compete for audience attention. In this environment, reality TV genres have emerged as attractive programming alternatives for cable services such as the History Channel and the Food Network. Moreover, programming is increasingly delivered on an a la carte, on-demand basis to a diverse array of viewing devices, such as iPods and cell phones. 

The book analyses the corporate strategies, technological innovations and cultural transformations that have driven changes in industry strategy, discourse and practice. Making reference to numerous case examples, the authors identify definitive trends and describe key players in industry and government. These are indeed vibrant but unstable times for the American television industry and this volume explains the major forces that will shape the future of the medium in North America and around the world. 

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About the Author:

MICHAEL CURTIN is the Mellichamp Professor of Global Media in the Department of Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara The author of Redeeming the Wasteland: Television Documentary and Cold War Politics (Rutgers, 1996) and Playing to the World's Largest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV (University of California Press, 2008), he is also Director of Global Studies and Associate Director of the UW International Institute.

JANE SHATTUC is Professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston. She has written primarily about American and European television industries and how their aesthetic and industrial forms relate to class and gender. Her books include: Television, Tabloids, Tears: Fassbinder and Popular Culture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995) and The Talking Cure: TV Talk Shows and Women (New York: Routledge, 1997). She co-edited Hop on Pop: the Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002) with Henry Jenkins and Tara McPherson.

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