Friday 28th July 2017,
Televisual

Talking Web TV With USC’s Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship

Talking Web TV With USC’s Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship

Full post at USC.

Earlier this month the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism presented a Research Seminar with Aymar Jean Christian, assistant professor of communication in the Media, Technology and Society program at Northwestern University. Christian discussed his tentatively titled manuscript, Off the Line: Independent Television and the Expansion of the Creative Economy, which examines independent television online.

M{2e} had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A with Christian after his Annenberg Research Seminar. His candid, and illuminating responses are posted below. For more information about Aymar Jean Christian, visit his website: Televisual.

Q: There’s been a lot of excitement over original web content this past year — new shows from web channels like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube (Machinima). What’s different or significant about this moment in television?

A: What’s happening now is a combination of factors making this moment different from previous web TV “bubbles.” There have been earlier moments of excitement: in the mid- to late-1990s when AOL and Microsoft started making web entertainment channels, and a few years ago when YouTube first took off. Now there are enough broadband users, financing models (ad networks and exchanges, subscription) and corporate interest to raise the bar for online programming: the “premium” space has opened up.

We’re seeing the beginnings of the real long tail in television. On the high-end you have programs from the broadcast and cable networks, where advertising and subscriptions amass billions, justifying franchises from The Voice to Game of Thrones. Then there are smaller cable networks and richer web networks, where production budgets are in the low millions, from Louie to Machinima’s Halo 4. Finally you have the indie space, where budgets are under $1 million but where there’s still a lot of creativity, some of which attracts enough fans and/or admirers to move up the ranks. This is where you’d have found Nickelodeon’s Fred a few years ago, or next year’s Broad City on Comedy Central. Television has never had such a rich ecosystem quite like this (of course, there have been spaces like public access) — unlike music and film, which has been this way for decades.

For the full interview, click here!

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

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