Television and the Remote Control: Grazing on a Vast Wasteland
Guilford Press, 1996 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 192 pages
With remote controls in more than 90% of U.S. homes, this device has single-handedly changed the way we watch television. No longer passive viewers, we have become television "users," able to exert greater control over the content of what we watch. In Television and the Remote Control, authors Bellamy and Walker provide the first comprehensive look at the remote control device and its significant impact on both television viewers and the television industry.
First, an overview places the diffusion of remote controls within the context of the history and economics of media industries, and from there the book explores the challenge of measuring remote control activity and presents the latest academic and industry research. Different viewer habits are described, such as "zapping" (using the remote control to avoid advertising and other undesirable content), "zipping" (avoiding content by fast-forwarding through recorded programming), and "grazing" (combining disparate program elements into an individualized program mix). The authors discuss the effects these behaviors have on television programming, promotion, and advertising. For example, many shows now lead directly into the next show with no advertising break between them, and ads have become shorter, with a rapid-fire pace that resembles the style of MTV.
Examining recent studies in remote control use, chapters feature time-saving tables for easy access to the major findings. Specific studies detail the motivations for and gender differences in remote control use, and their implications. The book concludes with a look at the remote control's role in the future of television.
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