Does live television increase viewership? Does it alter the entertainment factor of shows, knowing there may be a slip up at any point? Perhaps. But more importantly, should we be asking the question whether or not live television taps into the ideology of existing forms of social organisation?
Besides the familial routine of gathering around a television to watch a program, a crucial experience for viewers is to be able to talk to others about the content. Whether the program was broadcast the night before, or within the past week, television thrives off the collective experience each viewer has and the ability to share it with others. Social activity has become digitised especially on platforms such as that of Tumblr. Within a matter of minutes after, and/or during, episodes have aired, GIF’s are created alongside commentary of how fan’s “can’t even” begin to tell you all of their current emotions. They are also used as a catalyst for discussions, on forums, surrounding the program in general.
An interesting element of the screened breakfast show ('Sunrise'), in the lecture, is that these breakfast shows are able to create smaller communities within a nation while also bringing a nation together. The breakfast shows are only broadcast in certain areas, thus appeal to, and are created for, a particular audience. Used as a tool for identification, breakfast shows use particular stylistic elements to make for common ground between the hosts and every day Australians. This creates a prominent public sphere for individuals.
For example in the cited Sunrise video clip, we are able to see the informal nature of the presenters addressing audiences at home. Talking about general dress attire for the Melbourne Cup, while casually pointing out to the rest of the crew on the show, a comparison made between breakfast shows and that of nightly news, is that breakfast broadcasts are more relatable to the Australian ritual of general conversations between people. The way the hosts speak to each other seems to be in an improvised manner, until they move on to the next segment, for the sake of the program’s agenda.
As described by Orvar Löfgren, the role of cultural thickening of the “nation-state and geo-political space [transformed] into a cultural space” (Hepp, 2011) allows for public and private spheres to be exposed to content that instigates what the Australian identity is, or should be. Breakfast shows in this manner, are able to tap into the domestic sphere by linking national public content into the private lives of its citizens through every day news. In the Sunrise segment, the hosts were able to integrate conversation surrounding the Melbourne Cup and the presentation of men sharpening up and dressing appropriately, into casual conversation. There will always be national ideologies inserted into any broadcast medium, whether they are the views of the station or the presenter when merely improvising (such as the Sunrise example).
Similar to breakfast shows, the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony shares what David Morley describes as the “synchronized experience” (p331); people watching the same thing at the same time. Despite the difference in time zones, there was the option to rise at 3am for viewers on the opposing side of the world to watch the ceremony occur live from London. Though with the introduction of cable television, such as Foxtel IQ, TiVo and online downloads, users are able to record programs to watch at their own accord.
Hepp, Andreas, “Media Culture as a Concept”, Cultures of Mediatization, 2011,page N/A, cited 19/08/14, <http://books.google.com.au/books?id=35VvAej8LgAC&pg=>
Morley, David. “At home with television”, Television after TV, L Spigel, J Olsson eds., Duke University Press, 2004. p303 - 319. Print.