Com597c-Week 6: Traditional Media is An Old Dog

August 4, 2009

What is a show? Why does duration matter? And why the need to classify this stuff?”
As we start to realize this crazy internet media stuff isn’t just a “flash in the pan” we want to define what is what. We should be thankful that this is our task rather than organizing the alphabet, speech or mathematical equations. Video took the internet by storm mainly since YouTube hit in February 2005 and this is because of the tool that YouTube is as a publisher for the masses rather than for their content. Here we are four-and-a-half years later wanting to know what we classify as what in really a babe in its’ evolution.

I’m not engulfed in the video community like others, so from my perspective a segment of video has to have these characteristics for me to call it a show: video editing, characters and a plot. Quality has nothing to do with it being a show, but if it doesn’t show me a story, a narrative, about a noun then it isn’t a show. I wouldn’t call the nightly news a show because despite giving me a narrative of plenty of nouns it fails to give me a unifying plot.

The duration doesn’t not matter in definition because the internet as a distribution model only causes disruption to norms. Historically we would call a show 30 minutes to an hour, and anything longer is a movie. In some cases a movie gets to long for that title, then we call it a series. But plenty of people can produce content that displays over 30 seconds rather than 30 minutes that will establish characters, a plot and requires video editing. This quick format is not just done by the amateurs with no experience or equipment. For example, Showtime has produced a YouTube show called University of Andy which is a sub-show to the popular show Weeds that airs on Showtime. Even without seeing the “real” show, you understand who Andy is and what his life is about.

The need to organize, define and classify this stuff is not necessary for it to continue or “succeed” on the net. I would ask who needs this classification? I don’t, so it’s not needed by anyone else. My itch tells me that this need for boxes to drop everything in to is more necessary for the networks and those instituted in traditional media, more or less because it would be easier for them to drop something new in to one of their classification rather than them learning or accepting something new. In media, it’s very hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

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