TV More Than Market

The dynamics of television and its electronic/digital spinoffs paint a picture whose focus shifts in the face of advancing technologies. Television has historically been a passive experience, recaptured only in reruns. However, now all manner and sort of television programming history is available in one media format or another. Perhaps as the history of television accumulates, patterns will emerge that not only track industry practices, profits and programming, but also connect with some of the same layered societal elements explored in The Wire. Simon’s approach as a journalist pays off in The Wire as noted in Lanahan’s Secrets of the City. Over five seasons, The Wire attempts to make sense of the criminal, educational, political, and media elements of a 100,000 piece urban jigsaw puzzle that has about 10,000 pieces missing and not a large enough surface on which to complete the puzzle. Most of our reading indicates that what has come through the tube, what is coming through now, and what will come through in the future acts as a measure and indicator of what the producers think the market will allow. DVD box sets, VHS sets and other media texts make up a kind of encyclopedia of knowledge that will be useful for study in fields that operate on the assumption that television has become more than market. Yes, television is an industry – almost everything is – but what is its purpose and sphere of influence. I’m waiting for the name of television to change to something that reflects its true nature, even though I’m sure I don’t know its true nature.

3 responses to “TV More Than Market

  1. I think on the question of what is televisions purpose: profit. As with every media industry the goal has always been what can be sold and the best way to do so. Even the Wire has a marketable base. Simon pitched the series as a way for HBO to take over part of network TV’s revenue and territory. I think a more pressing question would be: what do these motives mean for television? and how does being aware of this change the way we view such ‘ground-breaking’ series’ such as the wire.

  2. I like your logical about televisions purpose. In the readings it seems that Simon is set out to do a purpose with all of his works but we don’t get a clear sense of what it is. After we watch the Wire, what is it that Simon wants us to do? What do we do with this new knowledge about corrpution in differnet institutations in urban areas? Or with an understanding of life on the corner? Or with the life of a marine in Iraq? All of Simons works are chosen for a specific reason. Its because his journalistic instincts tell him that this is a story that must be told. Fine, after we hear the story what are we suppose to do? Its the norm to view television as a system that aims to seek profit by creating entertaining series for viewers.

  3. In the readings Simon talks a lot about how The Wire was a comment on how mid-level management gets screwed, which is evident in every sector. I don’t think that is his overall purpose as much as it is just to bring light to these different sectors and how they function, whether it be the educational system or the failing newspaper industry. When I watched the series I often found myself thinking, “Wow, I kind of want to be a teacher in an inner city” or “I could maybe be a detective chasing drug dealers, it looks pretty awesome.” So obviously I was convinced and I wanted to even try and do my part to help even as I reevaluate those initial thoughts. Simon I don’t think has as much of this purpose as you say and most television shows don’t have an agenda, but it was nice to think during The Wire.