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The Role of Television - Essay Example

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For many people, television replaces reading and theatre, movie and other forms of entertainment. The introduction of television into society seems to have an important effect on frequent hobbies and activities, according to research done in Great Britain in the early 1990s as television was being introduced into that country. An initial decrease in all activities, but most infrequent activities tended to "rebound" after the novelty of television wore off. Television has yet a different meaning to teenagers as its role is limited (Charlton 2001). Most adults watch television for entertainment and information -- and as a means of "unwinding" from a long day of work. The effect television has on adults is different than the effect it has on children, however, not only because they watch different kinds of programs but also because they have a different understanding of the world. Television has become our most powerful and pervasive mass medium. Virtually no home is without a TV, even if there is no telephone. Families watch television an average of seven hours a day. Television has rapidly permeated both our public and private spaces; as TV sets have multiplied inside the home, they have also moved into hospitals, train stations, airplanes, restaurants, and even parks and beaches. For instance, reality shows and soap operas are the main forms of home entertainment for millions of people (Signorielli & Bacue 1999). The most popular are the Castaway, Celebrity Wrestling, The Experiment, Hells Kitchen. Watching these programs, people rely on television for much of their information about the world. It has surpassed newspapers as the primary source of news for most UK viewers In national emergencies, TV is where people turn for information and reassurance. This dependency on television endows it with considerable power-to focus national attention on a single event, to make or break a candidate, and to set the agenda for public debate (Charlton 2001).
Another important role of television is to gather and to hold and audiences. In this case, both programmers and advertisers are interested in this same question, then how do they measure success TV producers use a variety of methods, each with certain strengths and weaknesses, to measure the audience for an individual station or network. Advertisers and programmers know the size and the general composition of the television audience based on the information they receive from these audience counting services, of which there are several (Charlton 2001). These services draw a sample from the population of television viewers in order to estimate the audience at any given time. Several different sampling techniques are used to determine the information of interest, which includes: (a) when the television set is on and for how long, (b) what channel the set is tuned to, and (c) the demographic characteristics of who is watching, television is a device used to sell goods and services, sometimes to enhance the image of corporations, and occasionally, during elections, used to improve the image of politicians (Charlton 2001). Television informs viwers about the world, in part by showing us pictures of the human drama being enacted throughout the world, often as it is actually happening. Television's appeal knows few age, sex, or education barriers. Television is the universal informant. There are a lot of ...Show more


Television spreads very rapidly across UK society as soon as it first became available. Television has become an attractive and time-consuming device as soon as it is introduced it causes powerful and permanent reallocations of time. It is often reported that as television enters a society, attendance at a variety of public functions, including sports and movies, declines…
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