Category Archives: Television

Television Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

NAB 2017: Next Gen TV is Coming!

While at the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB) we saw all types of technologies one could imagine. One of the largest booths there was the NextGen TV Hub booth. NextGen TV explained the future of TV; how streaming and broadcast TV would be become one. This was the answer our group had been looking for! Broadcast TV was not afraid of competing with streaming because of new legislation being brought forward by the FCC that will allow TV stations to broadcast using the ATSC 3.0 format, a newer version of the digital transmission format used today.

Next Gen TVThis was better explained at the session tittled “DTV: The Next Generation.” Here, we sat down and listened to companies who will be assisting with this new merger between streaming and broadcast television. They discussed the positive effects that are to come with the merger and what they hope to see with the new creation coming to the world of television. So with the blending between the two digital platforms, the future looks bright for TV and streaming as they become one. Watch our video on Next Gen TV from the NAB Show for more details!

NAB Pre-Report: TV Steps Into The Future with a New Standard

Another year, another NAB Show. As UNI Digital Media students prepare for this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, there are a variety of trends and topics to see and experience. An interest of this year’s showgoers was how TV technology is changing to create better content, and one of the biggest things on display at the 2017 NAB Show for TV is the next generation of TV, dubbed ATSC 3.0.

TV

This new generation of technology creates a lot of new possibilities when it comes to the broadcasting of TV. With higher quality screens becoming more popular, broadcasts will now be able to handle 4K Ultra HD when the ATSC 3.0 standard goes into effect. High Dynamic Range (HDR) footage will also be able to be fully utilized thanks to this new standard.

This new ATSC 3.0 standard will be highlighted at the 2017 NAB Show this year in the NextGen TV Hub. This hub will showcase all of the benefits of the new ATSC 3.0 standard and will also be showing off a local broadcast from KLSV-LD utilizing this new technology. LG has gotten in on the ground floor of this technology and will be airing the ATSC 3.0 broadcast on TV’s that support the new standard. The technology will soon be included in all new TV’s, in preparation for 4K and HDR screens becoming mainstream. This new technology will also be utilized during the broadcast of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games from South Korea.

Other TV markets have been testing this new broadcast technology in places like North Carolina, Washington DC, Portland and Madison, Wisconsin. The FCC is allowing stations to begin using this new standard on voluntary basis, as well as issuing experimental licenses for those who wish to test out ATSC 3.0.

This new standard isn’t limited to the broadcast and TV industries, however. There is a strong possibility that the mobile, automotive and home technology industries will also take advantage of this new standard, as content is being viewed on more than just TV’s today. ATSC 3.0 and its automotive uses will be highlighted at this year’s show, as well as other industries, at the ATSC 3.0 Pavilion.

-Mitch Diamond, Chris Dummer, Taylor Peterson

Hacking the President: Marketing Mr. Robot Season 2

When it comes to marketing, the internet as we know it today has brought along countless possibilities. There are tons of different avenues to promote your new piece of content or new invention, outside of the traditional “Madison Avenue” route of the past. TV and movies are limited only by the creativity of the teams assigned to market a specific piece of media. With USA’s Mr. Robot, the marketers had to think of ways to get viewers new and old to tune in to its premiere in July of 2016. The shows technical subject matter allowed for a clear theme to push the marketing in a good direction. Here are the top assets used in the marketing and promotions leading up to Mr. Robot Season 2.

mr. robot

The first thing to consider is the show’s background. Mr Robot is a drama thriller and premiered on USA Network in June of 2015 The show is centered around the main character, Elliot Alderson and his involvement with E Corp. Elliot, who is played by Rami Malek, is a cybersecurity engineer at E Corp, but is also a hacker when he is away from work. He suffers from social anxiety and depression. The show’s marketing for season 2 was centered around technology, which makes sense given the shows subject matter. The marketing was also trying to bring Fsociety, the hacker group from the show, to life outside of Mr. Robot.

The first marketing event that happened leading up to season 2 was the claim that USA Network was hacked and the first episode of season two was leaked online. It was released on Snapchat, Twitter and even YouTube. It was later even seen on USA Networks on website, revealing that it may have been an inside job. Fsociety claimed to be the source of the leak, claiming “You deserve something new, something unexpected, something you’ve never seen before.” The episode was taken down soon after the it was “leaked” on several platforms.

mr. robotThe next big marketing ploy helped bring Fsociety to life even more. The group began doing its own live streams in July 2016, before the season premiere. They were done in thirteen different countries and teased bits and pieces of the first episode as part of the stream.

The last big tactic used by the marketing team behind Mr. Robot was the inclusion of President Obama in the show. The President is seen holding a press conference, in which he discusses Fsociety. The video was created with the help of visual effects, as well as the use of an Obama impersonator.

The marketing campaign was a success, with over 110,000 tweets surrounding the premiere. 35,000 of them were seen before the premiere, associated with excitement and anticipation of the upcoming season. The rest came after the premiere, with a total of 30% showing the excitement and anticipation for the next episodes

Chris Dummer

The SEC and CBS: The Crimson Tide Brings in More Than Just National Championships

It’s a crisp Saturday morning in October. The air in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is filled with thick, alluring barbecue smoke. It is game day, and the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are poised for yet another victory. This is a typical Saturday not only in Tuscaloosa, but for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as a whole. People take SEC football seriously down there, and it shows in more ways than one. Consistent victory is an expectation of SEC teams, sure. But take a look behind the curtains, and we’ll see a different level of dominance.

SEC games are in high demand for sports fans, so who’s the lucky sonofabitch distributor that gets to provide it? CBS has had a tight wrap on SEC content for two decades, and they very much intend to keep it that way.

sec cbsSince 1996, CBS has been the main television partner for the SEC. While other networks have rights to distribute SEC content, CBS gets a “first dibs” of sorts. For example, CBS airs all weekly in-conference games and out of conference games where the SEC team is the home team. If the particular game in question does not meet either of these two stipulations, the ESPN Family of Networks has the broadcast rights.

Despite having the rights to broadcast great football, CBS is not without its competition from the environment. We are living in a period of great change, and while the NFL is feeling the negative effects of this change, Southeastern Conference games are enjoying a steady increase in viewership. But why?

It all comes down to Saturday.

All college football is played on Saturdays. The reasoning for this is that since no NFL games are on Saturdays but rather Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, the two will not have to compete for what is mostly a shared audience. Saturdays are also the most optimal days for the student athletes to participate in both their academics and sport effectively.

This formula has worked well in the past, but a new social climate is beginning to steal viewership away from football, NFL primetime games especially.

Take for instance any of the seven games of the 2016 World Series. ALL seven games outperformed the last month of NFL primetime games. In fact, game seven was the most watched baseball game of the last decade and a half, garnering a massive 25.2 rating.

NFL primetime games also had to compete with two of the three presidential debates, which of course did not pan out well for them.

So why through all of this environmental turmoil can the SEC on CBS stay afloat? I may be biased, but I firmly believe the Alabama Crimson Tide has a strong pull that cannot be ignored.

sec crimson tideIn fact, if we were to take the top ten most watched SEC on CBS games, seven of them featured Alabama, whether they won or lost.

sec games

While CBS has “first dibs” status on all in-conference SEC games, their contract stipulates that they can only broadcast five games of one particular team per season. Guess which team they maxed out on for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons? CBS even paid ESPN a premium to allow them to broadcast a sixth Alabama game in 2015, being the much hyped in state rivalry game, the Iron Bowl.

While the numbers speak for themselves, I highly recommend you turn on your television and watch Alabama play football. They have the ability to inspire much more than national championships.

-Cal Gruening

Streaming TV: Is Amazon Prime the Jester?

Netflix is the King of streaming TV. Hulu is the Prince. Is Amazon Prime the Jester? Is Amazon relevant in this online streaming war? Amazon has made huge strides in online shopping. However, online video streaming is a different story for Amazon.

amazon primeLet’s begin with Amazon Prime vs Netflix. Prime costs a dollar less per month than Netflix which is nice, but is it really? According to money expert Matt Granite from USA Today, he says that Netflix has more selection and a better interface than Amazon. However, Amazon Prime gives you free two-day shipping and unlimited photo storage.

Next is Hulu. According to Business Insider, Hulu costs $7.99 per month (with ads) while Prime is about $8.25 per month. So Hulu is cheaper (at the expense of watching ads), but what does that mean for Amazon Instant Video? Well, Amazon does not have ads, but Hulu can get you the latest television episodes.

If you want to know how many subscribers each video streaming service has, here are some statistics. Netflix has more than 86 million subscribers worldwide (CNN Money), Amazon Prime has around 60 million subscribers (CNBC), and Hulu has around 12 million (CNN Money).

Amazon Prime Man In The High Castle

According to Caroline Nolan from The Street, “Without Amazon Prime membership, you will be paying $12 on average for two-day shipping on each purchase.” (Nolan, 1). If I bought two items from Amazon every month with two-day shipping without Prime, that would equal around $288 every year. However, this is shopping and spending all that extra money might be a problem!

I think a huge obstacle with Amazon Prime is their name. When people think of Amazon Prime, they think online shopping and not online video streaming. What Amazon needs is a clever name, and I might be able to help.

What Amazon should have called their online video streaming service is Amazon River. That is clever compared to Amazon Prime or Amazon Instant Video. It helps Amazon by making them more diversified. So Jeff Bezos, if you’re reading this, call me.

Anyway, when it comes to online video streaming, Netflix is the King (or Queen), Amazon is the Prince (or Princess), and Hulu seems to be lowly Jester. Amazon is relevant in the streaming wars, but I think they need to work on their identity. So, Amazon is relevant, but at the same time they almost aren’t, due to an undefined identity.

So, which is the best? Well, it depends. If you want television shows and you want it cheap, you can choose Hulu. If you want television and movies together, you can choose Netflix. If you are an online shopper and are not much of a television watcher but still want online video streaming, you can choose Amazon Prime.

What also matters is what shows and movies you want to watch. Amazon has Transparent and The Man in the High Castle, Netflix has Stranger Things and Luke Cage, and Hulu has The Awesomes and The Mindy Project.

I have also received word that Hulu has struck a deal with Disney and Fox to have live sports. This is exciting to see and unexpected to see. We’ll see what happens to Hulu in the future. This of course is a conversation for a different time.

Personally, I love Amazon Prime. I have had it for about a couple years now and I am quite satisfied with the two-day shipping and television shows. That is of course when I have time to watch them. The Man in the High Castle is pretty good.

What do you think about the streaming wars? Do you have Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, or all three? Comment below and tell me what you think.

Kyle Konigsmark

Watching OTT: Is The Selection of Devices Over The Top?

With the rise in popularity of watching content online through streaming services, many companies are looking to create devices to make watching a variety content easier on your TV. These devices can be stand-alone products like Google’s Chromecast or TV’s with similar features from manufacturers like LG. These devices are making our TV watching experience more enjoyable, but with some many devices out there, which one should people go with? We will take a look at the different products and see which device may be the best investment for the future of TV.

ott apple TVTV is not just what is on cable or broadcast over the air anymore. TV has become mostly digital and is now obtained in many areas. The first companies to release these devices were Apple and Roku, with their Apple TV and Roku DVP, respectively. These devices were released almost 10 years ago and started the push for content outside of your cable subscription. These devices saw the early adoption of Netflix and Hulu, both streaming services that gained momentum around 2010. These services brought many new challenges, both in getting the content to your TV and getting content to these services.

As many companies released their own services to stream and/or purchase media, people needed new places to take advantage of this content and its high quality. This brought devices like Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV and even a new breed of HDTV’s, dubbed Smart TV’s to market. These devices all had a similar goal, bringing the content that had been collected over the years on streaming services back to the TV.

Each of these devices catered to its company’s proprietary services, but also supported the services that had the top spots in the market. Even devices like game consoles started to support streaming services, leading to less devices under your TV. They all would evolve with the adoption of new technologies, some supporting TV newest change, Ultra HD or 4K resolution.

As these platforms gained popularity with 3rd party streaming services, TV and cable networks wanted to get their content on these devices. TV Everywhere was the first step, a platform that brought TV episodes online after they aired, only requiring your account details to confirm you had access to the channel. TV Everywhere is now available on most devices that offer Netflix and Hulu compatibility, as it only requires a browser or app to watch content.

ott google chromeThe spread of TV consumption was investigated by GFK in an Over The Top TV study they conducted. In terms of TV Everywhere, it found that DirecTV customers were the largest users of the service, overtaking the founders, Time Warner, who led in consumption the last two years. The study also claims that the most popular device is a Roku, with Chromecast coming into a close second. Chromecast and Roku are continuing to release new devices and the Chromecast Ultra is Google’s newest edition, featuring 4K content support and improved WiFi functionality.

In the technology space, people are always looking for what’s best. Some have tried to answer that question, but only you can decide what is right for you. If you game on a PS4, it makes sense to also use it as streaming device, making the purchase of a Fire TV not necessary. All of these over-the-top TV devices do similar things, making the decision more about what device fits you and less about which is “best”.

Chris Dummer

High-Tech Storytelling: How New Technology is Revolutionizing Broadcast Television

Turn on the five o’clock news on your local TV station and you’ll see that the anchors are no longer sitting behind their usual desk with a generic background. Instead, they are standing by a plasma TV, or in front of a wall of monitors showing a local cityscape.

storytellingOver the past few decades, broadcast news has become more popular than print news. Instead of reading articles in the Sunday paper as a main source of news, TV viewers are able to get their information, and a lot of it, in a much shorter time. Visual aspects (video and graphics) and sound bites, allow the viewer to understand the story better. But now the evolution of the Internet is challenging TV news.

Many people today, especially millennials, are getting most of their news from websites and social media. Cord-cutters and cord-nevers are now threatening TV news outlets with the fear that their scheduled broadcast will one day become irrelevant.

In order to remain relevant and gain viewership, stations are now using the latest technology to upgrade their sets and to tell the story in new and appealing ways.

News studios are starting to become much more tech-savvy. Anchors and reporters continue to use traditional desks, but are surrounded by monitors and are able to move to plasma TV’s or a multipurpose center that includes monitors and can be used in a variety of ways.

KING 5 News in Seattle, Washington is an example of a studio that recently made the upgrade. The studio is a 360-degree set, which means the anchors and/or reporters can deliver the news from any point in the set, giving them flexibility. Eleven additional cameras were added to allow for this to happen. The studio is filled with LED lights that gives the set a modern feel. Anchors there say the new set helps them to tell stories better and give the viewers at home a better understanding of the story.

A local example of this would be KWWL in Waterloo. Recently, the station built a brand new set similar to KING 5 in many ways. The set includes a desk, monitors, and high-definition quality along with a designated weather center that is also surrounded by many monitors and computers. The purpose of this technology is to give viewers an innovative way to see the news and understand the story.

Along with high-tech studios, TV stations are also using new technology to tell the story better out in the field. TV news drones are starting to become much more popular. Drones are portable and are fairly easy to operate. Drones are best used for giving the viewer a better sense of a natural disaster or a scene, like a major car crash, that can help keep viewers safe.

TV news drones are also starting to replace TV news helicopters because they are less expensive, portable, quieter, and they can fly closer to the ground.

storytelling

Along with drones, some stations are starting to experiment with 360 cameras. These cameras allow the viewer to see every angle of a scene all at once. The BBC experimented with 360 cameras in the Swiss Alps and they were able to pull off a broadcast with immersive views from all perspectives. While they were successful, the camera crews decided that 360 video is best when it is on online platforms. This is because viewers can interact with the 360 images and choose what they want to see. Producers believe that 360 video also is only suitable for some stories.

While TV news is trying to tell the story better and gain viewership with new technology, it may not be everything viewers want. Keeping up with modern technology is a positive thing, but when it comes to news, if the content is not there it may not be as positive as stations think. Comments on articles about studio “set theory” explained how viewers don’t necessarily care about the technology, they care about the quality of the stories that are being presented. Going forward, TV news stations should try and keep up with the latest technology, but should not forget good quality journalism that many people may seek when tuning into their broadcast.

Casey Allbee

Onscreen Superheroes: Will they Live or Die?

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”  -Harvey Dent.

This very quote can be applied to the superhero screen genre, from Marvel and DC comics especially. When the first superhero films and TV shows came out, fans couldn’t get enough and were clamoring for more. Now after the superhero genre has dominated the box office the last few years, and even started to take over certain networks on TV, there are those who believe it has become overplayed and are predicting its demise.

Since the year 2000, Marvel and DC have produced a combined total of 54 movies, which comes to about four movies per year. While this number doesn’t seem that large, the average rises significantly when you take a look at just the past five years, with an average of more than five movies per year. Next year alone there are seven superhero flicks scheduled for release from the two powerhouse comic franchises.

Superhero movie release

You may assume that I am part of the group that believes that the market for superheroes is oversaturated and needs to slow down for fear of falling apart. On the contrary, I love how the superhero genre is flourishing right now and it is my belief that is will continue to do so. I hope the genre continues to find success and will be here for the long run.

Some have likened superhero films as today’s modern western. Some find that comparison a sign of good fortune and others a sign of doom. For example, Steven Spielberg stated, “We were around when the Western died, and there will be a time when the superhero move goes the way of the Western.”

On the opposite side, screenwriter Stephen McFeely one of the writers of Captain America Winter Soldier, believes that superhero movies are the new Western, but not based on their similarities in popularity, but grounded in the ideals they embody. Ideals about honor and looking out for the little guy.

In the wake of film box office success, superhero TV shows have become increasingly popular. With some networks, such as the CW, and streaming services, like Netflix, offering many new shows. The CW is even referred to as the DC Channel. With the addition of Supergirl to its lineup the network now has four shows DC comics properties.

Netflix has also made deals with Marvel, with three current Netflix/Marvel original series in its lineup, and with many more to follow. Are superhero television series dependent on the success of the movies, or will television shows continue to stand on their own?

You may wonder what will happen when they run out of superhero storylines to adapt. How will they continue to succeed? But don’t forget that superhero movies are not based on fact or history they are movies based on works of fiction and comics are always expanding and the storylines are ever changing.

Marvel Comics has recently introduced a number of new characters, and these characters have yet to be incorporated into films. There is the new Iron Man character, Riri Williams, and new Spiderman character, Miles Morales. These new characters will allow for additional movies.

Superhero Riri Williams   Superhero miles morales

Another factor that comics fans sometimes don’t take into account is the use of time travel, as used X-Men Days of Future Past. The use of time travel in a film or television series allows for the slate to wiped completely clean and start new. You can even using the same characters in different ways.

I truly believe that the superhero genre is here to stay and is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, with the introduction of new characters and storylines I think it is only going to increase in popularity for the years to come.

Colin Stroehle