The Media & Communications in Australia

By Stuart Cunningham; Graeme Turner | Go to book overview

12
Television and pay TV
Terry Flew

Television is the most widely used mass media form in Australia and in the world. About 99 per cent of Australians own at least one television and, on average, they spent over 20 hours a week—or 36 per cent of their leisure time— watching television programs (Productivity Commission 2000, p 62). From the moment of television's introduction in Australia in 1956, TV ownership took off quickly, reaching 80 per cent by 1964 and 90 per cent by 1971. Moreover, Australians have been keen to acquire ancillary services, such as video cassette recorders (VCRs), with 87 per cent of Australian homes having at least one VCR by 1998 (AFC 1998, p 212). Such trends have been replicated globally, leading to the observation that television has been ‘overwhelmingly the most pervasive contemporary mass medium’ (Collins 1990, p 22). It was estimated that about 1.2 billion households had at least one television in 1996, which was over double the number in 1984 (Thussu 2000, p 132). By far the largest growth in TV ownership was in Asia, where the number of television households grew from 88 million in 1984 to 302 million in 1994 (Barker 1997, p 4); these figures undoubtedly understate the full extent of TV ownership and consumption, as TV ownership booms in countries such as China and India.

Television's power and influence can be assessed through a number of indicators. The sheer volume of time that TV viewing occupies in people's lives points to its importance, and it has increasingly displaced the newspaper as the principal source of news and information for the majority of the population. It has also become increasingly apparent that television has become central to contemporary political and other public processes, and that the management of television images has become fundamental to the political process. For social critics such as Robert Putnam and Neil Postman, this pervasiveness of television is seen as the major cause of declining investment in social capital, indicated by

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The Media & Communications in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Contributors xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Part One - Introduction *
  • 1 - The Media and Communications in Australia Today 3
  • Part Two - Approaches *
  • 2 - Media and Communications: Theoretical Traditions 23
  • 3 - Political Economy and News 35
  • 4 - Policy 48
  • 5 - Textual Analysis 62
  • 6 - Representation 72
  • 7 - Audiences 85
  • Part Three - Industries *
  • 8 - The Press 101
  • Notes 115
  • 9 - Telecommunications and the New Economy 117
  • 10 - Radio 133
  • 11 - Film and Video 152
  • 12 - Television and Pay TV 173
  • Notes 186
  • 13 - Magazines 188
  • Notes 199
  • 14 - Advertising 200
  • 15 - Public Relations 217
  • 16 - Popular Music 226
  • 17 - The Internet and Online Communication 244
  • 18 - Video and Computer Gaming 258
  • Part Four - Issues *
  • 19 - Media Ethics After ‘Cash for Comment’ 277
  • 20 - New Media and New Audiences 293
  • 21 - Youth Media 304
  • 22 - The Future of Journalism 320
  • 23 - The Future of Public Broadcasting 330
  • Reference 344
  • Index 370
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