Magazine article USA TODAY

Ties Growing between TV and the Internet

Magazine article USA TODAY

Ties Growing between TV and the Internet

Article excerpt

Recent changes promise to alter the face of television markedly and permanently, predicts Jennings Bryant, director of the Institute for Communication Research, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. He says the first dramatic change will be the increasing tie-ins between TV and the Internet. From sports programming to children's shows, viewers increasingly are being enticed to keep one eye on the television set and the other on the computer screen.

"A plethora of more advanced options have been developed, and 2001 should be the year of the engaged sports fan. I say engaged because the average visitor to ESPNgo.com during a sportscast takes far fewer viewing breaks than viewers who watch the games with both eyes on the television screen, and they report being far more involved with the teams and the sports contest. This year will also see the business model of this convergence of TV and Web begin to catch up with spectator involvement. Increasingly, outlandish fan paraphernalia picked up by a network camera, a windbreaker just like the coach is wearing, and the like can be ordered online with a click of the mouse. Experts predict that online spending associated with sportscasts will reach $3,000,000,000 by 2003."

He points out that children's programmers are equally committed to reaping the rewards of media convergence. A number of techniques for enticing kids and their parents to migrate to the program's website during and after television viewing are being tested, with the goal of moving children from the program into interactive games, puzzles, and adventures in which the child interacts with favorite characters online, forsaking other shows. …

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