Television: A Dying Medium

The act of print has been around for a very long time, evolving as we advance into new technologies. In the reading, McLuhan explains that once TV came into the picture, comics when into a decline.

“It is, perhaps, obvious enough that if a cool medium involves the viewer a great deal, a hot medium will not. It may contradict popular ideas to saythat typography as a hot medium involves the reader much less than did manuscript, or tonetflix-hp point out that the comic book and TV as cool media involve the user, as maker and participant, a great deal (McLuhan p. 179).”

Back then; the transition from going from strictly print to where television came into play was a big deal. Well now, many years later as technology has developed into something that I doubt could have been imagined back then. As a 22 year old, still going through college, Television is not high on my priority list. Not to say that I don’t watch shows or movies, I just use a different medium. The Internet provides me with all the television shows and movies that my heart desires. The question is that as time goes on, will the Internet be the decline of television as television was the decline of comics/print?

Technology is advancing to the point to where people do not need to pay for cable to be able to watch television or movies. One of the biggest factors in this situation would be Netflix. Netflix introduced its online streaming service in 2007 and since then it has only grown into one of the biggest online streaming service to date with approximately 61.4 million subscribers worldwide.

According to an article on by Barb Darrow and Stacy Jones, Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves estimated that the top 8 cable companies lost 463,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2015 alone. People are “cutting the cable” for more affordable options such as Netflix and Hulu.

As of right now, there are still large amounts of people who are subscribed to a cable network but as the younger generations get older and be more susceptible to leaning toward Netflix and Hulu, will cable be phased out completely?

It is almost like how print journalism is heading right now. There are generations who prefer to have the hard copy sitting in front of them where they can feel it and turn it in their hands. That generation most likely has the same option of cable television. How else are they going to watch the news? Where the younger generation would look up clips on the Internet. As everything and anything gets more accessible via the Internet the original medium will slowly get phases out. Not to say that it will be immediate. There are still people who enjoy a good comic book even now, however a majority now read a graphic novel via a different medium such as on a tablet rather than an actual paper book.

So the question I leave now is do you think that television is going to continue to decline due to the Internet like television did to comics or will it level out?

3 thoughts on “Television: A Dying Medium

  1. The car as vehicle, in that sense, will go the way of the horse. The horse has lost its role in transportation but has made a strong comeback in entertainment. So with the motorcar. Its future does not belong in the area of transportation. Had the infant automotive industry; in 1910, seen fit to call a conference to consider the future of the horse, the discussion would have been concerned to discover new jobs for the horse and new kinds of training to extend the usefulness of the horse. The complete revolution in transportation and in housing and city arrangement would have been ignored. The turn of our economy to making and servicing motorcars, and the devotion of much leisure time to their use on a vast new highway system, would not even have been thought of. In other words, it is the framework itself that changes with new technology, and not just the picture within the frame. This is a passage from Motorcar in McLuhan’s Understanding media. I will be using this to address your question about the changing of technology. With the development of these different technologies we can tie in McLuhan’s passage to these changes. Just like the horse, TV is beginning to lose its role in the entertainment industry. Like you said Netflix, crackle, and other online TV/movie apps are taking the place of cable in the households across the United States. I don’t think new technology will eliminate forms of media, but will simply change how we use the different forms of media. Instead of getting a cable people will begin to experiment with the other forms of media, it is the curiosity of the individual that will get them to try new forms.


  2. I think there is a very real possibility that television will continue it’s decline due to the internet. Unless Cable and Dish companies decide to directly compete and offer services similar to Netflix and Hulu, then they will eventually die out. Dish is figuring that out with their new offering of Sling TV, which is live streaming TV with a select bunch of channels for $20 a month. They also offer extra packages like a sports package for $5 more or an HBO package for $10 more. Dish saw that customers want their cable packages to be almost like a buffet, in that they can pick what they want and not pay for the 100’s of channels they never watch. Living off-campus the past three years, I’ve never gotten cable and relied solely on services like Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV. Part of the reason is the cable monopoly run by Coax, and the other is it’s cheaper and more convenient to have these services available on all my devices such as my phone, computer, and Roku.


    1. It is interesting that Dish is trying to adapt with its Sling TV. It reminds me of a quote my Dad used to say to me a lot. “Change is going to happened. There is no way around it. You can choose to do one of two things, adapt or perish…I will always choose to adapt.” I feel like unless cable figures out a way to adapt it will perish. They would have to come up with something good to complete with the internet!


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