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Emergence Of Television As A Mass Media

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“The emergence of television as a mass medium of communication was much more important in improving leisure opportunities for ordinary people. Than were any other 20th century developments in the media how far do you agree with this judgement as applied to the growth of leisure opportunities in Britain during the course of the 20th century as a whole?”

Since the beginning of the twentieth century and before the media has been a principle tenant of British culture, the leisure time and expendable income of the British public has grown in unison with the media empire which facilitates it. I will analyse newspaper, radio, cinema, technology and television, which will be analysed last as to compare it to the other mediums of media in an easier fashion. The culture of media and its effect on leisure arose from higher wages for fewer hours, even for the semi and no skilled manual labourers. This is supported by the fact that the average weekly wage went up from 69 pounds in 1913 to 370 pounds in 1991. As the wages increased so did the media options, the radio because very accessible, the television entered the stage and gained a dominant stance when it became easily acquired. The newspapers increased and tabloids appealed to the working classes, the cinema enjoyed huge popularity during the interwar and post war periods and even though dipping, still enjoys moderate success through the new found analysis of film with critics etc and finally the computer and internet entered as the last in the twentieth century to revolutionise, modernise and dominate the nineties.

This increase in leisure and media affected the average person as now they had more options and work was not totally dominate as it was during the early twentieth century that work was the principle activity.

Now with the new leisure cinema, radio, television and newspaper replaced family time because of their new status and the honeymoon type feeling of new options and maybe families became less close and more entwined with the media than each other. It has to be noted that access and usage of these increased not just by the middle and upper classes who were able to buy these easily as well as the working classes. For example a commodity like a Hotpoint electric kettle cost Ð'Ј1 6s 6d, half the weekly wage of a manual worker, whereas in 1991 a typical kettle was 5 percent of a weekly wage.

With this new culture came forth new subcultures especially with the youth. Gangs formed from people who did the same leisure activities and new fashions and fads gripped the youth as their new found money and jobs which before went to the up keep of the home now gave them new freedom to try new things and experience life, the teenager was born. With gangs like the teddy boys, beatniks, mods, rockers, punks,. Examples of them acting on this rebellious attitude include the emergence of Radio One and the Grosvenor square protest against the Vietnam War, where teenager’s rebellious attitudes had effect on the world and definitely changed people leisure opportunities. How this attitude came about may be explained by what they were subjected to in the media, the fact that by the 60’s“television had become an integral part of daily life with 10,475,000 sets in use”. David Taylor, shows that they were likely to be subjected to whatever the TV showed and the fact that during the week “80% of TV programs estimated to contain violence increasing to 90% at weekends so watching four hours of TV a day a child would see 13000 murders by 16” Krisztina Esztergalyos. This may explain the more forward attitudes shown by children in the 60’s by a correlation between attitude and leisure pursuit. This is a clear indication of television having a profound effect upon the masses but whether this increases leisure is unsure. This also would clearly support the determinist point of view that the media has an effect on life. The leisure opportunities that were available to the youth increased dramatically into and from the 60’s maybe explaining the emergence of such a diverse youth culture that ever seen before. This new found upstanding attitude can be correlated with the new pursuits of the time, going to the cinema for example taking your money and leaving your parents to go and watch a movie with friends or even more new with a girl, back then this would be a leap into a new area of freedom.

The radio was the first media, apart from newspapers, to reach the whole public. It started to reach the populous and soon became a major morale booster for the drear of World War Two. In the 60’s the BBC was challenged by the offshore radio stations like Radio Caroline who broadcast constant pop music , appealing to the younger generation who were not happy with the BBC’s drab shows. When these were made illegal this was even more attractive but the vibrations it caused made the BBC revamp it’s structure and start radio one for the young people, this clearly shows that radio was improving the leisure opportunities for ordinary people as they now had a bigger selection of music to listen to. Historians like Rix and Homes have shown the concerns that people had about radio and how it would affect other forms of media. They state “Radio, being a homebound entertainment offered a challenge to books as entertainment in their own territory, and also, relying heavily on verbal communication, it was in one sense a direct equivalent of, and thereby a possible substitute for reading.” This easily shows how the radio could have affected the people who read, this was quashed though by the then director of the BBC John Reith who wanted the two mediums to co exist and even in 1929-30 curriculum programs were broadcast to 5000 schools. This is further evidence for the determinist viewpoint as schools would change their lessons to tune in to the BBC broadcasts. But on comparison to TV even though one was before the other, TV still has the upper hand in effectiveness. Although the schools may have changed lesson to listen in, the large amounts of people will finish their evening meal before half past seven to catch вЂ?Coronation Street’ or вЂ?East enders. So TV has even higher determinist standpoint and therefore a greater effect on the people.

Cinema also was a major aspect of the twentieth century; it was a leisure pursuit of many ordinary people, this was mainly due to its accessibility. In the beginning it was rare and the films were short and poor quality. The first one was shown in 1896 and was a silent movie, but by World War One, cinema was shown to be a good source of reaching the masses with information, and scenes were shown from the front line. This then developed



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