My favorite theory that we’ve talked about in class so far is Displacement Theory. I like it because I can apply it to several aspects of my life, one of which is television. In the past and still today TV is a widely popular form of entertainment. On page 202, our book even states that, “The television set has become a fixture in American homes. By 1975, televisions were seen in 95% of homes, and 66% viewed them as a ‘necessity’”. However, I believe that TV is slightly decreasing in importance.
As Americans, we live in a very busy and fast paced society. Because there are always so many different things vying for our attention at once, some things of lesser importance tend to fade into the background. For example, along with being a college student with six classes, I also work about 25 hours a week, and I’m in three different RSOs, because of this I hardly ever have time to watch TV anymore. This ties into the idea of Displacement Theory. We only have so much time in a day, therefore when your level of involvement in some activity increases, you must subtract time from another activity. While I enjoy watching TV, it falls near the bottom of my priority list nowadays, so I don’t watch it nearly as much as I did in high school.
Netflix has a big impact on the decrease of traditional television viewing as well. I have several friends that don’t even bother to pay for cable because they subscribe to Netflix. Not only is Netflix inexpensive, it’s also commercial free and has a wide variety of shows and movies you can watch wherever you’re willing to bring your laptop, tablet or phone. Going back to Displacement Theory, if people are spending more of their free time watching Netflix then they have to be taking that time away from other things, most likely sitting in front of an actual TV. This is not to say that Netflix subscribers are already out-doing cable. Cable is still very much in the lead, however, trends are showing Netflix to be rapidly on the rise and a slight decrease of cable subscribers.
(Here’s a very interesting article on the Netflix Vs. Cable topic: http://mashable.com/2014/06/19/netflix-cable-summer/)
In addition to all of this, I hear a lot of people complaining that television programming isn’t what it used to be. The argument is made that today’s television shows lack the substance that they’ve had in the past. For example, I was watching Disney Channel with my niece awhile back and I noticed that the current programming doesn’t seem to have the same meaning that they did when I was kid. Back when I was an avid Disney Channel watcher, I tuned in to things like That’s So Raven, which always addressed important issues like body image for young women and racial discrimination. Now all of the shows are, for lack of a better word, a bit meaningless. Because of this I predict that TV will steadily decrease in popularity.
Sidenote: Super cute picture of my nieces and I watching TV.