• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is the significance of 'flow' for an understanding of television?.

Extracts from this document...


For an understanding of television one must consider the concept of 'flow' as highly relative and important. In order to examine the integral importance of 'flow' to television, it is firstly important to be aware of the problematic nature of the term and process. The metaphor itself provides a concise description of this process, as being a perpetual stream of imagery and sound from broadcasting institutions into the homes of the viewer. 'Flow' is a quality which broadcasting items gain due to their order within a channel schedule and hence each other. It is used to describe the continuous and planned succession of timed segments into the receivers, therefore the audience. The 'Flow' of television consists of programme units, commercial adverts, and trailers and is brought about in reaction to competition by increasing the amount of time the channel is tuned in by the viewer. As well as reacting to competition by doing this the process of flow is used to hold the attention of the viewer in many different ways: by including 'interruptions' directly before or after a moment of great intensity in a timed programme unit; directing viewer to sister channels; and relating material from different segments, in order to heighten our understanding of events. ...read more.


By meticulously positioning the play in a channel schedule, the play and its social and political concerns were given full attention, therefore almost forcing the audience to engage with important issues. Jonathan Bignell talks of flow in 'grouping' certain programme items together: "...by looking not only at individual programmes but also at the ways they link together. These links might be in terms of the similarities of one programme with another...or the conventions that the makers adhere to." ( Bignell 2004: 4 ) This timed arranging of programming units can therefore effectively hammer home certain points and sufficiently educate the audience to changes and issues in their society. The viewer is therefore able to understand what is going on around them, as well as understanding what the importance of television is in our society as a whole. With this process of 'flow' in mind, it is evident of television's impact it can have on an audience, by forcefully presenting them with an abundance of relevant material. It is apparent from this, the effect that television, with its use of planned 'flow', can have on society as a whole and on the issues it chooses to broadcast. We engage with television in many different ways and not always as closely as to, let us say, cinema. ...read more.


Flow here is essential to the development of the plot, and acts as an entity holding together the narrative, which in turn enhances the audiences' understanding of it. With these main points in mind, it is clear to see that 'flow', as well as being the "defining characteristic of television", is integral to our understanding of television, as both a narrative and as a messenger to our society. The ways in which we talk of 'watching television' clearly shows that this is the most desirable way to interpret it; without the use of 'flow' the idea of watching television as a sequence would be eradicated. Instead the audience would be, in a way, unable to 'watch television' and be virtually forced to watch programme units individually with no relation to one another. Although a fairly complex idea and process, in a way, 'flow' makes for a fairly unproblematic means to viewing television; as the sequence allows us to understand, for example, key moments in drama and important concerns in real society, due to the relative programme units they are placed beside. As a metaphor 'flow' relates to the ways in which we are carried through various programme units with force, but also the way we can watch quite calmly "at a distance". This is the characteristic way we experience television, therefore of characteristic importance to our understanding of television. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Television section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Television essays

  1. The key developments that have occurred in television since 1970.

    licence renewal was not automatic therefore, these franchises are reviewed every couple of years. (http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/history9.htm), & http://www.itv.com/about/. The Key developments in television since 1970. In Europe, a number of significant developments occurred in television since 1970 due to the development of television technology.

  2. Realism and Television

    http://www.addictionintervention.com/intervention/interventiontv_response.asp 2) Drama-documentary 'Intervention' series utilizes a 'drama-documentary' style which combines elements of documentary and drama (Branston, Stafftord 2006:456). This hybrid genre produces a very authentic sense of reality for the viewer, absent are the contrivances of most reality shows.

  1. Analysis of a news broadcast

    This news report isn't obviously live as time is very strict and has to be pre-recorded and edited a lot to fit in with all the other stories to last only ten minutes. There isn't a hand off back to the studio sentence as this mainly happens when the reporters

  2. Measuring and Understanding Media Audiences.

    could be praising them and saying they are the reason why the tune for every episode. Also, the actors may tend to be recognised and approached in the street. Some people may hurl abuse at them if they have been given a bad role to play, or may been given sympathy if a death in the family has occurred.

  1. Examine the role of television in today's society. What do you see as the ...

    one day be watching television on the bus, so you wouldn't have to miss much. Or maybe one day, we'll be able to record more than one programme at the same time, so we won't have to sacrifice one programme for the other.

  2. Match of the Day Production Schedule

    Also when changing the cameras over for the live editing they need to make sure they do it at the correct time. Any misfortunes as in turning on the wrong camera and it could get bad reviews and lose audience figures so they have to concentrate fully when live on the air.

  1. peter kay media coursework. Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most ...

    the burnt down building, he attempts to make his speech glamorous and breath taking, but instead he makes a fool of himself. Brian enters as a 'fanfare' type of music is playing on a cheap C.D player, he then goes onto telling his previous co-workers his ideas, but as he

  2. Final Term Project of Marketing Management.

    101 is among those traditional firms. The market is divided into several sub markets (soaps, detergent, noodles etc). 101 share 10 to 15% of the total market shares. Detergent market: the detergent market is in high demand. It is in the maturity stage.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work