Television is the most used form of media. We learned that in class, which was pretty tricky because I thought it was radio. However, radio is most owned, television is most used. Through out the history of TV, the use and gratification theory can be applied to it in order to show how powerful the television is in American culture and beyond.
First of all, what is use and gratification? It is defined as understanding why and how people actively seek out specific media to satisfy specific needs. Since television has a variety of channel, this can be broken down on a genre-to-genre level. What are the uses and gratifications of TV news? The news cycle now is twenty four hours, but there are certain hours of the day in which it is broadcasted to the world via a news cast. This routine gives us order in our day. This also allows for conversation throughout the day — it gives us common ground. By watching the news, you now understand what your co-worker is talking about when he or she is discussing a top news story. Another point is the fact that it’s entertaining. Not all news is bad, it’s the good news that we like to see and it can bring you joy and happiness.
Another variety to the television game is sitcoms/TV shows. The viewership of prime time TV, according to Pew Research, is about the same as it was in 2005. The shows give us a fantasy world to follow and enjoy. The characters in the shows are people we can relate to or see ourselves as. Shows often give us glimpses into lives and cultures that we may not be exposed to in our own lives. Again, television shows give us routine in our lives just like news programs do since they come on at certain times on certain days of the week. It gives us something to talk about through out the week — if you’re friends watch the show, then you get to discuss it with them.
Lastly, sporting events on TV are also easily applicable to use and gratification. It’s easier to turn on the TV and watch your favorite team than hop in the car and drive to the stadium to see it in person. You can also watch games/events that you may not ever get the chance to see in real life. You can watch multiple events by changing the channel — you can watch football on CBS and then change over to soccer on ESPN. It makes it easier to keep up with games as well thanks to instant replays and commentary.
Because of television, life is easier, is think we can agree with that since it is the most used from of communication technology. Though the trend of “cutting the cable” is getting more and more popular, I think the need to have just basic cable is essential. Being able to turn on the TV during a major event or natural disaster is vital in gaining important information that you may or may not get on your phone. TV is important in our lives for so many things from news, day time talk shows, to sports. There is something for everyone to enjoy and get use out of.