Television 2.0

Viewer and Fan Engagement with Digital TV

by Rhiannon Bury (Author)
©2018 Textbook XII, 148 Pages
Series: Digital Formations, Volume 102


Television 2.0 sets out to document and interrogate shifting patterns of engagement with digital television. Television content has not only been decoupled from the broadcast schedule through the use of digital video recorders (DVRs) but from broadcasting itself through streaming platforms such as Netflix, Vimeo and YouTube as well as downloading platforms such as iTunes and The Pirate Bay. Moreover, television content has been decoupled from the television screen itself as a result of digital convergence and divergence, leading to the proliferation of computer and mobile screens. Television 2.0 is the first book to provide an in-depth empirical investigation into these technological affordances and the implications for viewing and fan participation. It provides a historical overview of television’s central role as a broadcast medium in the household as well as its linkages to participatory culture. Drawing on survey and interview data, Television 2.0 offers critical insights into the ways in which the meanings and uses of contemporary television are shaped not just by digitalization but by domestic relations as well as one’s affective relationship to particular television texts. Finally it rethinks what it means to be a participatory fan, and examines the ways in which established practices such as information seeking and community making are altered and new practices are created through the use of social media. Television 2.0 will be of interest to anyone teaching or studying media and communications.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Advance Praise for Television 2.0
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Television as Assemblage
  • Researching Television 2.0
  • Demographic Snapshot
  • The Rest of the Book
  • Chapter 1: Assembling Television: From the Radio to the Internet
  • Chapter 2: Household Assemblers: Patterns of Multiscreen and Multimodal Viewing
  • Chapter 3: Television 2.0 and Everyday Life
  • Chapter 4: Affect and the Television Text
  • Chapter 5: Fandom 2.0: Six Degrees of Participation
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter 1: Assembling Television: From the Radio to the Internet
  • Radio Days
  • A Set with a View
  • The Analog Era
  • The Assemblage Goes Digital
  • The Rise of IPTV
  • Rhizomatic TV
  • Concluding Thoughts
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter 2: Household Assemblers: Patterns of Multiscreen and Multimodal Viewing
  • Intra-assemblage Relations
  • BTV Engagement
  • Home Delivery
  • Is It Live or Is It Time-Shifted?
  • A Steady Stream
  • IPTV Engagement
  • Download This!
  • The Future Is Hybrid
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter 3: Television 2.0 and Everyday Life
  • Structuring the Everyday
  • Television as Background
  • Making Time for TV
  • The Family That Views Together …
  • The More Things Change …
  • Note
  • References
  • Chapter 4: Affect and the Television Text
  • Making a Commitment
  • Your Affective Intensity May Vary
  • Anticipation: No Longer Keeping Me Waiting
  • Once More with Feeling
  • The Collectors
  • On a Binge
  • Concluding Thoughts
  • References
  • Chapter 5: Fandom 2.0: Six Degrees of Participation
  • The Participatory Continuum
  • Information Seeking
  • What Do You Think?
  • Community Making On (the) Line
  • The Producers
  • Concluding Thoughts
  • Notes
  • References
  • Conclusion: Rhizomatic for the People
  • Note
  • References
  • Appendix: Television 2.0 Survey Questions
  • Section A—Demographic and General Television Viewing Information
  • Section B—Television Screen
  • Section C—Computer Screen
  • Section D—Mobile Television Screen. (Cell Phone, iPod, iPad)
  • Section E—Multiple Modes of Viewing
  • Section F—Fandom in the Web 2.0 Era
  • References
  • Index
  • Series index

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I began conceptualizing a research project on “Television 2.0” in 2010 after attending two conferences the previous year on the future of TV—Unthinking Television: Visual Cultures Beyond the Console (George Mason University) and The Ends of Television (University of Amsterdam). The scale of the study was only possible because of the generous research incentive grant awarded to me by Athabasca University. I cannot thank Henry Jenkins enough for offering his support for the project by tweeting the link to the survey and interviewing me about the project on his blog. His generosity enabled me to recruit a larger and more international pool of respondents than would have been possible through my own networks. I would also like to thank the organizers and attendees of the 2010 Flow Conference in Austin, Texas, for taking and/or helping me to promote the survey. The survey and interview data took ten months to collect with the invaluable assistance of three research assistants: Clayton Clemons, who expertly set up and maintained the survey on the university website and exported the raw data into Excel and SPSS; Melanie Cook, who deftly managed the project, most importantly by arranging and keeping track of the interviews; and Fiona MacGregor, who interviewed participants and did some of the data coding in NVivo. Thank you all! I owe a debt of gratitude to Johnson Li, whose expertise in inferential statistical analysis was invaluable, ← vii | viii → and for coauthoring the journal article published in New Media & Society in 2015 based on this analysis. The people who deserve the most thanks are of course the research participants: the 671 survey respondents who took the time to complete a detailed six-section survey and the 72 interviewees who spent an additional one to three hours on the phone or Skype with Fiona or myself. I would like to single out Kevin Barnhurst, who passed away too young in 2016, for his contributions as a participant and as a scholar.

The road to the completion of this book was a longer one than expected. I wish to thank Mary Savigar at Peter Lang, who approached me about writing a second monograph for the press, and convinced me that I had a book somewhere in all the data. I also appreciated her patience as I missed one contract deadline after another. A shout out to Kathryn Harrison, Sophie Appel and Janell Harris for their help in finalizing and preparing the manuscript for publication as well as to Steve Jones for his constructive feedback on the manuscript. I also want to offer many thanks to Barney Wornoff for kindly offering to apply his creative talents to the design of Television’s 2.0’s fabulous cover.

I am appreciative of the feedback, including that from Lucy Bennett, Paul Booth, Melissa Click, Alice Marwick, and Suzanne Scott on the conference papers, journal articles, and book chapters based on the research project that inform this book. Some of the statistics included in Chapters 1 and 2 also appear in “Is it Live or is it Timeshifted, Streamed or Downloaded? Watching Television in the Era of Multiple Screens” (New Media & Society). Versions of the discussion on piracy in Chapter 4 and some of the ideas on fan practices in relation to social media in Chapter 5 appear in “Television Viewing and Fan Practice in an Era of Multiple Screens” (The Sage Handbook of Social Media). The idea of the participatory continuum and the discussion on the practices of information seeking and interpretation appear in a similar form in “‘We’re not There.’ Fans, Fan Studies and the Participatory Continuum” (The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom). Finally the practice of community making raised in Chapter 5 is discussed more extensively in “Technology, Fandom and Community in the Second Media Age” (Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies).

Without the unflagging support of Lee Easton, who spent many an hour on the phone serving as a sounding board as I worked and reworked Television 2.0’s central themes and chapters, I never could have completed this book. Thank you dear friend. I also wish to thank those friends and ← viii | ix → colleagues who lent an ear when the going got tough and kept me going: Alison Chant, Jenny Foreman, Manijeh Mannani, Karen Nelson (riding coach extraordinaire), Meenal Shrivastava, Lorna Stefanick, and Karen Wall. Finally, I extend my love and gratitude to my mother Nancy Bury for always being there for me, and my husband Luis Marmelo, who did all the grocery shopping and cooked every dinner without complaint in that final two-month sprint toward the finish line.

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Sorry I can’t come out tonight, I have a date with Netflix and a few bags of Doritos.

—Esther the Wonder Pig (Jenkins & Walter, 2015 September 18)

Pigs may not yet be able to fly but if the Facebook account for the celebrity porcine is any indication, they are joining the increasing numbers of those who are redefining what it means to watch TV. In recent years, television content has been decoupled not only from the broadcast schedule through the use of digital video recorders but from broadcasting itself through streaming and downloading platforms. Moreover, television content has been decoupled from the television screen itself, the same Web 2.0 technologies enabling viewing on computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. In the early 2000s, television scholars such as Lynn Spigel began to consider the implications for television as a “medium in transition”:

If TV refers to the technologies, industrial formations, government policies, and practices of looking that were associated with the medium in its classical public service and three-network age, it appears that we are now entering a new phase of television—the phase that comes after “TV.” (Spigel, 2004, p. 2)

Much of the literature on the changes to television to date has focused on the changes to those industry formations as they relate to production ← 1 | 2 → and distribution as well as the efforts by regulatory bodies to respond to such changes (see Bennett, 2008; Bennett & Strange, 2011; Holt & Sanson, 2014; Lotz, 2009, 2014). Empirical study of shifting viewing practices, however, has been left largely to audience measurement and marketing research firms (the Nielsen Company being the juggernaut), government agencies, and independent scholarly organizations such as the Pew Research Center (US). I began the research on which this book is based to bridge the gap not simply between the academy and the television industry but also between fields of study, namely television studies, new media/internet studies, reception studies, and fan studies. At its broadest, this book critically examines what it means to be both a television viewer and a media fan in what Mark Poster (1995) refers to as the second media age. In the following pages, I will discuss the central concepts and themes that provide an analytical framework, describe the Television 2.0 research project, and outline the rest of the chapters.

Television as Assemblage

Until the 1970s, television was generally conceptualized as a form of mass communication or a mass medium, the origins of which date back to theories of mass society that emerged in the early twentieth century:


XII, 148
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2018 (February)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, Oxford, Warsaw, 2018. XII, 148 pp.

Biographical notes

Rhiannon Bury (Author)

Rhiannon Bury is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Athabasca University, Canada. She has published numerous articles in the areas of gender, internet, technology and fan studies. Her first book, Cyberspaces of Their Own: Female Fandoms Online, was published by Peter Lang in 2005.


Title: Television 2.0