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The New Television Ecosystem

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Edited By Alberto Abruzzese, Nello Barile, Julian Gebhardt and Jane Vincent

This highly topical book deals with the new frontiers of digital television addressing the challenges it faces as a result of the upsurge of new and converging digital technologies. In a world which has developed online interactivity and new roles for its users, a new scenario of the domestic sphere is emerging where television has lost its dominance within audiovisual products to the Internet, videogames, tablets, mobile phones, and more. Contemporary digital television is thus a field where different platforms, languages and formats compete in order to become the dominant standard for the future. In this new TV ecosystem audiences are negotiating their identities and are implementing practices of use which are redesigning the entire processes for TV production and consumption.

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Alberto Abruzzese: Introduction

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9 Alberto Abruzzese Introduction Environments work us over and remake us. It is man who is the content of and the message of the media, which are extensions of himself. Electronic man must know the effects of the world he has made above all things (McLuhan, 1972, p.90). I use this quotation from Marshall McLuhan as the epigraph to this volume not only as a tribute to the end of his Centenary, but more so because it expresses the notion of environment in a way that is most pertinent to media studies and to the television – the topic of this volume. In this introduction I explore the new issues and challenges facing society in which the new television ecosystem is develop- ing by putting forward new arguments that challenge and contextualise the debate, and the discourse in this volume. McLuhan posited that: New technological environments are commonly cast in the moulds of the preceding technol- ogy out of the sheer unawareness of their designers (McLuhan, 1972, p. 47). This is exemplified in the present ecosystem which has been framed and, indeed, shaped by McLuhan’s legacy and is one in which the multiple facets of our global digital age are put in sharp focus via the medium of the television (TV). McLuhan’s famous motto “the medium is the message” (1964) heralded much debate, not least in his own works such as quoted here, in which he explored fur- ther the notion of environment as a system of interaction between material and...

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