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Television on Demand


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1. Rites and Rituals of Transformation and the Television Industry/ies 2. From Surf to Search to Seek.... Curatorial Culture and the Transformation of Viewer Agency 3. Who's Watching? When? Why? Where? The Limits and Liminality of Audience Quantification 4. The Industry: Ritual, Tricksters, Response and Reification 5. Containment, Common Carriage and Net Neutrality - Regulating the Long Tail of OTT Television 6. Curatorial Culture goes International 7. The Curatorial Future Glossary

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Interrogates the challenges facing the producers and distributors of America's episodic television in a world that increasingly encourages and enables customized, on demand viewing.

About the Author

MJ Robinson is an assistant professor of journalism and new media and Graduate Deputy Chair of the M.S. in Media Studies in the Department of TV and Radio at Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY), USA. Robinson teaches undergraduate courses in multi-platform journalism and graduate courses in media studies. Her research focuses on the challenges facing the contemporary television industry/ies, the political economy of the media industries and the history of municipal broadcasting in the United States, most specifically New York City. She has worked in international television and film co-production and financing, documentary film, and as a motion picture archivist.


A worthwhile and informative read that has the potential to find an audience amongst scholars, industry professionals and the general public. * Critical Studies in Television *
One might think that television today defies explanation. Television on Demand demystifies the medium in a lucid and engaging way, emphasizing the curatorial culture in which those in front of and behind the screens, as well as ancillary industries and regulators find themselves participating in a milieu that is both evolutionary and revolutionary at the same time. A healthy dose of wry humor is thrown in for good measure, and the glossary of terms is an added bonus for the seasoned scholar as well as the neophyte. * Barbara J. Irwin, Professor of Communication Studies, Canisius College, USA *
With Television on Demand, MJ Robinson provides us with a fundamental rendering of the contemporary landscape for these things we call "television." Through examining the myriad changes in the culture of the audience, the business, and regulatory bodies, here in the U.S. and around the world, this book explores what has changed, why it's changed, and points toward the many ways that these cultures have driven where technological development has gone. In particular, her focus on this as a liminal moment of transformation and understanding the contemporary/emerging television viewing experience as part of a curatorial culture provides a crucial framing for us to make sense of all these changes. For those who work in all the many sectors that we may describe as "the television industry," for scholars who study this space, and for students and television viewers who are interested in understanding this period of a medium in transition, M.J. Robinson has provided us with a comprehensive and accessible overview of this moment. * Sam Ford, Research Affiliate Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and co-author, Spreadable Media *
Television is changing before our very eyes and TV on Demand sets out to narrate those changes in ways that serve students of media and communication, TV scholars, as well as industry insiders and entrepreneurs striving to make sense of the flux. On one hand the taken-for-granted structures governing our consuming and viewing habits have shifted so much so that "watching TV" can be, at best, a baffling search for access to content. On the other, the rapid transformation of viewing habits has markets scrambling to monetize new televisual practices, and ratings experts scratching their heads. Robinson's book steps into this churn with a whip-smart capacity to describe the new terms of engagement in television's "liminal phase." As push media become pull media, as active viewers engage in curatorial practices, Robinson encourages us to see TV as a multifaceted set of principles, policies, and practices-all of which are in motion. If writing intellectual history is like "nailing jelly to a wall," then writing institutional histories of fast-changing media environments is like trying to do so with a nail gun. It's surprisingly dramatic, exciting, and potentially messy. Robinson's impressive TV on Demand captures the drama of the medium's recent shifts and institutional entanglements-- but manages the seemingly impossible task of breaking down the story and its implications with great skill and clarity. Savoring the "liminality" of the moment, Robinson has written a readable history of an institution in flux, approaching television's transformation from the viewer as well as the producer's perspectives. Instead of waiting for what seems like a historical moment of crisis to pass, waiting for the dust to settle, and then describing what happened, Robinson leaps into the fray with the clear-eyed methodology of a historian and the analytical perspective of a media ecologist. * Marion Wrenn, Director of the NYUAD Writing Program, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates *

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