Futures of Entertainment


New Media, Fan Muscle will mold TV future

[Image: Henry Jenkins' Second Life avatar] How will we enjoy entertainment in the future? Via a high-definition plasma TV screen, computer, cellphone or iPod? Who will create entertainment? Will it be mega studios, independent producers or the whiz kid on his laptop–or a network of whiz kids? And who will watch the result when the audience is also the writer, critic and marketer?

Experts–from network executives, academics and game designers to gadfly media artists–peered into the “Futures of Entertainment” at a two-day conference, Nov. 17-18, sponsored by the MIT comparative media studies program and the Convergence Culture Consortium. The future they sketched reached way beyond the buzzword of “interactivity” to a time when the line blurs between media producer and media consumer.

“We now live in a networked society where we’re seeing the ability of communities to rapidly pool information,” said Henry Jenkins, director of the comparative media studies program and conference organizer. “This new environment both creates community opportunities and creates activities for this community.”
His examples? Characters on “Veronica Mars” have profiles. Fans plot the resistance movement of “The Matrix” trilogy. Fans decipher maps flashed during “Lost” or use Google’s map technology to track the fictional journey of Jack Bauer in “24.” Dialogue of the movie “Snakes on a Plane” is changed to fit Internet expectations.

“It is an age when we all want to participate and we want to see ourselves participate,” Jenkins said.

The death of must-see TV

In a session on “Television Futures,” panelists questioned whether the producers of “old media” were prepared for this brave new media world.

“We’re stuck in spin cycle,” confessed Andy Hunter, a planning director at GSD&M, an Austin, Texas-based communications agency.

Forrester vice president Josh Bernoff outlined four cautionary principles: Don’t assume that nothing is going to change; don’t assume everything will change; don’t assume it’s about the ideas, not the biz; and don’t assume business drives everything.

But he was clear that “there will still be TV 10 years from now.”

A point of some contention was the effect of digital video recorders such as TiVo on television advertising and whether advertisers were deserting TV for the Internet. Currently, the Internet lacks the “metrics” of measurement that will tell advertisers their money is well spent, Morgan noted.

But the metrics of such institutions as the Nielsen ratings are also dated. Networks should consider the popularity of shows globally and the degree of ardor shown by fans, said Mark Warshaw, a writer/producer who helped build the CW’s “Smallville” into one of the most popular TV properties online.

The DVR’s time-shifting capacity may spell the end of “appointment TV” or “must-see TV” scheduling. “You’re not able to thread people through the night like you used to,” Morgan said.

Major media “gatekeepers” will remain, but those gatekeepers have an eye on the upstarts. “A lot of TV executives look at the web like a farm team,” said Warshaw.

Consumer-created entertainment media is not that different from quilting bees and barn raising, noted panelist Caterina Fake, developer of Flickr, an online photo sharing application, and now Yahoo! tech development director, during a session on “User-Generated Content.”

Companies should solicit customer participation; game players, for example, can come up with solutions that elude even game designers. “You can’t be more clever than the Internet,” said Rob Tercek, executive vice president of MForma Group, a mobile entertainment publisher. But he warns that companies must be prepared for “emergent behavior” among consumers and there’s no predicting what that will be.

Take the creation of online community. When L’eggs tried to create a community of women for its pantyhose, the company did get a community–of eager males with a pantyhose fetish, Fake said. “You can never predict how an online community will evolve,” she said.

From Wizard to Wiz to Wicked

A session on “Transmedia Properties” examined how narratives and characters flow across media platforms, opening new markets as well as expanding storytelling. It’s not a new concept: Frank L. Baum’s 1900 children’s book “The Wizard of Oz” inspired the 1939 Judy Garland film, the 1975 musical and 1978 film “The Wiz,” the 1995 novel “Wicked” and the 2003 Broadway musical of “Wicked.”

“You have people building Troy on top of Troy on top of Troy,” said Paul Levitz, president and publisher of DC Comics.

Creating transmedia property often means imagining a “world” as well as characters and a plot. Showing they “got” the concept, the creators of the hit TV series “Heroes” established a large web presence and online comic that expands the lives of the superhero characters, said Alex Chisholm, founder of (ICE)3 Studios, a media research and development consultancy. “They wanted it to be a universe,” he said.

The growth of transmedia indicates “fan culture has become more mainstream,” said Michael Lebowitz, CEO of Big Spaceship, a New York-based creative agency. Where once TV executives cancelled anything that made audiences scratch their heads, “complexity is now an accepted form of storytelling. It means we won–everyone in this room,” Levitz said.

The conference also featured sessions on fan culture and virtual worlds. Bloggers’ responses to the two-day event have been linked at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 22, 2006 (download PDF). New media, fan muscle will mold TV future by Stephanie Schorow, News Office Correspondent, MIT News Office, November 22, 2006.

Nov 25, 17:27
Trackback URL

One Response

  1. Episodio Piloto » Blog Archive » El futuro de la tv:

    [...] Nota original en inglés [...]

Leave a comment


calls + opps performance livestage exhibition installation networked mobile writings participatory locative media augmented/mixed reality event new media video interactive public net art conference virtual intervention distributed second life sound political technology narrative festival tactical lecture art + science conversation social networks social games history surveillance dance music workshop mapping urban collaboration live upgrade! reblog activist wearable immersive public/private data architecture platform body collective aesthetics environment systems city identity film visualization culture telematic wireless web 2.0 site-specific place open source ecology webcast tool software text research intermedia space community audio radio nature hybrid 3-D avatar e-literature audio/visual responsive pyschogeography presence interdisciplinary media object interview physical global/ization ubiquitous theory theater biotechnology relational play archive code bioart generative news DIY light robotic place-specific hacktivism synthetic p2p cinema education remix agency interface im/material language live cinema algorithmic labor copyright mashup simulation animation perception image multimedia free/libre software artificial motion tracking voice streaming convergence gift economy reenactment machinima emergence cyberreality webcam glitch tv DJ/VJ censorship ARG nonlinear transdisciplinary tag touch recycle asynchronous fabbing semantic web hypermedia chance synesthesia biopolitics social choreography tangible app gesture forking unconference 1
1 3-D ARG DIY DJ/VJ activist aesthetics agency algorithmic animation app architecture archive art + science artificial asynchronous audio audio/visual augmented/mixed reality avatar bioart biopolitics biotechnology body calls + opps censorship chance cinema city code collaboration collective community conference convergence conversation copyright culture cyberreality dance data distributed e-literature ecology education emergence environment event exhibition fabbing festival film forking free/libre software games generative gesture gift economy glitch global/ization hacktivism history hybrid hypermedia identity im/material image immersive installation interactive interdisciplinary interface intermedia intervention interview labor language lecture light live live cinema livestage locative media machinima mapping mashup media mobile motion tracking multimedia music narrative nature net art networked new media news nonlinear object open source p2p participatory perception performance physical place place-specific platform play political presence public public/private pyschogeography radio reblog recycle reenactment relational remix research responsive robotic second life semantic web simulation site-specific social social choreography social networks software sound space streaming surveillance synesthesia synthetic systems tactical tag tangible technology telematic text theater theory tool touch transdisciplinary tv ubiquitous unconference upgrade! urban video virtual visualization voice wearable web 2.0 webcam webcast wireless workshop writings



Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan


Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul

What is this?

Networked Performance (N_P) is a research blog that focuses on emerging network-enabled practice.

RSS feeds

N_P offers several RSS feeds, either for specific tags or for all the posts. Click the top left RSS icon that appears on each page for its respective feed. What is an RSS feed?



New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.
New American Radio
Upgrade! Boston
Massachusetts Cultural Council
New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency
Thinking Blogger Award

Turbulence Works

These are some of the latest works commissioned by's net art commission program.
A More Subtle Perplex A Temporary Memorial Project for Jobbers' Canyon Built with ConAgra Products A Travel Guide A.B.S.M.L. Ars Virtua Artist-in-Residence (AVAIR) (2007) Awkward_NYC besides, Bonding Energy Bronx Rhymes Cell Tagging Channel TWo: NY Condition:Used Constellation Over Playas Data Diaries Domain of Mount Greylock—Video Portal Eclipse Empire State Endgame: A Cold War Love Story From the Valley of the Deer FUJI spaces and other places Global Direct Google Variations Gothamberg Grafik Dynamo Grow Old Handheld Histories as Hyper-Monuments html_butoh I am unable to tell you I'm Not Stalking You; I'm Socializing iLib Shakespeare (the perturbed sonnet project) INTERP Invisible Influenced iPak - 10,000 songs, 10,000 images, 10,000 abuses iSkyTV Journal of Journal Performance Studies Killbox L-Carrier Les Belles Infidèles look art Lumens My Beating Blog MYPOCKET No Time Machine Nothing Happens: a performance in three acts Nothing You Have Done Deserves Such Praise Oil Standard Panemoticon Peripheral n°2: KEYBOARD Playing Duchamp Plazaville Psychographics: Consumer Survey Recollecting Adams School of Perpetual Training Searching for Michelle/SFM Self-Portrait Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China ShiftSpace Commissions Program Social Relay Mail Space Video Spectral Quartet Superfund365, A Site-A-Day text_ocean The Xanadu Hijack This and that thought. Touching Gravity 2/Tilt Tumbarumba Tweet 4 Action Urban Attractors and Private Distractors We Ping Good Things To Life Wikireuse Without A Trace WoodEar Word Market You Don't Know Me [ openspace ] wilderness []
More commissions