This semester-long assignment will focus on applying course concepts to a specific television channel. Each group will select a case study from the list below, and collaborate on three reports analyzing the channel or network. All reports should be between 1,000-1,500 words in length, featuring clear writing and effective source citation. The reports will all be publicly posted on the channel or network's page on this wiki, as linked below.
Groups are categorized by discussion section (X is 9:05, Y is 10:10, Z is 11:15):
Each group should contact each other by email or in-class, and choose one of these channels or networks to serve as their case study. Claim the channel/network by editing this page and typing your group's code next to the title;
Report #1: Industrial Analysis
The first report, due by class on October 8, is a discussion of how your channel fits into the industrial context of commercial television. The goal is to create a profile of the channel that highlights the various ways it works within the facets of the television industry that we've discussed in class. You should offer a brief history of the channel to provide some context as to how it emerged into what it is today, but your discussion should focus on the contemporary situation. Aspects of the industry that you might cover include: ownership and conglomeration; specific partnerships with other companies; roles in production / distribution / transmission; branding strategies; specific target audience(s); scheduling and promotional techniques; signature programming and genre trends; advertising strategies; and related channels (like with ESPN / ESPN 2 for instance). While you don't need to touch on every one of these aspects, you should be sure to address the key elements that distinguish this case study, providing a strong overview for understanding how this channel fits into the contemporary teleivsion industry.
Report #2: Textual Analysis
The second report, due by class on November 5, is a discussion of two different programs airing on your channel from 2009. You should pick two distinctly different programs in terms of genre, style, tone, production method, or target audience. The selected programs should be originally created for the channel, not a rerun or import. For each program, your job is to analyze how its form and content fit with the industrial strategies and contexts you discovered in the first report. How does it construct its target audience? How does the program and its cultural meanings fit within the channel's brand? How might the production history of the show connect with its ownership structure? How does the program's scheduling connect with the channel's larger strategies? Ultimately, the goal is to provide clear and specific insights into how the meanings offered by these programs are connected to the industrial systems that produce and distribute them. The in-class presentation should focus on only one of your selected programs.
Report #3: Audience & Online Analysis
The third report, due by class on November 19, should look how viewers engage with the channel online. Profile what type of online presence the channel has, considering the availability of programming on their own site and/or others, the opportunities for viewers to participate in the channel's content and brand, what type of online advertising they feature, and how all of these elements tie back to the broader industrial profile you have written about the channel. Choose at least one active discussion about the channel's programming or news and analyze how fans seem to view the channel - is there hostility to decisions or practices, or do fans seem quite supportive of the channel, and why? Ideally, you should compare the discussions occurring on the channel's own site versus those on other fan sites (either around a specific program or a broader TV site like Television Without Pity).
The final versions of all three reports are due by class on December 3. You should be sure that references are consistent and clear, that there are appropriate subheadings to navigate the three reports, and that you have proofread and edited the entire report.