If there’s any technology or cultural relic that our descendants will think of when they think of the twentieth century, it’s television. The glowing screens and sets that populate practically every living room in the developed world, and indeed the vast majority of villages, towns and cities in any electrified region of the rest of the world, can be credited with increased levels of education, the development of mass media and, indeed, boosted profits for industries and businesses. Although television is currently being overtaken by online forms of media the medium-screen is still a force to be reckoned with; bearing this in mind, how exactly does the television industry influence other industries?
The development of pop culture has to be the most pertinent effect that television has had upon the world. Television shows entertain certain groups, and through the process of association these groups form their own ‘tribes’ within which they consume other, similar media. Naturally, businesses from across all manner of industries have cottoned on to the existence of these easily marketable groupings of individuals, orienting their product ranges in a manner that engages with the trends, tropes and interests that are endemic in such groups. This effect is called media priming.
Merchandise is the most obvious manifestation of this effect. Stores in practically every city in the world will sell goods that feature the faces, themes and features of our favourite TV shows. Posters, pencil cases, confectionary- practically anything that could feasibly feature a character, catchphrase or some other television show relic are marketed, producing a bewildering number of TV-themed products.
This process can allow old pieces of media to ‘live on’ through branding. Online gaming sites such as Betsafe now have games that are based upon The Sopranos, allowing fans of the show (now fifteen years old, and seven years past cancellation) to enjoy playing games that feature iconic characters, scenes and plotlines from the show.
Television’s effects can stretch further than you think. In a recent interview with UK television channel ITV News, GQ Magazine’s fashion editor explained that, thanks to huge increase in the amounts of television programmes that have groomed, exfoliated, fashion-conscious, ‘metrosexual’ characters, an enormous transformation is occurring in the fashion and beauty industries. As the gruff, overtly masculine notion of manhood has been eroded by modern, contemporary notions of how men are supposed to live their lives, sales in these sorts of stores have skyrocketed; where once women were the key customers, men have taken up the baton, and massive growth has resulted.