Representation of Specific Groups in Scripted TV Shows
Representation of Specific Groups in Scripted TV Shows
Acceptability, fan support, sponsorship, content, and creativity are some of the major factors that determine the kind of representation of specific groups in scripted television shows. This representation must be brought out in ways that are unique and authentically peculiar to the image, lives, challenges, aspirations, and worldview of the group. In order for such groups to be appropriately represented, the support of the fans is necessary both for popularity ratings and for financial support. It is important for such representation to adopt strategies that would help in the dismantling of misrepresentations, which have always been propagated with regard to some specific groups. Such specific groups could include gay groups, African Americans, women, immigrants, and others, which have attracted conflicting perspectives in the various attempts to access the inner patterns and rhythms of their world view.
One potent illustration is the representation of the African American woman in “Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rac (Christian, 2011). One of the underlying objectives of this show is to provide alternative portrayal of the African American woman. The creator emphasizes on the need to develop a product that would capture the real lives of the African Americans (Christian, 2011). She argues that the subject has been misrepresented in a variety of discourses across time and history. The aspect of creativity is equally important as it helps to instil the proper aesthetics in the subject as portrayed in a completely new dimension. When properly represented, such strategies help in redeeming the special groups from the injustices of negative or inaccurate representations, which are mainly guided by misconceptions, stereotypes, and untruths as understood within the mentalities of the superior groups.
Consistently, many special groups have lost favour in the cable television networks and must find alternative forms of media in order to reach their target audiences. Web series have become one of readily available and most resourceful solutions to such groups (Christian, 2010). However, this alternative features multiple opportunities and challenges. Web is slow and compares poorly to cable networks. As an alternative to cable television, web does not attract large audiences and does not have a determinate and visible physical presence on the market. By its very nature, it is fluid and variable, which denies it the advantage of stability and popularity.
These same qualities also lock it out from lucrative segments of the market such as older audiences who are less likely to consume web-based products. Such audiences are conservative in nature are more likely to stick with the tried and tested methods (Siapera, 2010). Statistics from comparative analyses between web series and cable television show that the consumption of web series products is likely to correspond with the patterns of internet use. Past studies on internet usage have shown significant variations in the patterns and trends of internet consumption across the variables of gender, race, social status, levels of income, and other demographics that are to be found within the American population (Fourie, 2010; Hammer & Keller, 2009).
Web has not built stable and reliable clientele that would shore up the ratings and performance of the upstart networks. Some media scholars have explained it as being at an evolutionary stage and that it may take some time for it to be embraced wholly by larger segments of the society. Web is still a new invention in the media world and has not built reliable metrics that would help to even the odds faced by minority shows (Christian, 2010). Even then, web series remains some of the most convenient escapes onto the wider market by programs and shows run by minorities and which have been affected by structural and systematic challenges of survival. Studies have also shown that the web-based media still faces challenges of profitability that often threaten their very survival (Christian, 2010). On this score, it becomes problematic to engage projects that could stifle their survival in the competitive media world.
Representation of difference is determined, to a significant degree by the type and nature of content. According to media analysts, it is possible for the different groups within the dominant society to eat into the market by creating specific programs that nourish the tastes of the minority groups. For instance, GLO TV network, which is managed by a gay packages programs that highlight on the challenges of HIV/Aids and issues of relating to transgender individuals in the society (Christian, 2010). Such strategies based on the content are important when it comes to breaking onto the market segments that are rarely explored by dominant media.
Essentially, the survival of web series will be determined partly by the need for developers to harness the synergies of cultural diversity in a strategic way that would attract the interests of the market. On this score, it becomes important for the developers of web series to look out for the unexplored fields with the objective of establishing alternative fields of operation. On this score, it becomes important to consider some of the fundamental weaknesses that have stifled the growth of cable television within some specific segments of the market. Stringent conditions and logistical challenges are often cited as some of the drawbacks that affect the growth of the industry.
Christian, A., J. (2010). Rise of the Black (Web Video) Network? Televisual. Retrieved http://blog.ajchristian.org/2010/10/15/rise-of-the-black-network/http://blog.ajchristian.org/2010/10/15/rise-of-the-black-network/
Christian, A., J. (2011). ‘Awkward Black Girl’ Creator Issa Rae Talks Crowdfunding, Indie Production and Moving From Web to TV. Televisual. Retrieved http://blog.ajchristian.org/2011/08/10/awkward-black-girl-creator-issa-rae-talks-crowdfunding-indie-production-and-moving-from-web-to-tv/
Fourie, P., J. (2010). Media Studies: Media History, Media and Society. New York: Juta and Company Ltd.
Hammer, R., & Keller, D. (2009). Media/Cultural Studies: Critical Approaches. New York: Peter Lang.
Siapera, E. (2010). Cultural Diversity and Global Media: The Mediation of Difference. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
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