Emergence of Television as a Mass Media

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“The emergence of television as a mass medium of communication was much more important in improving leisure opportunities for ordinary people. Than were any other 20th century developments in the media how far do you agree with this judgement as applied to the growth of leisure opportunities in Britain during the course of the 20th century as a whole?”

Since the beginning of the twentieth century and before the media has been a principle tenant of British culture, the leisure time and expendable income of the British public has grown in unison with the media empire which facilitates it. I will analyse newspaper, radio, cinema, technology and television, which will be analysed last as to compare it to the other mediums of media in an easier fashion. The culture of media and its effect on leisure arose from higher wages for fewer hours, even for the semi and no skilled manual labourers. This is supported by the fact that the average weekly wage went up from 69 pounds in 1913 to 370 pounds in 1991. As the wages increased so did the media options, the radio because very accessible, the television entered the stage and gained a dominant stance when it became easily acquired. The newspapers increased and tabloids appealed to the working classes, the cinema enjoyed huge popularity during the interwar and post war periods and even though dipping, still enjoys moderate success through the new found analysis of film with critics etc and finally the computer and internet entered as the last in the twentieth century to revolutionise, modernise and dominate the nineties.

This increase in leisure and media affected the average person as now they had more options and work was not totally dominate as it was during the early twentieth century that work was the principle activity. Now with the new leisure cinema, radio, television and newspaper replaced family time because of their new status and the honeymoon type feeling of new options and maybe families became less close and more entwined with the media than each other. It has to be noted that access and usage of these increased not just by the middle and upper classes who were able to buy these easily as well as the working classes. For example a commodity like a Hotpoint electric kettle cost £1 6s 6d, half the weekly wage of a manual worker, whereas in 1991 a typical kettle was 5 percent of a weekly wage.

With this new culture came forth new subcultures especially with the youth. Gangs formed from people who did the same leisure activities and new fashions and fads gripped the youth as their new found money and jobs which before went to the up keep of the home now gave them new freedom to try new things and experience life, the teenager was born. With gangs like the teddy boys, beatniks, mods, rockers, punks,. Examples of them acting on this rebellious attitude include the emergence of Radio One and the Grosvenor square protest against the Vietnam War, where teenager’s rebellious attitudes had effect on the world and definitely changed people leisure opportunities. How this attitude came about may be explained by what they were subjected to in the media, the fact that by the 60’s“television had become an integral part of daily life with 10,475,000 sets in use”. David Taylor, shows that they were likely to be subjected to whatever the TV showed and the fact that during the week “80% of TV programs estimated to contain violence increasing to 90% at weekends so watching four hours of TV a day a child would see 13000 murders by 16” Krisztina Esztergalyos. This may explain the more forward attitudes shown by children in the 60’s by a correlation between attitude and leisure pursuit. This is a clear indication of television having a profound effect upon the masses but whether this increases leisure is unsure. This also would clearly support the determinist point of view that the media has an effect on life. The leisure opportunities that were available to the youth increased...
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