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Role of TV in Today’s Society


Media has taken different definitions as the use of the term has widened. However, there remains a general acceptance that is the means to carry out public communication. In the computer world, media has come to be defined as a general term for any data storage device. In this paper, the former definition of media is adopted. Popular types of media in today’s world are TV, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, movies internet among many other derivations. One of the most popular and most influential is the TV. In this paper, I discuss the TV media as serving the sole purpose of entertainment and also discuss it in other capacities other than entertainment only.

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Edward Murrow’s words are often quoted in debates about television. He said “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is nothing but wires and lights in a box.” Unfortunately, in the modern world, the TV is only serving one purpose other than the many Edward had visualized; entertainment. An average American citizen is estimated to watch TV for four hours daily on average. With 98.5% of US households owning a TV and 80% owning a pair, it is definitely a valued possession. Going by the type of programs broadcasted by different channels, it s obvious that the sole objective of television is entertainment. This is indicated by the amount of time dedicated in broadcasting sports. In fact, some broadcasting houses have a number of channels specifically dedicated for sports and sporting events only.

Reports have indicated that on average, Americans spend three times more money on entertainment than on education. This figure amounted to $203 billion in year 2000. As such, television media has dedicated much of their efforts in targeting the huge market by broadcasting entertainment alone. Such entertainment is provided in terms of soap operas, movies, comedies and music. On the other hand what is conventionally regarded as news either political or of any other conventional grouping is only aired if it is only entertaining. The idea of making the news item entertaining has more often than not been done to ensure there is higher rating from the public that means more money from marketers and advertisers. As such, there is no room, left for any other purposes other than entertainment.

Advertisements are also presented in an entertaining manner, which according to the broadcasters should not deviate from the entertainment setting of television. As evidence of this, there are very funny advertisements on TV with alcoholic beverages emerging as the funniest with each marketer trying to outdo competition. As such, it can be said that everything on TV is aimed to provide entertainment as a primary role with other minor accompanying roles. Entertainment in many occasions has been viewed to mean music and soap operas. However, it is worthy to note that entertainment remains the same no matter the manner and idea of delivery. As a result, political news for example dwell on trivial issues instead of important aspects such policies. In last year’s presidential elections, it was easy to note that television mostly covered fashion aspects by the various candidates instead of important factors thereby proving its worth as fit for entertainment only.

Contrary to the belief that television only serves entertainment purposes, there exists many other roles chief among them being information. Information is very wide to begin with. How this information is delivered is determined by the broadcasting house while whether what is delivered qualifies to be information is determined by the viewer or rather the audience. This means that what is normally viewed as a soap opera may contain information that is being relayed to the viewer only that it is packaged in a way to keep the audience interested. It is agreed that popular TV programs have been reflective of the American way of life. The family setting displayed in such “entertainment only” is aimed at informing and educating the viewer in one way or another. In addition to this, the viewer has the option of sticking to television entertainment from one channel or chooses another that fits his idea of television viewing.

Television has been blamed for shaping social behavior among the youth as an indirect result of the material broadcasted. While the main idea behind the broadcast maybe entertainment only, it plays a vital role in shaping the behavior of the young developing minds. While the obvious may attract a lot of intention the hidden role played by television is not usually discussed. Nevertheless, television has been accused of breeding obesity as it discourages exercise. In fact television viewing competes for time with other entertainment activities that would rather give more physical benefits to the participants. This fact is undeniable in the sense that as television ownership among households continues to increase, so does obesity cases.

Educational programs have also gained popularity among media houses. Again the same is laced with some other activities to make it more captivating. Such activities maybe entertaining somehow but the main idea behind the whole thing is education. A common trend that has taken root in America is school contests and quizzes that are broadcasted on TV. They have played a vital role in education and have received enormous support from government and learning institutions.

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From the discussion it is obvious that television has many roles other than being labeled as for entertainment only. It serves the role of delivering information, informing educating and influencing social behavior besides entertainment.


Social impact of TV (2007). Web.

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