John McCann

Father of Participant TV

In Television on February 22, 2007 at 3:16 pm

An AP story by Frazier Moore documents efforts by the broadcast networks to offer their content on the Web.

“But, even with all the new content, viewers weren’t content to just sit and watch. This year marked the coming-of-age for participant TV. Or, expressed another way, the YouTube Age.”

In yesterday’s lecture, I talked about the evolution of viewers from passive to active. At one point, we talked about the days prior to the invention of the remote control, which was a time when changing channels was only done with some thought because it required someone to get up and turn the dial on the TV set. The first form of participation came with the remote control … simply changing channels at will is clearly a form of participation.

Just this week, Robert Adler, the inventor of the remote control, passed away. CNet’s headline tells it all: “‘Father of the clicker’ dies at 93.” I prefer to think of him as the “father of participant TV.”

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