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The Emergence Of Television As A Mass Communication Medium Was The Key Turning Point In Improving The Leisure Opportunities For The Ordinary Pe

2438 words - 10 pages

The Emergence of Television as a Mass Communication Medium
Was the Key Turning Point in Improving the Leisure Opportunities for
the Ordinary People of Britain

I believe the emergence of television as a mass communication medium
was the key turning point in improving the leisure opportunities for
the ordinary people of Britain. I believe this turning point was not
its first broadcast in 1936 but the introduction of ITV in 1956. I
think television is only just the most important factor, there are
other factors that also had a large effect on improving leisure
opportunities for the ordinary people. Other reasons why leisure
opportunities have improved are: increasing income, a reduction in
working hours, the development of the cinema, improvements in
education and the invention of youth culture. I interpret the
'ordinary people of Britain' as the working and lower-middle classes
because this definition encompasses the majority of the British
population.

British television broadcasting began in 1936. Initially there was
only the one channel run by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) so
there was no choice of what to watch and the reception was not very
good at all. The Director-General of the BBC John Reith fully intended
television to follow in the footsteps of radio, in the sense that he
wished it to be used to educate the masses. The emphasis was not at
all with providing the ordinary people with their programming
preferences, but with attempting to educate them in the areas of
politics, history and high culture. To begin with very few ordinary
people could afford a television and the necessary license. The 30s
and 40s were not a time of economic prosperity for Britain, the whole
world was suffering the after-effects of the great depression. As a
result ordinary people had little money to spare to spend on luxury
items like a television set. By 1950 there were still only 1 in 50
households with a television set. A television set could reach not
only its owners, but also their neighbours who might well visit to
admire and share in this piece of new technology. However, through the
first 15 years of television's existence it's expensive price and
little choice of programmes meant most ordinary people's leisure
opportunities weren't affected.

Television broadcasting was halted for the duration of the Second
World War. During this period radio was forced to branch away from
Reith's initial intentions. No longer could it be a medium aimed at
satisfying the comfortable middle classes. It was important that it
became a source of morale for the ordinary people of Britain. The
radio began to broadcast the 'Forces Programme' specifically aimed at
providing this new working class audience with material that they
enjoyed listening too. This was a very important turning point in
...

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