What exactly do we mean by TV?

by Mathew on April 25, 2007 · 5 comments

I probably shouldn’t write about this, but I can’t help myself. I had a conversation with a copy editor at the Globe tonight, for a story on Lonelygirl15 (which is in the paper tomorrow — see post below), and I found it revealing and frustrating at the same time. Let me say before I start that copy editors are incredibly important. And this one is not only very nice, but rescued me from making a stupid mistake with a name, and I appreciate that hugely.

snipshot_e415naaw9xpx.jpgSo I wrote about Lonelygirl15 doing a spinoff called KateModern, which is based in London, and I said that this new media, Internet-television experiment was getting something that is traditionally associated with TV — a spinoff. But the copy editor in question had serious problems with the way I put it. “What’s Internet television?” she said. “Is it on TV?” Well, no. “Then what makes it television?” Good question, I said. That’s kind of the point, in fact. So we agreed to call it Internet video — but I think it’s more than that. It’s short-form, episodic, character and plot driven narrative. How is that not television? But it’s not on TV.

So this editor kept getting confused when I mentioned TV, because this isn’t on TV and never will be, in the sense that it isn’t on “the box” and doesn’t come from a network. So what about streaming TV — is that TV? What about out-takes and mobisodes featuring the same actors — is that TV? That’s kind of what I’m writing about. But it makes it hard when even the people I’m writing it for don’t get what it is I’m writing about. And Mark Kuznicki shares my pain.

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