Major network television has been around since the 1940s. Classic shows like “the Honeymooners” and “The Ernie Kovacs Show” moved U.S. audiences away from radio to the new medium. By the 1950s, shows such as “I Love Lucy” and “Leave It To Beaver” demonstrated that TV was a cultural force that changed how people understood their place in society. Since the late 1980s, Internet providers have shifted the culture industries away from using television, advocating instead for companies to use the world wide web to deliver global media.
The growth of the web returned communications technology to its original function of facilitating conversations between people. Technologies such as the telegraph and early DX, HAM radio devices were used to simplify communication over vast distances. The rise of entertainment radio and television removed that sense of two-way communication between sender and receiver. The web offered a way for people to engage in better communication without sacrificing the important innovations introduced by TV.
The most important way that the web is different from television is that users can use Internet providers to create their own content without appealing to major networks for funding. Instead of making their own programming, media networks deliver the channels for user-generated content. Although email was the first wave of digital communication, advancements in speed and data processing have given rise to a new world web that can deliver its own visual media.
The 1990s saw a massive leap in digital technologies because of two important factors: (1) the growth of fiber optic networks allowed for a wider distribution of fast download speeds, and (2) compression technologies finally reached a level where people could stream visual media in a more convenient way on their computers, and most recently, mobile devices. The greatest example of this was the proliferation of video website.
The major growth year for video-hosting websites was 2005. Originally, such sites consisted of low-cost, homemade videos. However, there are now plenty of websites that amass tremendous followings for their fiction and nonfiction programming. Going further in providing quality content, some media-delivering sites have created partnerships with traditional providers to create an entirely new way to access to television and movies. Working alongside TV networks and movie studios, many popular video-hosting websites now grant users the ability to select from a catalogue of films and television programs for an access fee. These websites have paved the way for greater collaboration with traditional media networks, which has allowed for the growth of Internet television.
Although there are already plenty of web series and web-based streams, these shows are still in their initial stages. As time progresses, there will surely be even greater cross-platform program distribution as movie studios and television networks discover the best ways to deliver high quality content. As compression technologies get better, and access to faster speeds becomes easier, Internet providers are poised to become the next major media networks.