Reaching the `TV literate’

Jay SwitzerVice-President, Station ManagerCitytvThe viewers that we are holding, or are speaking to, are becoming increasingly sophisticated about the medium of television.They are tv literate. They can handle more than one simple, single, linear story. They have the ability to absorb...

Jay Switzer

Vice-President, Station Manager

Citytv

The viewers that we are holding, or are speaking to, are becoming increasingly sophisticated about the medium of television.

They are tv literate. They can handle more than one simple, single, linear story. They have the ability to absorb information coming at them at many levels simultaneously.

The traditional, talking-head-in-a-dark-studio, circa 1965, does not apply anymore to young people and not-so-young people who are comfortable with tv and have grown up with it – people who are used to flipping the channels and using the tv like the public used to use radio 20 years ago.

Those broadcasters that recognize and acknowledge their sophistication with the media are those that are gaining.

We have stopped trying to be all things to all people. Traditional tv convention would have broadcasters be just that, something for everybody.

We have never played that game, and have said it is okay if half the public does not like us.

It is more important, from our point of view, to be the favorite choice of one-quarter or one-third of the audience, so there is a special relationship there.

We have chosen to go after viewers that are slightly younger than the average of the population, more urban than suburban, more progressive, psychographically active viewers.

tv is the most powerful, useful and most-maligned medium around. It has taken over as the single most important source of entertainment and information for today’s young people.

We are involved in a documentary series that we are producing, commissioned by the cbc called TVTV: Television Looks at Itself.

One of our major findings is that any time anyone talks about tv, and analyzes or discusses the medium, historically, it has always been by people of other media, who have a vested interest in dumping on it.

We have tried to tear apart the preconceived notion of tv not being art, and challenge those that frown on it as, God forbid, a mass medium that might entertain some people.