Alexis Turner, Lindsay Brenner, and John Roberts

In this section we will be discussing the factors that affect the future of television, movies, and photography. Many changes have happened since the rise of these different medias and many changes are still happening today that effect how we use and view them.


Originally, most computers and television sets brought pictures to life through the use of cathode-ray tube (CRT), an older device that used electron means to transmit pictures onto a screen. It was invented by a German mathematician and physicist named Julius Plucker in 1859. Around 1878, a Chemist by the name of William Crookes upgraded his work (Pavilk & McIntosh, 2016).

The earliest of television was of soap operas. At first, they only marketed household products in the hopes of a buy. Soap operas have always and still do air when men are expected to be at work and women were expected to be cleaning the house or taking care of the children. Needless to say, their main demographic was of the married woman. Then came along the company Proctor & Gamble, who were the creators of Guiding Light, the original soap opera of what we think of them nowadays; it had the longest running time, starting and ending in the years 1952 and 2009, with over 16,000 episodes. Two other long running soaps were As the World Turns (1956-2010) and Another World (1964-1999). However, as more and more women went and joined the workforce, more and more soap operas had to be taken off air due to low ratings. During the 1980s, soaps lost about 25% of their audience. For these reasons, no new English-language soaps have come around since the 1990s. Nowadays, shows like Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer, Rachael Ray, and The View seemed to have replaced them (Pavilk & McIntosh, 2016).

During the 1980s and 90s, public access television was what people used to do…. well, pretty much anything they wanted in front of an audience. This included yoga sessions, talk shows about current sports and beer, even strippers or porn stars (Moylan, 2015). However, nothing, no fame or fortune ever came to these stars, plus their shows were only able to reach local viewers with the same cable network. And then came YouTube. The first video ever uploaded onto the site, “Me at the Zoo,” received over 19 million views over ten years. Ever since that day on April 23rd, 2005, nothing was ever the same; both public access as well as major networks (Moylan, 2015).

YouTube was originally created to make it easier to upload videos onto blogs, which at the time had been gaining in popularity (Moylan, 2015).  However, in under a decade it was able to develop its own culture, a way of operation that was seen as a threat to most television business models. On December 17, 2005 an SNL short entitled “Lazy Town” was posted on the site. It was possibly the first viral video and received 5 million views in two months, afterwards NBC had it taken down. Television, music, and movie companies all worried that their content was going to be taken and spread out for free. Though this fear did diminish greatly with the appearance of YouTube’s own original content (Moylan, 2015).

Around 2007, internet sensations had begun to rise from the use of YouTube. Almost anyone could be a star, all you needed was some kind of camera and an idea. For example, Pewdiepie is the largest channel with, at the time, 37 million subscribers. He has such a strong and massive following yet all he does is play video games and make silly commentary on them. Tyler Oakley has a following of 6 million subscribers, yet all he does is talk about his life and celebrities. Bethany Mota has a following of 7 million yet all she does is show off items she just bought at the mall. With YouTube and a camera, anyone could be a star; they had taken public access and improved it into something far wider spread and as something you can actually have for a career. (Moylan, 2015).

No longer fearful of what YouTube may do with their content, companies began to take advantage of it. Broad City for example started out as a web series on YouTube before it became hit on Comedy Central and VICE posts short documentaries on the site all the time. Companies now work alongside YouTube, using the site to get views on after shows, advertisements, and original content to make them money. An example being of Epic Meal Time, an extreme cooking show with 7 million subscribers that was ordered to make 13 episodes (Moylan, 2015).

As for the ultimate future, many have begun discussing 3D television. Manufacturers were hoping to unveil it in 2010. However, even though almost a decade after this apparent release date, there is still hope for it in the upcoming future.  Companies predict that consumers will immediately take their LCD and plasma TVs off the walls in exchange for this new high-tech.  They would originally cost around $2,000, far more expensive than the best of all flat screens and owners would have to have their own 3D glasses or “Techie Goggles.” Eventually, the price should become low-enough for all of the middle class to have one or two of their own. According to Van Baker, an analysis at Gartner Research, “3D is an effort by the industry to come up with something that will motivate consumers to trade up” (Biagi, 2012).


The movie industry has undergone serious changes throughout the years. The movie industry can not only re-create reality but create it. In 1891 Thomas Edison created the kinetoscope which was a device that could capture one shot images. During the time this was happening, two brothers invested in creating a portable camera that allowed shooting in the morning that could be processed during the night. This invention made it possible for people to view these images after they were taken. This was huge and was the beginning of the movie industry. Next was adding sound and color to these short clips to recreate what people heard and saw. In 1920 a beam splitter was used to divide light entering the lens that allowed different colors to appear. This was a huge step forward for the movie industry because they were now more interesting. The next big thing was sound and this was easier that color. Almost ten years after color was added in movies sound was produced. Adding sound and color made movies give more of a variety of what the viewer could see. Although many silent black and white films were still interesting these new technologies made movies more appealing to the viewer. This was the start to a whole new industry. Throughout these changes there have been many factors effecting the future of movie industry. (Pavlik)

The main factors effecting the future of movies is distribution and new technologies. Distribution has changed the movie industry dramatically. Movies were physically shipped to homes and places to then be watched. This process took a while because things couldn’t ship overnight, it would take days or even weeks. This kept the demand for movies high. There also weren’t unlimited copies of each film either so the ability to show multiple viewers wasn’t an option. Now in 2017 we are able to rent movies physically and watch movies online. This means Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and YouTube all give us access to watch movies online instead of going to a movie theatre. Movies make most of their money from premiering in theatres because the film is show there before anywhere else. Movie theatres are the first to show new movies which attracts people because many don’t want to wait until the DVD comes out. Movie theaters are also a place where families go for a fun time. Theatres will continue to strive because so many people are interested to going to see new movies especially when special effects are added.

New technologies allow movies to be better than ever before. These new technologies are special effects, digital animation, computer film editing, and many more. These effects are added to movies to create a more interesting film so the viewers will be intrigued when watching it.  Since there are so many new technologies available movies are more advanced than they ever were in the 1800’s. For example, in one of the newer Star Wars movies filmmakers digitally recreated two characters who were never physically never there. This advanced technology is the future for movies because there are so many opportunities that can happen when making a movie. When movies come out in 3D with other special effects often times the theatre needs to buy new equipment to be able to show these movies. These are changes that business owners need to adapt to with these new technologies. The movie industry will continue to evolve over time and change with the different factors effecting it as well as photography industry.


The future of digital photography is strong and moving forward at a rapid pace in the new digital age. We are creating such advanced technology to capture the world that it is rare to see or meet someone without the ability to do so right then and there. Every single phone has a camera on it and everybody seems to use them all the time.

This in turn is the worst possible thing to ever happen in the history of photography to real photographers. Now everybody has the chance to say that they are photographers because they took some pictures with their phone at sunset and it looked nice. They are not professional photographers at all. There are huge differences in the two. This in the end makes the real photographers suffer from getting recognition because they are thrown into a never-ending abyss of photo media that went spiraling out of control after the ability to “share,” via social media went worldwide. Now it can be really hard to find a good well-known photographer since there are so many. The technology today unlike the early 90s is super affordable now. Anyone can buy professional grade camera equipment if they want to, mostly because the cost of film has been eliminated and creates a much less hassle to get work done. Now instead of taking a few good photos to have for keeping we take thousands of photos with much less meaning. Most photos get forgotten about the day after they were taken and usually end up getting deleted due to lost and broken phones. Whether someone knows how to use a camera or not is a totally different story and that is all real photographers have to separate them from everyone else because they can tend to be very passionate about their work and effort put in. But this equipment is available to all and there is nothing stopping anyone except financial standing to become a stand out photographer, because the high-end quality gear isn’t always affordable to the average consumer. (Scotece, 1)

The prices have always been fluctuating with the digital age though. Every time a new camera comes out the previous model becomes obsolete and the price drops immensely allowing the less fortunate or folks with less money now able to afford this technology. That new model will be very high in price and bought by the real photographers that want to stay on top of the game in the field. Unlike most computer software and cell phones, when a new camera version comes out from any company they set out to beat all competition and offer amazing features and quality that no other has and it works. It’s like when a new iPhone comes out, because yours might be working completely fine but now there is a new one with better features. When a new camera is released outrageous numbers of people will then switch camera models and sell their old devices. This is something the camera industry has always done. It’s just another reason why the future in photography is going to move so rapid and it’s why all phones are able to have tiny compact high-tech cameras that produce great images. It is important to keep up with the new gear. With so many new and better models now being made you can find old cameras that are relatively cheap and still take amazing quality images. Cameras now can range from $100 to $100,000, so if you felt like blowing your entire bank account in thirty seconds you could easily try to become a professional photographer.

The other side of the industry, the camera companies are currently doing well. However, thirty years ago, you needed to buy a real camera to take photos. Now with our cell phones doing so well, people aren’t even going to consider buying a real camera if they have a working one on their phone. In the long run if camera phones keep improving, the need to buy a camera dedicated to that one thing might not be worth buying. Cameras will never die but don’t seem to be increasing in demand as much as they might if phone companies didn’t make their goal to provide the best camera.

Work Cited 

Biagi, Shirley. Media/Impact: an introduction to mass media. 10th ed., Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012.

Campbell, Richard, and Christopher R. Martin. Media & Culture. 10th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015.

Moylan, Brian. “A Decade of YouTube Has Changed the Future of Television.” Time.com, Time, 23 Apr. 2015.

Pavilk, John V., and Shawn McIntosh. Converging Media. 5th ed., Oxford University Press, 2016.

Scotece, Enrico. “The past and the Pending: Photography, Phenomenology and Intent as Perceptual Experience.” Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, vol. 10, no. 1, May 2016, pp. 118-127.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Introduction to Media Studies Copyright © by Alexis Turner, Lindsay Brenner, and John Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book