Sunday, 3 August 2014

Post 2: The live sport interface from the broadcast era to the post-broadcast era - giving power to the people

Nusselder described the Freudian idea that technology is a way to realize fantasy (11). In televised sport, the fantasy is the live game experience and television is the interface to this fantasy. As Drucker would say, the layout of the interface will have an important effect on the reception of the content (9). As such, the game (i.e. the fantasy) is always the dominant feature. Graphics such as the scoreboard or statistics will occasionally appear, but only cover an insignificant portion of the screen, allowing the audience to continually focus on the events of the game. Throughout the broadcast, a director controls the interface, deciding what camera angles to use and when to display certain graphics. The director has to continually change the interface based on the situation and his understanding of the audience's expectations. In turn, the expectations of the audience can also vary due to cultural factors (Drucker 11). An American broadcast for example is more likely to feature stats and corporate logos than an NZ broadcast, due to the popularity of fantasy sport and greater commercial influence in their sports leagues.

As we move into the post-broadcast era, a major trend appears to be personalization. A factor behind this is globalization. Rather than have broadcasters try to appeal to everyone at once, through interactive interfaces, users can have more control over their viewing experience and thus, more control over their realization of their fantasy. Examples in live-sport include digital viewing packages such as NFL GamePass or NHL Gamecenter. Non-sporting examples include Netflix or SkyGo. Like World of Warcraft in Galloway's chapter (42), they have additional interfaces within the main interface, featuring buttons that allow users to customize aspects of the interface such as camera angles, the visibility of certain graphics and commentary. To some extent, with live sport in particular, this can be seen as democratizing the broadcast, giving users certain directorial privileges that would not be available in the broadcast era (though they are still bound to the content provide by the broadcaster). Digital packages such as these are becoming exceedingly popular due to their convenience as well as customizability, and it will be interesting to see how they affect old media broadcasts in the long run.

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