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Is television going the way of other obsolete media?

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Has television had its day? Will it soon go the way of the clay tablet, the town crier and other obsolete media? It’s hard to believe that so seemingly irreplaceable a fixture in our daily lives for the past 60 years, prized and damned with equal passion, could be fading into irrelevance, but that seems to be the case, Weekly Playboy (April 13) fears.

Recently, Fuji TV marked its 50th anniversary with a speech from the chairman that was less than celebratory. “I would like,” he told the broadcaster’s assembled employees, “to hand out a cash envelope to each one of you -- or maybe it’s more appropriate to say I would like to receive a cash envelope from each of you. In plain language, we are out of money.”

Crowded by the Internet, deserted by sponsors, television, that quintessential 20th-century medium, struggles to find a place for itself in the post-20th-century world. Fuji TV’s money worries are shared across the board, Weekly Playboy finds.

“Our drama division is in a real bind,” laments a Nihon TV staffer. “Every time we produce a drama, we have to negotiate a fee reduction with the actors.”

At TV Tokyo, economic measures seem to be wearing everyone down. “It extends to little things,” grouses an employee. “Like stationery. We used to have ballpoint pens with the TV Tokyo logo, costing about 200 yen. Ever since the Lehman shock [in September], we’ve switched to cheap pens with no logo.”

That in itself is no tragedy. The question is, can quality programming coexist with financial austerity? The evidence lately suggests it may not be possible. “It’s a fin-de-siecle situation,” sums up a TV Asahi staffer.

Take TV drama, once the “flower” of the medium. “Even the top TV stations,” Weekly Playboy hears from one industry insider, “are finding that nowadays fewer and fewer viewers are tuning in to dramas. In the old days we’d polish the script over and over, we’d agonize over the actors, the location…. That’s finished now. TV stations today just want to maximize ratings with as little trouble as possible -- anything that’ll draw sponsors. As a result, we’re presenting sponsors with the same stuff over and over again, and bringing in the same proven actors. It’s very discouraging.”

“We all long for the glittering dramas of old,” says a producer. “But it’s impossible. In the current climate, we can no longer spend money like water, as we used to. Now the first thought on our minds has to be the budget. You can’t turn out original work that way. So you settle for conventional stuff -- popular manga, popular novels.”

Those for whom “idiot box” has always been an apt synonym for TV will retort, “So, what else is new?” But if even good television represented a cultural dumbing down, imagine the nefarious influence of bad television!

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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It seems clear we will eventually be getting most of our content from the net, in HD quality, when we want it. I even question the necessity of the push to digital TV broadcasts - except to sell more TVs, of course :-)

Given the switch to HDD recorders, I wonder if anyone has performed any studies to try and measure the effect that time shifting has on advertising effectiveness. The poor content aside, the ROI may be going down quickly...

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So also go on the internet like most western media companies do. and what obselete media? Clay tablet became paper, town crier became a internet page it changed. So television also needs to change

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The question is, can quality programming coexist with financial austerity?

TV Quality in Japan? I do not think so. Only the cooking shows get any where near quality. The dramas and the stupid I scream and laugh the loudest at non-funny people are so low in quality, that they should all be banned.

**

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Hey, 1.5% of the comedy shows are funny! And the ridiculous CM's are awesome. You should youtube Inuchkun. that is the best.

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No, not in Japan, ageing society will need Tv's more than any other media.

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The idiots think that furiously deleting posted TV clips on YouTube will stop the outflow of people to the internet - heaven forbid that people like what they see and tune into the show on TV next week...

TV will probably move to an online mix of on-demand shows and live streaming in a few years or so.

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The title of this article should be re-worded to read "Is JAPANESE Television going the way of other obsolete media?" In other countries, Television is on the up and up, and so is radio. Japan, a nation apart from the rest of the world, is different. Japanese TV is puerile and boring - especially NHK, but the commercial networks just offer total mind-numbing trash. Japanese people prefer their keitai phones and also silly little hand held computer games, so of course, TV here is on the way out, and has been for a long time, just like Japanes radio.

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Japanese TV industry is just an arm of the advertising industry and the talent agency industry..... there is no such thing as quality TV in Japan, and precious little anywhere else...

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I've just bought alittle portable TV for the bedroom with Freeview. Oh, it is so lovely watching what i like, instead of sitting in the lounge with my tiresome husband watching cartoons and Rainbow. Maybe in Japan the telly is going downhill, but in Britain there are more channels all the time, and some our good quality. I hspend so much time in front of the box i feel a bit guilty not poooping round to see Ann next door a bit more.

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They aired what seemed like a 3 or 4 hour long block of a 1980s variety programming the other night, complete with "tarento" watching from the bottom corner of the screen. It probably cost all of 5 bucks to air. Quality programming - NO. The end of Japanese TV couldn't come soon enough for me.

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Last night we were treated to a gem in the form of one long advert for 'Gasuto'. That would be of the family restaurant variety. Anyway, the prog consisted of comedians trying to guess the top ten most popular menu items offered by said family restaurant, by seemingly trying them all.

So we had comedy mixed with food. The main stay of JTV so you can't get any better or less creative than that. Unsurprisingly, considering that it was an advert disguised as entertainment, every dish was accompanied by the mandatory, price plus steaming close up and wails of 'Umai' or 'Oishii' by the fools brought out to entertain us. I honestly have never seen such a pointless exercise in TV programming in my five years here. The result could be summed up as; Food = delicious and Gasuto's food is thus delicious.

They even ordered rice from the menu and, unsurprisingly, it too was delicious. Genius TV execs!!!

You would think that with the low budgets and high CM revenue, TV companies would be floating in cash, so what went wrong?

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Last night we were treated to a gem in the form of one long advert for 'Gasuto'. That would be of the family restaurant variety.

Haha, I saw that Gusto programme too - it was admittedly kind of interesting to see how the business is run, but at the same time hilarious that it was such a blatant infomercial for Gusto. I wonder who paid who to have the programme produced?

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we’ve switched to cheap pens with no logo.”

That's all they are worried about? Shesh... pens.. Japanese viewers are realizing that the Japanese made dramas are crap... bad acting or over acting, bad lighting, over the top action scenes, the same actors in every drama and the fact it only runs a few weeks at a time.

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Has television had its day?

Judging by the abysmal standards of the freakshow that is Japanese commercial television, TV is trying to kill itself

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I think television will stay for a few more decades. Nothing beats watching tv/movie on the sofa with beer and food--something you cannot do (lazily) on a computer.

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Sir, The television would continue to play its role as "idiot box" and it would continue to take away the prime time of family. It is unfortunate that television has killed the hobby of reading.

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If the inane ridiculous banality is even too banal for Japanese, then congratulations to TV are indeed in order. It's done and done. But J-pop has also lost me over the years as the decades roll on, so who can say?

Western shows fair no better. I have better things to do with my time than waste it with inane commentary or views. I also eventually gave up on sports.

I'd say I'm a lot happier. I read, communicate, go online, but overall, become a person. Someone who is gasp doing something. Entertainment is not doing something, as Japan is slowly finding out.

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The Gusto program hasn't just been Gusto. They've been doing a different restaurant or izakaya each week as far as I can make out. Last week or the week before it was Watami.

It really is a banal program but in some ways it epitomizes Japanese TV. Firstly, it's about food. Secondly, it's about minor celebrities eating that food. Thirdly, it's extremely parochial... most people probably have a Gusto or Watami nearby so they can easily identify with it. Fourthly, it has some silly "goal" which must be achieved but which is absolutely pointless.

I think it's the parochial aspect of Japanese TV that is really disappointing. It is so focused on Japan and Japanese life and the minutiae of Japanese life.

I personally like Japan and finding out about Japan but even (after a few years) I'm absolutely fed up of this TV, so you'd think it would be even worse for the Japanese themselves.

I know there is a lot of terrible TV in the UK but I remember a couple of years back I went home to see the family and during the course of the stay asked my mum and sisters what they were watching or looking forward to watching on TV at the moment. They were really into the TV adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, about a female detective in Botswana.

It's difficult to imagine such a series ever being broadcast in Japan...

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The sooner J-TV dies the better! Have only used the idiot box for dvds for about 4yrs now.

Whatever you people do DONT TELL J=TV stns about the existence of the internet otherwise they might try to utilize then they cud destroy the world!!

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Yeah, and the internet is going the way of the papyrus. Nevermind we watch TV and use the internet ten times longer than we call our parents or walk in the park.

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many predicted the end of radio with the advent of television but yet, radio still continues to exist. even internet radio now exists. television may evolve, as will print media, but there is still enough room at the table for all forms of media. especially when one considers that the majority of the worlds population still lives in the 4th world where radio/print media continue to dominate. 75% of the world's population has never even heard of the internet ... ha ha ha. some people have never even heard of television. this discussion is really only for the privilged few. like arguing about which mercedes will make which BMW obsolete.

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"b" "o" "o" - "h" "o" "o"

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How long will TV last in its present form? We will have access to online/downloadable programming soon, so how will variety shows last?

All a good thing - but how the industry reshapes itself will be very interesting!

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TV will go, but the ads will stay.

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Am I the only one thinking that something must surely be done to protect this important international cultural heritage?

For surely the World will be a miserable, dark and ill-begotten place without the cultural contributions made to humanity and civilisation by Japanese talents' and comedians.

We may never know again whether some ramen is oishii or not; the implications of which must be sending shivers of fear down the spines of all high minded and culturally aware people in Japan.

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Japanese Televison is obsolete It's boring !!!! It's predictable !!! It's lame !!!! I only watch Smap Smap Bistro Show

That's it !!! I can't the difference between bad white rice and good white rice

Sorry !!!!

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We may never know again whether some ramen is oishii or not; the implications of which must be sending shivers of fear down the spines of all high minded and culturally aware people in Japan.

But we already know that its oishii..............ha,ha.ha

I wish just for once, a talent would be honest and say that some dish is okay but not their favourite. But no, it is always umai or oishii, or even kawaii. Possibly sugoi, too. Ehhhhhhh

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Management is what the bloody problem is ! he admitted himself they were spending cash like no tommoroow....hello! Mr .biggie working in a space ship silver ball that glows at night over tokyo bay!....extravagance!

hopefully it`ll be restructured and improve efficiency...get rid of the top hierarchy ...not just getting cheaper pens...

Asian markets love the Japanese TV shows so get more outa that..tourists are flocking here to see that aspect of Japan...actors mangement agencies are bloody crooks too so they need to get a dose of reality

Japanese TV is nutty but see how US and UK shows are now copying their crazy antics!.....gambatte Fuji, bringa us more action sports and more TV...we are addicts

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one can only hope so.

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I'll drink to that! I get my thrills from JT. Thank you JT.

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We may never know again whether some ramen is oishii or not

your statement implies that there has been non-oishii ramen on japanese tv. i find this highly unlikely

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I got sick of banal broadcasts,watching fat-cat tarento stuffing faces with food the most of us will never have the cash to eat,and the endless 'yagarase' of money being paid to set up stories,interviews and the like. Haven't had a TV for 3 years now and I don't miss it.

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Yes it will. Youtube is taking over dayo!

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I dont watch TV for years, is not wort the visit of NHK anyway. Internet is my source of free news and entertainment.

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