If one were to take a look around one would see people constantly checking electronic
gadgets or streaming some type of video on a media device, whether it is a television show or funny video from YouTube. Think about it. When was the last time you viewed a television show during its regularly scheduled airtime? Did you watch it on a television? For many people, this traditional form of watching television is practically non existent, especially since Apple’s
2007 creation of the iPod Touch. As a result of new avenues to view television, the content created, as well as, the role of the creator morphed into a new formula for television production.
Contrary to the way many people are accustomed to watching television in its traditional form, there is a shift in the way audiences currently watch television content. Viewers are no longer passively watching televised programs. They are now actively engaged with the content. During the broadcast, numerous viewers communicate through the use of social media networks, such as
Twitter. They communicate among themselves, with cast members, and creators. As a result of technology advancement, television as a medium no longer dictates how viewers observe content. Audiences now have the luxury of controlling when, where and how they watch television programs. One of the most highly rated television programs today is
Scandal written by Shonda Rhimes, a savvy storyteller who demonstrates an understanding of the importance of producerly text (spreadable media).
Shonda Rhimes’ television show
: Season 3 Episode 17 develops transnational appeal through the use of spreadable media. She strategically creates socially responsible text that transcends cultural boundaries through diverse well developed characters. Demonstrating an st understanding of the 21 century television industry, Rhimes develops relatable content that
captivates audiences, eludes typical stereotypes, embraces diversity and generates fandom. Using the theory of spreadable media, I will scrutinize Rhimes’ Season 3 Episode 17 of
and present evidence of its spreadable and transnational qualities.
The theory of spreadable media coined by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford and Joshua Green in
Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Culture in a Networked Culture explains that content must provide a message while leaving some information to the imagination of the viewers. They contend that using this openended process of developing content helps to make television production successful in a variety of markets. As these authors discuss characteristics of spreadable media, they rely on John
Fiske, a communication scholar who states: “If the cultural commodities or texts do not contain resources out of which the people can make their own meanings of their social relations and identities, they will be rejected and will fail in the marketplace. They will not be made popular”
Quote on Quote
As the authors continue their discourse on the theory of spreadable media, they express how television programing has changed to fit the various mediums that viewers utilize to consume media. Specifically in chapter 5
Designing for Spreadability
, they provide a strong analysis of modern media and all that it encompasses. Within this chapter, there are supporting arguments which underline the difference between content that expands across various platforms (spreadable) verses content that is limited. The authors explain successful portrayals of this concept as “producerly text”, or content that has a defined message while containing gaps that are large enough for whole new text to be created.
For example, after the premier of season 2
, Scandal began airing internationally. It began airing in markets in Australia, and parts of South Africa as (
). Another example of
spreadability is its most recent program that aired on