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The technological changes in the production, distribution and consumption of TV: A case of the Black Mirror TV series


Length requirements:

1250-1750 words (including the title and bibliography/works cited pages). For every 100 words under or over the word count, papers will be penalized 2%, e.g., a 1000-word paper will incur a 4% penalty, while a 1900-word paper will be levied a 2% penalty.

Students should upload their assignment as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx).

Formatting requirements:

Submissions should be double-spaced, with a 12-point font (Times New Roman/Arial/Cambria). Citations should be formatted in APA citation style, with a bibliography or works cited section at the end of their submission

Submissions should include a cover page that includes student name, number, and course information, along with an appropriate title (e.g., “Soundcloud Killed the Video Star: Hip-Hop as Subculture and as Cultural Dominant” or “An Analysis of Jeffree Star as Micro-Celebrity”).

Students may use first-person pronouns (e.g., “I,” “my,” etc.) in the course of writing their response.


Students’ submissions will be checked for originality after they have uploaded their assignment, using Turnitin (see the syllabus).   For their paper to be accepted for grading, students must produce a similarity index score lower than 20%. Papers submitted with a score of 20% or higher will not be graded until they are resubmitted with a satisfactory score.

Research requirements:

Students must cite or refer to at least five (5) academic sources, of which no more than two (2) can be from the course assigned readings. (Course assigned readings do not have to be used; all five academic sources can be from outside of the course.) An academic source can include an article from a peer-reviewed journal, a chapter from a text published by a university or scholarly press, etc. If students are unsure as to whether a source can be considered sufficiently academic, they should ask the instructor to confirm its acceptability. Non-academic sources like newspaper articles or blog entries can also be used but will not count towards the minimum number of academic sources that must be included in the paper.


The technological advancements reported in the broadcasting industry has had significant effects on the production and distribution of television content. Such changes have also affected the consumption of the content with the current consumers dictating the kind of information they devour (Van Dijck, 2007). According to Li, et al (2019) the emerging technologies have empowered the audience to control the conversation and content directed to them through the television programs and series. The power of the audience to research and share ideas and have been enhanced by increased accessibility to information and heightened connectivity achieved by the changes in the technology. Consequently, television series’ producers are forced to change how they connect with the audiences. Significant changes have been evident on the nature of content produced and their distribution process via different media (D’heer & Courtois, 2016). The Black Mirror TV series, first launched in the year 2011, clearly depicts the changes evident in Television production and distribution in the current times (Oihab, 2019). While exploring the impacts of technology on Television, this paper gives a discussion of the important changes evident in the production, distribution and consumption of the Black Mirror series. The emphasis is on the integration of the emerging technologies in the production and distribution of the series’ content to meet the expected consumption needs of the current audience.

Technological Changes in production, distribution and consumption of Television

Changes in technology in the broadcasting industry entails the inception and diffusion of new production techniques and products. Such changes have led to the demise of old practices and the emergence of new activities that form the basis of competition in the sector. To keep up with the changes and remain competitive, producers in the industry have embraced the technological changes and incorporated them in their production.

Focusing on TV production, major changes have been witnessed with the emergence of digital technologies incorporated in the production of various TV programs. According to Li et al (2019) the increasing capacity of the viewers to use smartphones, tablets and computers in the production process have affected how various contents are produced in television. The many avenues for production of TV content have resulted in a significant decline in the cost of production. Also, the proliferation of various contents availed over the internet platforms such as YouTube and Hulu have made it possible for the producers to avail content at reduced cost. Such advancement in technology have reduced the issue of financial constraint that was initially reported amongst TV producers as an impediment to their production (Beutler, 2019). Consequently, the release of the TV programs and series has seized to be a daunting task for most producers.

Besides, reducing the cost of production, the digitization of the TV production process has also resulted in changes in the features and nature of actors that can be included in a program. The high capacity of data transmission supported by the digitization process has enabled the produced to avail higher quality images and interactive processes in their production (Li, et al., 2019). The high interactivity also supports the inclusion of more actors in the program, and ability to compress the TV series content to occupy less storage space. Overly, the digitization of the TV production process has increased the data transmission capacity and relatively reduced the cost of operation for producers giving them an opportunity to avail quality content to the target audience.

Further emergence of new medium for the distribution of the TV content has also been reported within the broadcasting industry. Technological changes such as the development of the internet and increased accessibility of the same has made it possible for the producers to avail their content through a wide range of media (Van Dijck, 2007). Initially, TV producers were limited to air their content through television channels, however, current development have made it possible for such contents to be aired through the internet and over other technological devices included smartphones and tablets. The propagation of new video service providers such as Netflix and YouTube have made it possible for the producers to further reach a large audience (D’heer & Courtois, 2016). Also, the increase in number of devices and gadgets that can be used to access such video have also resulted in the ability of the producers to reach more viewers. The distribution of the TV content has thus been made easier by the increased in internet accessibility and the emergence of many technological devices that supports the viewing of such content.

Changes in the consumption of the TV content has also been reported following the changes in the TV programs’ production and distribution techniques. Significant growth in the on-demand consumption of TV content has been reported with most viewers choosing when to watch the programs (Lotz, 2009). The basis for the selection of the programs has overly been based on the quality of their content and display features. Also, the subscription fees labelled on a program determines its selection by the many viewers (D’heer & Courtois, 2016). Most viewers would opt for a quality and entertaining TV series that can be accessed through the many digital platforms. It is reported that young viewers rely on internet platforms to view most of the TV programs and series, thus are likely to opt out of the traditional cable-TV subscription (Beutler, 2019). Producers are thus forced to consider the demands of their targeted viewers in the distribution of the TV content, to reach a large audience and attain a maximum viewership.

The Black Mirror Case

The Black Mirror is a contemporary series that clearly depicts the many technological changes evident in the current production and distribution of the TV content. Besides being based on an overarching theme of technology, the TV series has integrated the new technologies in its production and distribution (Oihab, 2019). Taking into consideration the current consumption needs of its targeted consumers, the TV series focused on examining the modern society, in regards to the unanticipated impacts of new technologies. The episodes of the series are independent and invites the audience to think of the role of technology in transforming behavior as well as its probable role in harming the society (Blanco-Herrero & Rodríguez-Contreras, 2019). As much as users desire to understand the technological changes and their benefits, they also wish to know the dangers that the manipulation of such technologies can cause to the people and the society at large. Justifying the relevance of the series to the targeted audience.

The Black Mirror series indicates that social media and technological devices such as tablets and smartphones are the most recent forms of technologies evident across the globe. While these forms of technology have contributed significantly in improving the quality of life of the users, the series postulate that they might have adverse impacts if poorly used. According to Blanco-Herrero and Rodríguez-Contreras (2019) the development of addictive behavior, loss of security and privacy and lack of distinction between the virtual and real life are some of the adverse risks and negative impacts that the technologies are likely to cause in the future. Such information is of importance to the current generation who are keen on implementing and utilizing the emerging technologies. As such, the series was largely accepted by many viewers.

The script writers and producers of the Black Mirror film focused on a theme that is largely putative by the targeted audience to not only increase its acceptability but also benefit from its proceeds (Oihab, 2019). The high level of acceptance and increased performance were depicted by the high viewership and many nominations and awards that the series have attained since its inception (Blanco-Herrero & Rodríguez-Contreras, 2019). The series won the Emmy awards and three repeated wins in the Outstanding Television Movie category justifying its high level of performance in relation to previous series of similar category.

The role of technology in changing the consumption patterns of the Television content audience is also evident in the case of Black Mirror series. Initially, the producers availed the program through the traditional television media but were forced to distribute the content through other media (Oihab, 2019). As reported by Beutler (2019) the evolution of media network technology has entitled the consumers to many choices of accessing media data thus the need to avail the TV content through the many media platforms. The Black Mirror for instance was initially aired on Channel 4, but later the producers negotiated a deal with Netflix to have them air the series, with more than 19 episodes of the series being aired on the platform (Oihab, 2019). The results were enhanced viewership from about 1.6 million viewers reported on the Channel 4 to more than 2.5 million viewers on Netflix (Oihab, 2019). The focus on Netflix platform enabled the viewers to also access the TV series contents through their handsets since the platform is available as an app, further explaining the high number of viewers reported. The emergence of technology, played a major role in influencing the distribution of the Black Mirror TV series’ content.


From the discussion advanced, it can be deduced that the advancement in technology has had significant changes on the production, distribution and consumption of television content. Besides, changing the production styles, and distribution media, the emergence of new technologies have entitled the viewers to more choices of accessing the TV content, consequently, producers have been forced to distribute their content through many platforms, to reach a wide audience. Focusing on the Black Mirror TV series, the changes in technology have affected the production and distribution of the program. The series is based on a technology theme, a content that is highly sought after by the current viewers. Also, the producers have taken into consideration the changing needs and habits of the audience, to not only air the program through the traditional TV channels but also to avail various episodes through the Netflix platform. The adoption of the new technologies in the production and distribution of the Black Mirror series have resulted in an increased viewership and consequently an enhanced performance of the program.