Rizzo, Teresa. “Programming Your Own Channel: An Archaelogoy of the Playlist”.
From Kenyon, A. (Ed) “TV Futures”. Melbourne Uni Press, 2007. (108-134)
In this chapter, Teresa Rizzo addresses the technological and cultural changes in digital media through the notion of the playlist. The chapter is divided into three main sections; the first looks at three case studies and the role of the playlist. The second section considers the term ‘flow’ as defined by theorist Raymond Williams and later explanation of flow from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Finally, the the third section ponders the consequences of the shift in television programming through the individualised play list.
By considering three case studies – Foxtel iQ, YouTube and the iPod – Rizzo examines the role of the playlist and its effect on our attitude towards the television. Using the example of the Foxtel iQ PDR, she distiguishes two modes of viewing – the temporal mode which consists of tuning in to the TV at a specific time for a particular program and the spatial mode of time where the channel is seen as a place to visit rather than time-structured program to tune into. Foxtel iQ ultimately gives viewers the control to create their own personal playlists which can be viewed at anytime and are highly personalised. The next example, YouTube, takes the personalisation even further by inviting users to create their own channel. Rob Cover describes this as the ‘democratisation of media texts’ which ‘stems from a desire for co-participation’. The iPod also enables personalisation and customisation as well as mobility, changing completely the original notion of the domestic television that brings families together .
Williams provides a concept of flow grounded in ideas about sequence where there is ‘a specific arrangement of and approach to timing, organisation and viewer experience’. Sequence can also be approached by enticing audiences to watch an evening’s viewing of programs rather than just the one. StarWorld, for example, has Monday Night Comedy Night and Thursday Lock & Load (Action) to attract audiences and keep their attention.
Deleuze and Guattari see flow as the connection of different kinds of ‘machines’ – bodies, institutions and discourses. It is the connection that creates a machine which can be seen in the analogy of a bicycle from Claire Colebrook; “The human body becomes a cyclist in connecting with the machine; the cycle becomes a vehicle.” In their definition, interruptions are just as important to create a multiplicity of connections. For the internet in particular, these ‘interruptions’ allow for the flow of following different hyperlinks. This notion of flow moves away from the passive, one-way flow and towards interactivity.
Flor relates to the shape and culutral form of television in a digital environment. We have always seen it as a one-way process which we have little control over, but this is now changing. With the democratisation of the playlist, audiences now have greater control over their media.