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Evolution of Platforms

Evolution of Platforms

Evolution of platforms refers to the changing standards and expectations for broadcasting and media distribution.

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Amy Tomlinson Gayle
Amy Tomlinson Gayle edited on 23 Jun, 2021
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Television began as a black-and-white medium that built on the transmission methods demonstrated by radio, which offered a way to transmit information between two places without the use of a wire. By the end of World War II, radio was popular and most homes had a radio in them. At the same time, television was a new and emerging technology; but unlike radio, the early television sets were large and relatively expensive. Even though the first scheduled television service began in July of 1928, it was not until after the second World War, whenthat popularity increased—when the technological advantages in manufacturing developed during the war drove the cost of television sets down, that popularity increased. By 1962, 92 percent of homes in the United States owned a television. This made television one of the most important technological and cultural advancements of the 20th century from the mid-1950s on.


Often called the golden age of television, emerging in the 1950s, television had become widely available and the color television was emerging and available during the decade. This technology was based on an all electronic color transmission standard that was developed by the National Television Standards Committee (NTSC), which was a group of companies with a financial interest in the development of a color television standard. This standard was in competition with a CBS-sponsored system, which initially won the support of the FCC, until 1953. In 1953, the FCC reversed its decision and approved the NTSC's RCA color system.


Later, YouTube launched YouTube Red, a subscription service that lets customers watch videos and stream music without ads and offers access to exclusive content. This was later renamed toas YouTube Premium, which spun off the music streaming service to a separate service called YouTube Music. In 2017, YouTube launched YouTube TV, an on-demand streaming service launched in select markets. This proliferation of services and options has allowed YouTube to compete in most avenues of the entertainment and broadcasting services and to compete directly with television and be part of the change in the consumption of media.


Although not necessarily the first video on demand (VOD) service, and with a greater focus on television shows, Hulu was established in 2007 following a deal between NBC Universal, News Corporation, and a number of companies such as Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, and MySpace, to give users access to a library of television shows. This library included current shows with material syndicated to partner distribution rights, and older shows. Similar to YouTube, the platform was supported through advertising and was available only to viewers in the United States. By 2009, the site received more than 38 million viewers and delivered more videos than any site other than YouTube. The company was able to increase its advertiser base to 250 sponsors and generate $120 million in revenue.


Arguably Netflix is arguably the most popular and successful of the streaming platforms, and is the first service to begin to convince consumers that they could do without cable subscriptions to linear television providers. The company was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph as a video-rental company, where users paid a flat monthly fee for as many movies per month as they wished, but with a limit on the number of DVDs in their possession at one time dictated by their subscription plan. By 1999, this service was offered online.

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