Thursday, September 15, 2011

Matrix Media and Tosh.0

Curtin claims that the era of media we are currently in is the era of “matrix media”, which is media defined as having “interactive exchange, multiple sites of productivity, and diverse modes of interpretation and use” (Curtin 13). In my definition, I would call it media that is defining and inventing genres as it is produced; for example, internet videos are matrix media because they are taking the comedy genre and changing audience expectations with creative content that sets it apart from many television shows that have been using the same style of comedy for decades. The media industries are fearful of matrix media because it threatens to put them out of business with its creative content, but it is also dependent on these media industries to produce the type of media that will refine genres and ultimately produce better products.

When I was reading about the matrix media system, one example that I thought of was the success of Tosh.0 on Comedy Central. For those of you that haven’t seen it (and your missing out), the show is hosted by comedian Daniel Tosh, who takes a look at internet clips (both famous and not) and makes fun of them in front of a green screen and studio audience. What is interesting about this show is that it has its roots in the form of pure matrix media: the show is essentially a half hour long You Tube “response” clip, where users would typically just upload their reactions and riffs on popular clips. Tosh and the network recognized the popularity of these response clips, figured out that he was the right comedian for the job who would not be afraid to do or say anything, and built a highly affordable, wildly successful program around the idea. The network took what they feared, essentially copied ideas but also improved them greatly, and now we can enjoy things like this. In fact, the show is so popular, MTV stole this idea and is now touting their new show starring Rob Dyrdek, called Ridiculousness. This just proves more of the point that Curtin is trying to make: the media industry fears change, but will have no qualms about reproducing what is know to work on TV.

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