Media, Entertainment & Cultural Discernment . . . Where do we go from here?

During the past eight months during this COVID19 season, how much more TV are you watching? Are you missing a new season of your favorite TV series since networks were following the CDC isolation, separation, and quarantining rules? Undoubtedly, they were not allowing actors, producers, and script writers to assemble. So, has clicking the reruns become your routine?

Many of us have also forgotten all the many alternatives to watching TV, such as yoga, bike ride, a hike, rock climbing, play with your pet, swim, star gazing, fishing, camping, picnic, bonfire, watch a sunset/sunrise, train for a marathon, museum/gallery visits, clean out pantry, learn a new recipe or craft. The list goes on and on. What would you add to the list? Be creative and make sure between TV watching you keep your body moving for your own health and wellbeing . . . body and soul!

Along with reruns, most all entertainment venues have shifted to live streaming (i.e. Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google’s Android TV and Apple TV) anything that would satisfy our need for more. The Wall Street Journal (With America at Home, the Streaming War Is Hollywood’s Ultimate Test by Joe Flint, Benjamin Mullin, Lillian Rizzo, April 11, 2020), reported streaming subscriptions all went up for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Now, Apple TV+, and CBS All Access.

According to the New York Post (Americans are streaming 8 hours a day during coronavirus lockdown by Allison Sadlier, SWNS, April 14, 2020), a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tubi revealed “. . . 56 percent of Americans frequently re-watch a show instead of starting something new . . . The findings of the survey illuminate just how much people are turning to streaming as a way to stay entertained and cope with social isolation . . . Americans are bingeing more content than ever before, seeking free streaming options alongside subscription services and turning to password sharing as a way to find more content.” We Americans are also searching for a new show. When they press “play,” families begin to binge often within a 48-hour time-period.

Through the Spring and Summer, TV watching stats went through the roof. Local news, streaming and on-demand movies all spiked in viewership and ratings from all age groups. Have you ever wondered how TV and film productions are going to get back to work now that it is already October? The longer the pandemic stays around, the harder it will be for the entertainment industry to keep the content coming. The entertainment industry is continually rethinking its strategy to gain market share and keep costs down.

Understandably, since June, various production companies have been attempting to get back to work. According to Variety (Coronavirus Spike Puts Hollywood’s Back-to-Work Plans in Serious Jeopardy by Adam B. Vary, July 1, 2020), companies are trying to create a “. . . latticework of health and safety guidelines meant to make production safer. The results so far, however, have been haphazard.” The restrictions placed on production companies are going to affect crowd scenes, fewer locations, limited romance. And what about wearing masks, six-foot distancing, hair & makeup (actors doing it themselves), large crowds avoided, just to name a few! One can only imagine what the Hollywood entertainment offerings are going to look like. And maybe that is a good thing! Maybe they will need to do a better job on the script writing!

So, as you cruise the channels and streaming to see what is coming your way, let us not forget one important thing. We all need to work on what we watch even more than how much. Through the last eight months, how has your media and entertainment reflected your core values. Have you compromised a little on what is acceptable for your family during this challenging 2020 year? Maybe, it’s time to re-evaluate our listening and watching choices and routines. How has the media and entertainment domains shaped your own world and our culture?

We often forget that those TV programs, movies, and streaming subscriptions we pay for every month help support whatever message and mix of values we hear and see on the screen. How much of it offends you?

Where do you go from here? I encourage you to do some research on alternatives that support your core values in entertainment, news, cultural trends, and influence the media to improve the quality of programming.

Be a voice for quality programming that reflects timeless truths and the best of humanity. The media & entertainment industries always follow the cash. Let’s all raise the standard by putting our media and entertainment money on those core values that provide our families a better way to preserve our nation’s higher principles and practices for all.