My TV pet peeve
One of my biggest pet peeves about television terminology is the difference between a network and a channel. Here’s what I write in my in-process television textbook:
The difference between cable and satellite channels and networks can be slippery, as the terms are used inconsistently throughout the industry. Although many cable channels call themselves “networks” (like Cartoon Network or Food Network), they do not have affiliates and thus are not truly “networked”—instead they are single national channels that air identically across the country. Likewise, for the everyday viewer, a channel on your cable box is the same whether it’s a national cable channel like CNN or a network like Fox, but there is a crucial distinction for the industry—the Fox you watch is actually a local station affiliated with the network, not a national channel. Thus while the terms network, channel, and station are often used interchangeably within the industry and everyday use, each has its own specific structure and role within the television system, and thus it is worth being careful to distinguish what is meant by each term.
Knowing that I care about such minutiae, Amanda Lotz sent me this article announcing that TV Guide Channel is “rebranding” as TV Guide Network. According to the TV Guide representative, “‘network’ conveyed programming” more than channel. To me, it conveys that the company whose job has traditionally been to catalog the offerings of networks, channels, and stations doesn’t know the difference between the terms!
Anyway, anybody else have any pet peeves about TV that raise your hackles like this?
Filed under: TV Industry | 7 Comments