Television and the Net – Growing Together, Not Apart


The old fashioned wall posters that featured TV and movie stars along with rock bands and that highlighted generations of teen-age bedrooms have been overshadowed, if not replaced, by fan sites on the Internet. There are untold tens (hundreds?) of thousands of them, ranging from amateur idol worship to sophisticated collections of information, photos and often video clips of the person, or shows being lionized.

For the most part, fan sites can upload photos and small clips from films under the “fair use” policy. Generally speaking, fair use is a court-defined copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. Short clips or stills of a program or film are usually covered under fair use.

Turning Fandom into Big Business

Like most everything else on the Internet, people are finding ways to make money from the phenomenon. There are indexes of TV fan sites that are peppered with advertising. Sites for the soap opera stars provide particularly potent advertising opportunities. There are “official” and unofficial sites dedicated to public figures in the  entertainment  world. Many of the unofficial sites have advertising as well, while the official sites often peddle memorabilia. For that matter, so do the unofficial sites.

Any Press is Good Press

What the  entertainment  industry has learned is that, generally, fan sites have a positive impact on the entertainer or entertainers featured. The old adage about negative news coverage is “Print anything you want about me, just spell my name properly.” In other words, any coverage is good coverage, any exposure is good exposure. The really short version is “there’s no bad press.”

For television, this is particularly important with regard to the premieres of new shows and the launch of new seasons. Web fan sites provide the opportunity for the TV networks to premiere character outlines and even selected promotional clips. This was previously the exclusive domain of morning  news  programs and  entertainment   news  magazines like  Entertainment  Tonight.

In the World of Sports

In the sports world, there are several gaming sites – particularly in the UK – that invite viewers to upload their personal videos or photos of pro athletes or games. The entire sports industry, including the gaming segment, is TV driven. Some sites pay for this content. In this country as in Europe, many of the media savvy pro athletes have their own websites. Controversial pros such as Barry Bonds and Terrell Owens use those sites to respond to negative news coverage; you will often see their personal blogs quoted in sports stories. Some athletes peddle their own autographed memorabilia over their web sites.

TV Personalities

Many teen TV and music personalities also have their own websites and provide (ostensibly) personal updates on their lives, careers, etc. It has changed the nature of teen idol worship by bringing the entertainer much closer to the fan. These personal “star” sites have proven to be productive publicity and outreach tools for performers seeking to build a following among the 12-24 age group. They have also helped to build ratings for the TV shows starring these young actors. is a site dedicated to television and film industry gossip, news and images. You can find television show clips there, presumably placed with permission from the studio. An important component of their content, however, is the index of fan pages for stars of all types – music, movies, TV. All of this content including the fan sites is interlaced with advertising for upcoming movies and many non-entertainment, online products.

You can even find a fan site index entitled “Obsessive Fan Sites – Excess only the Internet can Provide” at There is a weekly competition for worst site among the choices posted, along with lots of sardonic commentary.

Source by Madison Lockwood

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