Abstract - The Information Society 32(5)

Spreading the Glee: Targeting a Youth Audience in the Multi-media, Digital Age

Valerie Wee

The television series Glee premiered on FOX in 2009, a time when broadcast television networks were struggling to remain relevant to a new generation of youth who seemed to prefer the interactivity and creativity of the digital media interface to the passivity of the traditional televisual experience. Amidst these conditions, Glee emerged as a (multi-) media text/product that found some success. This paper argues that much of this success lay in FOX and Glee’s harnessing of digital technology, especially social media. Audiences were encouraged to search for “the biggest [self-professed] Gleek,” spread Glee clips and even fan-created content to their friends on social media, and interact with stars, among other things. This investigation considers how the contemporary digital age has reshaped the state of network television, and the complex interactions between traditional and ‘new’ media, by examining the Glee phenomenon between 2009 and 2015.

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