Friday, September 30, 2011

YouTube: As an Integrative Part of Our Culture

“Largest worldwide video-sharing community”

I would like to research how YouTube has become an integrative part of our culture. More specifically how it benefits large companies to a single individual. The way we use YouTube’s is very unique. It can be used for business (major corporations, artist, advertisements, digital music videos, music labels, etc.) and pleasure (personal use, embarrassment, simply listening to your favorite song, finding/ uploading a funny videos to show friends and family etc.) I would like to look into how YouTube impacts the audiences as patrons of business, also how YouTube impacts the audiences as viewers of entertainment. In addition, I would like to touch on how YouTube is “free” according to Anderson’s theory. Lastly I want to talk about how YouTube is regulated, who regulates it? And what is being regulated?

Focusing on the business end of the research, I want to study how advertisements are “endless” on YouTube. Including advertisements posted on the site by the agencies as well as the advertisements that run before you watch a YouTube video. Are the agencies are actually benefiting from the YouTube advertisement? How much money is being spent vs. how much is being made. How does YouTube get paid? How many jobs have been created by YouTube if any?

In contrast, I want to look at how we the consumers use YouTube, to either get our name out there, entertainment and or post random videos. How do we benefit from posting these videos/ why do we want to post videos? Why do we want to watch homemade videos and post them on the internet for the world to see? Is our culture addicted to YouTube, if so why?

Generally speaking I do not know much about the history and the creation of YouTube an would like to explore this during my research. I am really excited to learn more about YouTube and how it has become the new craze!

Random thought: Maybe I can post a video and incorporate my experience into the data collection.

Internet and the Music Industry...

The Internet today, as we’ve discussed in class, relatively controls the music industry. With these new innovations we’ve come across for downloading music, it has become a free and easy way to purchase what us, consumers, want. The use of the Internet has also boosted new and different ways of getting music out to the public. Artists can now release their music right after its completed in the studio, show videos from youtube or social media websites, or simply allow fans to follow them on twitter.

For my project, I’d like to explore the impact of internet downloading in the music industry, and how it’s changed the industry forever. I will explore numerous issues concerning copyright infringement, the effect of the internet on several different types of artists, and whether or not the Internet has changed the music industry for the better. How has this uproar in music websites and online downloading affected the way that well known artists make money? How has the Internet changed the way we enjoy and listen to music? We used to listen to about 5-10 of our favorite artists, but I feel like now I have about 35 if not more. Is this because of the availability we are exposed to online? Do I like the fact that YouTube pretty much knows what I will want to listen to next.

There is so much about the Internet that affects the way we listen, download, and discover new music. I think this project can shed light on the full extent to which these aspects of our music are being affected by the Internet, and how it was so different before.

The Ongoing Battle with Digital TV Piracy

My topic proposal for my final project will look at how advancements in technology have affected digital TV piracy, and how the media corporations have had to adapt and deal with that. Digital TV Piracy is very common today, everyday millions of people illegally download and stream TV shows onto their computer. But now, with the advancements in technology people are not only able to watch TV on their television and computer, but on their smart phones and tablets. Technology is always changing which makes it hard for media corporations to keep adapting to new technologies.

Lobbyists for the big media corporations are lobbying too politicians saying the laws for TV piracy were made before the Internet era, but companies like Google are saying that the laws are fine and should not be changed. There is an ongoing battle that is occurring everyday to combat digital TV piracy. Questions that I am interesting in answering have to deal with how these media corporations can stop TV piracy. Would that be through updated regulatory measures? Would it be through advancements in technology that the media corporations can use to stop piracy? Watermarks are a type of technology that could prevent online digital TV piracy. Watermarks will prevent unauthorized viewing of copyrighted material. Digital watermarking is the process of embedding information into a digital signal, which may be used to verify its authenticity or the identity of its owners ( The DWA, the Digital Watermarking Alliance, has been involved in commercializing digital watermarking solutions. Watermarking is a tool that would be useful to media corporations in the fight against online digital TV piracy. Another question I have is why this watermarking technology is not in use right now? I also don’t understand why the government is allowing online digital TV piracy to continuously occur everyday, it doesn’t seem right. Through extensive research I should be able to find the answers to these questions.

Paperless News

In the past decade, newspapers have experienced a downward economic trend as readers turn to alternative modes and means of accessing and digesting new media. The digitalization of newspapers and the rapid progression of technology and cultural inclusion of these new technologies have resulted in soaring newsprint prices, slumping ad sales, and a severe drop in circulation and subscriptions. Over the past few years, once prominent and widely disseminated newspapers have had to close, declare bankruptcy, or undergo severe cutbacks in order to stay competitive against the onset of digital media. Since 2001, the newspaper industry has cut over a fifth of its journalist positions, begging the question; if journalism is no longer financially profitable as a profession or industry and consumers begin to turn to free online amateur journalism, how well informed can we be?

Within the industry, there is little consensus as to the best strategy for survival. Some newspapers are attempting to make new digital technologies work for them by adopting e-paper, pay per view, and online subscription models as a means to capitalize off increasing consumer demand for news. Despite newspaper efforts to retain their market share of newsreaders through the incorporation of new technologies in their business models, the once explosive growth of newspaper web revenues has leveled off, leaving the industry unsure of how to increase its profits. It appears that readers are increasingly less willing to pay for their news while information on the web is both plentiful and free.

What concerns me, as a student and researcher of communication, is that if reliable, accountable, and professional journalism becomes replaced by anonymous bloggers with questionable credentials and points of view, what effect will this shift have on our information driven society and culture? My goal for this paper will be to analyze, understand, and explain the cultural and industrial shifts in the newspaper industry that have lead to the rise of print-less journalism, and the effects these changes have and will have on American culture and society. While these goals are lofty and far-reaching, they will be grounded by the specific study of prominent news sources strategies to adapt to their changing environment and the ways that consumers are responding to these strategies.

The Kindle: the Changing Publishing World

For my topic I would like to look at how new technology is impacting the publishing world and specifically how the Kindle has impacted it. The analysis would begin with a discussion on how selling books worked before the Kindle. This would mean looking at the forerunners of book selling such as Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and others. I would specifically look at how Amazon prepared for the Kindle and how they first became a leader in book selling. The next would be to show the Kindle and the explosion that occurred with Amazon. With this new technological change came a whole new idea on how to read/buy/publish books. I would focus on the creation of ebooks and how this started to change the publishing world. The next step would be to look at how this impacted the industry. I would look at competitors and see their reactions to the Kindle. My major focus would be on how Borders failed to change with Barnes and Noble changed in time to possibly compete with Amazon and the Kindle. Finally, the last point would be to look at how having ebooks is changing the way things are done and the impact the Kindle will have in the future, especially in terms of content. This revolution will impact publishers and consumers but also authors, and not always for the better.

Profit Driven Media "It's all about the Benjamin's"

Profit Driven Media

For my topic proposal I want to explore media corporations and their desire to turn a profit rather than serving the public interest. The marketing/profits mentality is evident everywhere in the media and news industries today. The old professional values that urge media to dig investigate and bring to the light of day the relevant facts and issues, while the market/profit mentality, asks “is it worth it? Do enough people care?’ Media corporations are becoming more and more like monopolies today. Most corporations own multiple newspapers, various cable channels, and even rights to movies. In the capitalistic society that we live in today, profit is everything for these huge corporations. Minorities and ethnic groups are being left behind in the news today. Because of this profit driven society, news only focuses on the numbers. Media corporations chase the numbers; whatever gets the most viewers is what wins today. In the media world we live in today, ratings rule the airways.

Are the modern ‘news’ shows sacrificing objectivity--in an effort to boost their ratings and maximize profits--by appealing to the lowest common denominator? The high percentage of viewers that only watch one or the other of the popular, one-dimensional news ‘networks’ would seem to answer this question in the affirmative. It is an unfortunate fact that, in these days of declining newspaper readership, most Americans tend to get their news from TV.

Media is driven by money; whatever creates the biggest profit will be on the news and on the Internet. What will happen in ten, twenty years from now? Will monopolies be created? Will one corporation own all the rights to news and television? Will they present a diverse, and wide ranging opinions serving all the public? These are questions that I want to explore.

Main Point

1. Media is profit driven

Topic Proposal: The Success of Low Budget Cable Comedies

For my final project, I would like to look into how low budget cable comedy shows are produced, and how they can come to be more critically acclaimed than their more expensive counterparts. This topic is not meant to prove that low budget shows are always better than well funded programs; it is more to explore how the successful programs have captured critical attention without hiring superstar actors or having highly elaborate production. The issues I will be looking at in this research have to do with creative practices, the American television system, and economic conditions in production. While I will be touching on all three of these themes, the argument will be narrowly focused on low budget cable comedy shows. Specifically, I will be looking into It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Louie, two shows on FX that have operated on very small budgets to create very unique and entertaining programs. These two shows have been able to operate without much input from the network, which has entrusted its creators with writing, directing, and acting in their own works. They started out producing the shows with very limited budgets and still produce relatively cheap episodes despite their widespread popularity and, perhaps most importantly, they have contributed to the change of the comedy genre on TV. The main questions I am trying to answer in this project is how these shows were produced in their earliest forms before they became known hits (i.e. when they were operating with the least budgets), how the creators of the programs managed to wield significant creative control over their work, and how these shows have innovated comedy on television. I believe that looking at these shows will illustrate possible paths for success for other types of shows as the comedy genre continues to develop.

Television Industry and the Mockumentary

In the last decade primetime television has been taken over by the “Mockumentary”. These shows are scripted comedies about a camera crew following around a certain group of people and documenting their everyday life. I will be looking at the overall history of mockumentaries, and more importantly recent successful mockumentaries including The Office (UK and US), Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family to analyze why they are so successful, their effect on the television industry, and the television industry’s effect on them.

Using Havens and Lotz’s pinball model I will be analyzing the conditions, practices and mandates surrounding the production of a mockumentary. More specifically I would like to look at The Office and analyze the differences between the British and American version and see if it is related to the British version being under a non-commercial mandate, and the American version being part of a commercial mandate. I would like to look at Parks and Recreation and see the effect of a successful mockumentary with a lead woman. For Modern Family I would like to look at the fact that they have such a broad target audience and look at how that restricts the show and how it might help the show.

Their recent rise in popularity makes mockumentaries a perfect case study for how a genre is affecting the television industry. I believe the success of The Office, Parks and Recreation and Modern Family will lead to more a continued rise in the number of mockumentaries in primetime television, and I am excited to analyze their relationship to the industry.

PostSecret: Blogging – giving everyone a voice

Blogging has completely revolutionized the individual’s voice. With the click of a button any person can become an author or have their voice and ideas heard. From this innovation came the idea for one man’s art project – to collect secrets from anonymous senders – this simple blog idea has turned into an empire. Frank Warren of PostSecret has become “the most trusted stranger”, through his blog he has been able to reach out to thousands of people and help connect ideas, feelings, and emotions of complete strangers. To take his idea a step further he has turned the blog (which is updated once a week) into an iphone app in which individuals can upload their secrets directly to their phones. The way technology is consistently changing and becoming more and more accessible has make it even easier then before to have your voice heard (anonymously or not).

The success and volume that PostSecret has reached has turned my interest to the blogging industry and how it has changed creative and distribution practices by creating a more accessible avenue for individuals to showcase and share their work and interests. I hope to look at this more specifically in contrast to the exclusiveness of the film and television industry. On the Internet everyone can be a star or author, so what makes one blog more successful then the next?

PostSecret is also only one man’s project and there are thousands of other people who have created blogs about their interests (cooking, film, political, etc) and I want to examine how they have impacted other “strangers” to share their opinions and ideas.

Main Points of Interest:

1. The effect that the blogging industry has had on individual’s voices.

2. The success and positive outcomes that Frank Warren has had through his innovative idea.

3. The comparison between the blogging industry and the film/television industry. What it takes to enter each one and the audiences that each have the capability to reach.

4. What other blogs have become successes and what is it about their projects or ideas that have caught the attention of stranger’s?

The Potrayal of Gender and Minorities in the Media

Minority representation in mass media has become an increasingly important topic as the combination of increased diversity and the information age has created measurable demographics for who is using and most importantly paying for media. Minority races make up almost 40% of the United State's population, women over half of the population, and members of the lower middle and working classes over half by some estimations, yet they are still underrepresented and possibly misrepresented in many forms of media. Therefore, this paper will analyze how different groups of people such as women, racial minorities and homosexuals, have been and still are underrepresented and stereotyped in contemporary media.

As we discussed extensively in class, corporate media such as public broadcasting companies are very interested in, naturally, making money. In my paper I would like to analyze how this capitalistic pursuit leads to certain groups being underrepresented in mass media, and how stereotypical notions of races, genders, and other minority groups can be created perpetuated. The mandates of media corporations, especially broadcast corporations, are in place to, in part, serve the consumer as best as possible. And when media companies chase the all important dollar sign, there is a substantial amount of societal carnage left in its wake.

For my paper, I will start with a background of the development of the mass media industries, linking that to the portrayal of gender and minorities both historically and in present day media. Using specific examples from the media past and present, this paper will delve into the many examples of how certain groups are repressed in mass media, why this is the case, and what can be done about it - both from a consumers and a corporations perspective.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Consumer Response to the Digitization of Print

One of the more recent realms of production to join the media industry and to digitize is eBook technology is the printing industry. The development of technologies like the iPad, Nook, and Kindle has completely changed the entire print market. These tablets bring knowledge to the fingertips of the consumers: novels, textbooks, newspapers, and magazines. Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Apple have developed their own niche market that appeals to many customers as an accessible and simple way to quickly obtain many print sources in one location. The accessibility, size, price, and wifi capabilities these tablets have are extremely appealing to modern consumers and overall public interest in a media source. The impact this industry has and will have on other industries and the public will change the way print work is released.

According to Anderson and 3 Three Party Model, the print industry is made up of three parties, the Publisher, the Author, and the Consumer. For my project I would like to focus on the consumer spectrum I feel exists in this industry. Because the eBook phenomenon is so new and innovative, I believe there are three different ways that the consumer is receiving and reacting to the new technology. First there is the advocate; the consumer who has completely given up the traditional ways to absorb print and believes in the eBook. Then there is the converted; those who at first were skeptical towards something like the Kindle but now see the advantages it carries. Finally the consumer who resists purchasing an eBook; those who cherish the idea of holding an actual book or print source. I am interested in looking at the way these large companies market each of the consumer groups. How do these companies target those who refuse to conform and keep their current subscribers?

I plan on starting with an overall background on the eBook industry and how it has affected other markets. I will do this through examining the positive and negative aspects the industry has had thus far. I will then look at what the digitization of books offers the consumer and what it lacks. Although my project will be centered on the audience, I will also need to look at how the large corporations distribute, use creativity, and advertise to their consumer base. I will examine all of these factors in looking at the mandates, goals of the digitization of print, and the practices of the media industry. The main overarching theory explored in my paper will be Technological Singularity and the idea that technology is advancing beyond what the human mind can comprehend. In this specific case, sources such as the iPad give the consumer the power and the ability to have everything in one source. As a consumer who does not own any form of a tablet, I am interested to investigate how large corporations advertise because I am in the target audience.

Google+: A Game Changer?

For my research paper I would like to look at Google’s newest addition, Google+. Google+ is a social networking site that was recently released by the worlds number one search engine. It just finished the testing phase where one would have to be invited by current users, to being available for everyone. What I hope to achieve in doing this research is to: accurately understand the capabilities of this new social networking site, if its will overthrow facebook as the #1 social network, and how google+ and googlecloud may revolutionize the way we communicate within the world.

To fully understand the research, a proper background on the rise of Google will be important. While there were search engines before them, no one was able to return the accuracy of hits like Google does. I also want to examine the uniqueness of their corporation. While I hope this part of my exploration will not detract to far from the media side of the paper, I believe this is how they became such a dynamic company and decided to take on facebook with their own networking site. I will create a google+ account in order to understand the features of the site as well as the pros and cons against facebook. People are in information overload and do not have time for two separate networking sites. One company will win while the other will become next myspace. Google is also releasing their cloud computing system in the spring. This is not the first cloud released but with all the features of google and now the addition of google+ it will be really interesting to see how far this company will be able to grow. While I may not be able to give definite answers, I hope with this paper creates a clearer picture of the social networking world in the next year.