Monday, January 30, 2012
As our commercially-driven media system is supported by private sector interests, Lotz's research, which discusses the presentation of upcoming network programming, gives us a close up look at the impact audience demographics has on TV broadcast media placement. The "practice, ritual, and celebration" of this process is keenly influenced by the presentation of content that matches consumer demographics. It offers the question: What comes first? The needs of the consumer, advertiser and/or network? As Lotz outlines, it is a balance of all. The "buzz" that drives this tradition in the media industry is ingrained in the demographic of the brands that networks are attempting to attract, and similarly, the demographic of audiences that brands are trying to attract. This practice within the Three-Party Market (Anderson) is related to the selling of/to audiences as it requires knowledge of who wants to sell on/watch these networks. In an economic sense, it is a competitive advantage to those who have greater knowledge of demographics as they will have the greatest amount of success fulfilling the wants and needs of consumers and brands. It is important to recognize this process and analyze the advertisement strategies implored by all parties and its influences on the media system structure.
The Upfront events have become increasingly popular with broadcasters, which shows the change in media culture in the United States. While few broadcasters used to hold Upfront events, now even the small cable networks are beginning to hold them. This shows the changing norms in television and the media industry in the United States. There is a struggle for power between the broadcasters, and a sense of failure when their Upfront event doesn't spark the most advertising dollars.
The Upfront events are different than creating, distributing, and exhibiting broadcast programming under a non-commercial mandate because the broadcasters at the Upfront aren't selling their show. Instead, they are selling the idea that, for example, "almost 70 percent of adults ages twenty-five to fifty-four are away from home eight to twelve hours a day". This in turn creates an awareness among the advertisers of when they should advertise and why, and with which company they should sign with. Another difference between the Upfront events and non-commercial mandates is the venue, decorations, entertainment, and famous "talent". The Upfront in a show - it must be the most memorable. For example, in 2004 when CBS held their Upfront presentation, it was the entertainment that everyone was talking about. This is what matters - providing the audience, aka the advertisers, with a show that no one else can compare to. This is competition, and that is what the Upfront is all about.
Selling Audience is an important part of these upfront presentations. If the networks can successfully sell their audience to the advertisers, they have had a relatively successful presentation. While brand name, environment, etc. are important in these presentations: the aspect of selling the audience is especially crucial to generate the advertisement revenues. The demographics of the viewers are crucial in the sense that it can determine the media texts. Who is watching television becomes an important factor to take into consideration. Once the television viewers have been identified, the media texts: advertisements ad programming, will be designed in such a way that the audience can connect and relate to the media texts they are receiving. The Youtube Video: Puncturing the TV Ad Sales Myth shows how the “audience” aspect is a determining factor attracting advertisements. Some networks will appeal to the baby boomers, while others, like the WB will attempt to persuade media buyers of why their demographics is good for their brand. The Type –H men in the History Channel youtube video also illustrates the importance of “selling audience.”
With a target audience in mind, the media texts are then designed to shape the emerging culture and society. Media texts are constantly around us, and slowly, the society in which the media is centered begins to look like the media texts them selves. For example, the way those women are shown in the media: white, thin, tall, long hair, etc. become the beauty ideals of women in general. The viewers desire celebrity lifestyle shown in the media. The materialistic lifestyle becomes attractive and viewers of the television become active consumers of what they see in the media. The media attempts to both shape and reflect the society in which it is situated, and the media texts of the society serves as representations of that society, when that media is exported in the international market. The youtube video: the media influence – illustrates how media texts shape out culture/society
The process of Upfront presentations to the advertisers is meant to announce and display a network’s upcoming fall season and present the content to advertisers in hopes that they will purchase spots around the programming. The network in a sense has to sell itself all over again and characterize the image and feeling that the programs of the fall will create for the network’s audience. In many ways what they seek to do is come off in the most positive light possible and create buzz about their upcoming season. For advertisers, this is enticing but they are not naïve to the high rate of failure in new shows so they are cautious in what they choose to invest in.
This culture of “selling yourself” to get advertisers creates a competitive nature among the networks and turns getting advertisers into almost a game to be more profitable. Networks rely on these Upfront presentations to account for a very large part of their advertising revenue and the success of their shows. In a non commercial mandate system this selling yourself to the advertisers would be more directed at the audience. The need for filling spaces with commercials in order to fund the show and network success is something that doesn’t exist. The competitive money making culture that comes with a commercial mandated system just isn’t as important. Funding comes in from other areas and therefore advertisers play a much smaller role in the media system in general.
In reading Lotz’s article it is clear that the commercial role of Upfront presentations is something that networks rely heavily on in our media system. Without advertisers their upcoming fall season is less likely to draw viewership and more likely to fail. However, ultimately, it is the content of the shows that will draw viewers and the best chance a network has at being successful in any given season is to be the most talked about. This will draw both advertisers and viewers creating the perfect situation for success in a commercially mandated system.
According to Lotz, "The Upfront presentations are rich sites for illustating what networks believe advertisers desire of the audiences of the shows in which they purchas programming, and they indicate networks' efforts to set the emphasizing what they seek for advertisers to pripritize" (p. 18). Lotz argues that the function or success of the Upfront presentation is getting attention from advertisers so that network will be talked about among advertisers and then the network will be supported. Because of this purpose, the programs will target the audiences based on advertisers' desire and it becomes necessity of sucess for the Upfront presentation to define their audiences. Advertisers would support the network which they can make more profits through getting majority of customers' attention so that they can make more profit.
Lotz's argument was interesting to me because I had never paid attention to what happens at the upfront presentation. However it makes sense that commercialy mendated programs seek for what advertisers want rather than what all citizens want. Under this system, the audiences are constantly seen as consumers and the network needs to keep asking that who is willing to pay more money for culture or value the program reflects, and public interest as citizens become less important. As a result, only one certain of group (maojrity group) become more important as the targeted audience than other group. This is why we need both non-commercial and commercial programs because having only one side can never cover every citizen's interest.
Friday, January 27, 2012
One of the most common ways media which appears to be free is paid for is through a system called the three-party market. In a three-party market, a third party pays to become part of a seemingly free exchange between the other two parties. A good example would be television: advertisers pay in order to insert their ads into the content which is being given for free from the producer to the user. This might make it sound like the advertiser is some sort of parasite, attaching itself to an otherwise free cultural exchange, but of course television products can only be given away freely to the consumer because advertisers pay. A good way to think about this is that TV networks are selling viewers to advertisers. In a weird way, when you watch TV, you become a product, because your attention is valuable (although I’m sure viewer attention is becoming less reliable, and less valuable, in an age of DVR when many commercials can be skipped through). Theoretically, after seeing advertisements, the consumer will go out and spend money on the products/services advertised, thus closing the circle and allowing advertisers to make their money back. The cost of advertising is ultimately included in the price of products, and so you’re paying for all your free TV channels whenever you buy something advertised on them.
Like most people, I basically understood that this was how TV (and radio, certain print media, etc.) worked: through advertiser support. But this reading made clearer how brilliant the three-party market system is. The appearance of “free” is a powerful motivator to consume something, and I doubt TV would have become as important as it did in American culture if you had to pay by the minute (or something) to watch it. Overall, I think the audience benefits more from three-way marketing than do advertisers, because the stage of the transaction in which the audience goes out and buys advertised products may or may not take place, and involves a great deal of individual choice, even considering the persuasive nature of advertising. I think it’s a pretty good deal that you get to choose which advertisers, if any, to support with your money, and still get free TV regardless.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Here is an article that relates to this and it is about Facebook and its money hungry decisions to make it the most profitable network it can be by taking advantage of their audience and raking in the cash from advertisers.
However, it seems that, as consumers of broadcast media, we rarely come to the same understanding. When you ask any person on the street who pays for CBS or NBC, they may have no idea. Some may say that it is free. The truth is, nothing is free. In fact, it is us as consumers who indirectly pay for our broadcast television. Advertisers who pay for commercial space gain this money to market through their profits, and we are the ones who give them those inflated profits to cover the cost of their advertising. This is known as cross-subsidizing, and we take part in a type known as the "Three Party Market" every time we consume broadcast media.
Though it seems like a complicated process, in essence, it simply means that advertisers pay for the networks to broadcast "free" media which is paid for by consumers through the purchase of the products of advertisers. For the networks, this system works brilliantly. Advertisers pay for content, and consumers pay for the advertisers. There is a never-ending cyclical money flow for the networks. Of course, they take must risk in producing content if it does not work, however, the pay out is exponential in comparison to the risks.
As audience members, I am sure we would all like to think that we gain the most out of this Three Party Market, but this simply isn't the case. We are not impervious to advertising. If we were, this system would not work. However, we can be smarter consumers by acknowledging the motives behind all the broadcast content, and understanding that "there is no such thing as a free lunch."
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Sponsors realized they could make more money by creating programs which successfully produced their product and avoided the requirements placed upon them by the T.V. stations (aka the government) to balance profit and public service. almost all daytime and evening programs were produced by sponsors. Networks sold hour long blocks to many companies in order to make a profit and keep the show sustained through the money from the sponsors. After the the industry responded to pressures from reform the focus began to change from profit to a hybrid between profit and public service.
These programs were designed to meet the needs of the public shows such as America's Town Meeting of the Air and The University of Chicago Round Table included programming from public affairs discussions to musical performances. Programs such as these and the daily news would more often than not be unsponsored and sustained by the network. NBC and CBS created slots (in the public service side for free) and gave them to organizations or [sold them to] sponsors which they were comfortable working with (big business, government agencies, etc.).
A network was required to balance public and profit programming because of the reform during the 1930's. Both NBC and CBS balanced their sponsored programs and public service programs. Even though they were regulated they were able to favor organizations which they were comfortable with and with who they could earn a high profit (in a sponsor case) or meet the needs of the most viewers (in a public service case). This strategy allowed both NBC and CBS to meet the government mandates for public service and their own commercial mandates for profit while creating programs which were sustainable for their networks.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Megaupload has been accused of making more than $75 million in advertisements and subscriptions, and causing $500 million in damages to copyright owners. On January 12, 2012, the FBI shut down the site based on the investigation of copyright infringement. Citing Internet piracy, the FBI charged 7 people whom they believed were connected to the creation and start of Megaupload.
The full indictment is available online.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
According to Yahoo News Japan on January 7th, the file sharing site (such as CABOS) is one of the most common resources to get child pornographies and the number of people who were caught for using the file sharing site to share child pornographic pictures was twice as much as last year.
However, there are still many people who have not been caught for uploading the child pornographic pictures through websites and the cases have been increasing. Japanese government has been trying to regulate child pornographies more strictly recently; however it always conflicts with people's human freedom, including freedom of speech or fleedom of sharing information.
For example, in 2009, the government of Tokyo tried to regulate child pornographic manga, and tried to protect children under 18 years old by giving human rights to those fictional characters in manga who are under 18 years old. This would allow to prohibit using those fictional children characters in pornographic manga although they are not real persons. The purpose of this regulation was protecting those real children because it was assumed that those people who enjoy child pornographic manga also are very likely to purchase or share real children pornographies. However, this idea of regulation was withdrawn because it was considered to be the violation towards freedom of speech for those manga artists. The definition of obscenity in the regulation was very vague, and it would have harmed those manga artists who are actually not violating children's human rights.
I personally think this is interesting topic to follow since there are many different aspects to look at. For now, it is not against the Japanese law just to obtain children's pornographies; however, as long as there is demand, I do not think the supply of these children's sexual images will ever stop although it can be harmful for those children. However, at the same time, the freedom of speech as artists or freedom of enjoying entertainment are as much as important in our daily lives, and the Japanese government would need to face this complexity while regulating child pornographies.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Incredibly, almost one billion dollars are spent annually on fantasy games and related products. CBS realizes that the company is not likely to challenge larger, more established sports websites in developing a league itself. They already have fantasy leagues where fantasy players must pay-to-play. Instead, they are looking to develop multiple apps that go into depth on player's health, statistics, etc. Basically, they are interested in developing apps that will help these fantasy owners gain the most knowledge, and subsequently win their fantasy leagues. CBSSports.com plans to keep a 30% share of sales for paid apps.
I found this article particularly interesting in that it shows the continued evolution in the relationship between media, sports, and fans. Fantasy sports, and football in particular, have grown tremendously in recent years. In fact, there are now a variety of shows on television that are specifically geared toward fantasy owners, and the content helps the owners to win fantasy matches. This article was a perfect example of how companies are continuing to figure out ways to manage this growing market. With my interest in sports and media, this article was great in learning more about yet another market in the sports world.
|Photo from AdAge.com|