Monday, February 27, 2012

Must Art and Commerce Clash?

In his study “Revisiting the Creative/Commercial Clash”, James Paul Roberts investigates the traditional narrative of the struggle between art and commerce in television production. While he does draw a distinction between creative and non-creative roles within the production process, he finds that the interaction between them does not conform to the usual picture. “Decision-making was not characterized as the clash of two very divergent agendas, but rather the more subtle interplay of mutually influential factors dictated by a generally realistic view of what television drama is there to do,” he writes (page 771). Creative and non-creative actors (“actors” in the more abstract sense) were found to generally collaborate to produce a product which was both commercially viable and artistically innovative, with creative actors recognizing the importance of budgetary concerns, audience demographics, and so forth, and non-creative actors desiring a unique product with artistic merit to attract audiences and talent. 

While it is certainly important to question and complicate the traditional narrative of commercial concerns as a burden on artistic expression, I can’t help but feel that perhaps Roberts is understating the degree to which economic needs constrain creative output. While TV executives may certainly give lip service to innovation, I feel this study could have benefitted from a discussion of the cycle of “innovation, imitation, and saturation” which Communication scholars sometimes talk about. Certainly innovative shows do exist, and certainly studios and production companies sometimes take risks on content, but more often it makes more sense for them to follow the trail that others have blazed. 

Creative versus Corporate: a shift towards economic efficiency

            Roberts invokes these two identities during the key biases and gaps in the current body of research.  He distinguishes that in this clash it is really the executives that stifle the creative process of television and movies by keeping control over the production and distribution of these platforms.  It is not suprising to find out that there is a clash between the creative and commercial sides of the business.  This seems to be a trend in any sort of business that has a creative aspect to it.  Artists constantly claim to be stifled by commercial or business motives.  It is interesting, however, that Robert’s notes that creative writers go through the internal process of assessing whether something will be able to be a commercial success if it is picked up.  The internal dialogue of executives is much more business focused: “Can we sell it, is it marketable, is it even good.”  The question of is it even that good is basically a secondary question after executives figure out if they can even sell and market the movie.
            It seems through Robert’s research that the creative side is not as slighted as one might initially think.  Through his research there were opinions that were pulled showing that writters were actually shrude businessmen in their conduct over rights and royalties.  It is interesting to note that in today’s climate everyone understands the value of making a buck and therefore both creative and executives do what is nessecary to squeeze as much money out of a production as possible.  It seems that while there is a creative/commercial struggle that still drives some of Hollywood/broadcasting, the culture is very risk averse due to the large price tags of productions.  I think that now in this enormous industry that both creative and executives are adjusting their practices to be the most economically efficient, instead of argue of creative rights.  I think this is why some of the only artistically driven movies that become commercial have to have success at major film festivals before they are picked up by big studious, and that this is the reason for much of the blandness that surrounds the movie and television industry.

Sequel Epidemic in Hollywood

After reading through Roberts and the Articles, "The Day Movies Died" and "Sequels come Fast and Furious as Studios Aim to Cut Risk," It is very evident in my mind that their is now a gap between the Creative and Commercial aspects of making a successful movie or even TV show. In the modern era that we live in people expect more and more from the movies that they go see. The issue with this is that these expectations cost a lot of money in terms of what it takes for the producers to make them. If these shows or movies flop there is a large amount of loss and sunk costs in regards to this risk.
It is my opinion that although yes there has been an increased amount of communication between Creative and Commercial, as Rogers says, the industry is clearly dominated by the commercial risks. Anymore we see studios fighting battles over who can get the rights to popular books, especially those that come in a multiple part series. The people in the Commercial sectors can be almost sure that because of PREVIOUS success, these movies will be profitable. This is the point when it seems Creative gets involved, but it is still not until after the fact when the people in charge of Commercial aspects have made up their mind about what needs to be created.
Although it is a shame that it seems some creative aspects have been extracted out of Hollywood, people have to remember that it is still essentially a business. If movies or TV Shows flop, people lose their jobs and sometimes studios will have to go bankrupt. Two of the best examples I can think of personally in recent history would have to be the Harry Potter movie series and the Toy Story Series. Both were done a little differently in terms of timing and release but in both cases the hype and popularity for each case almost created as some business men say are their two favorite words, "sure thing." I argue that commercial does have a say over creative at the moment, and if you dont believe me, here is one of the most hyped upcoming movies...

Risk and Reward in Media Business

In economics we talk a good deal about the interplay between risk and investment. It could be investment in an emerging market, in human capital (education) or in the government via putting money in the bank; however, the one common thread about all investments is that the reward must outweigh the risk for most people to even consider taking the plunge. Roberts, in his article about the creative/ commercial clash, is giving us a glimpse of how a real world industry deals with this dichotomy of risk and reward, and unfortunately, I think he is right about economics stifling creativity—but things are changing…
Roberts finds that there is a difficult and confusing interaction of decision making processes on both sides of the media industry because of the way that economics influence media content such that the three party system is upheld and networks continue to make a profit. He talks about it briefly but I think Adorno and Horkheimer’s theory about the culture industry, while somewhat over the top or insidious, remains salient in this situation. The synopsis is brief but still helps our understanding. A capitalist system causes our media products inculcate the masses into a false consciousness of new, innovational culture by feeding us the same themes and idea in our media disguised under slightly different “veils” time and time again. Why? So the masses continue to consume the same ideas and subsequent media products and give the producers the ability reduce that risk vs. reward issue I brought up earlier.
While dark and gloomy I do not think the culture industry encapsulates the whole story here; however, it does help to explain why we have 5 Fast and the Furious movies, which in and of itself is fairly gloomy thing. As the article points out sequels already have a built in model for success in that there is substantially less risk involved with its production because it already has a fan following. Therefore, advertisers know who it is geared toward, the film or show will still get people to watch and the network/studios will likely make a profit and uphold the three party system. This situation can also likely explain why so many of the biggest movies out there today are based off of books—there’s usually a large following and room for sequels! (Harry Potter had seven books!!!! Look at the numbers!)
But then there’s Always Sunny. What makes this show different? Cheap to produce also creates less risk if it is a flop. As the article states the producers at FX accepted the potential for reward because the show really didn’t hurt them to produce since the actors, writers, directors and producers all shared only 1M$. So to return to our original question…do economics stifle creativity? I don’t think we are living in the culture industry entirely but I do find the relationship between economics profits and creativity uncanny in that big budget movies are meant to reach a large audience and low budget products are usually a bit different and push the envelope more. Media companies nonetheless want the risk to be outweighed by the reward.

Creative vs. Commercial

The article by Roberts does a tremendous job of setting the stage on the debate for a creativity-limited world of media.  It isn't hard to see the motives behind the commercial aspect of such a profit-driven industry.  Take one quick look at the movies Hollywood is currently producing, and it's all too apparent that the commercial side of the clash is having a large impact.
Mark Harris is quick to point this out in his article on the "death" of the movie industry.  To him, the struggle of Inception to receive a positive backing from studios themselves shows the changing of the industry.  Harris is explaining that the associated risk from producing certain movies is keeping the industries from funding these creative movies.  Basically, Inception was produced as somewhat of a favor for the director who would be needed to produce another Batman film in the future.  Essentially, the article is explaining that studios are choosing the safer movie.  The window of opportunity for new, moderately budgeted movies with a clever plot is smaller than ever before.
What's more, the industry is choosing movies that have more opportunities for profit outside of the theater.  Kung and Schuker explain that the most marketable movies are those that can easily be made into sequels.  Or, movies that can be branded on lunchboxes and other merchandise.  Quite simply, it's another limit on creativity within the industry.  Instead of producing a new film with a interesting plot, the industry will choose Toy Story 4 and the incredible merchandising opportunities that come along with the name.  In addition, they get the benefit of already having a legitimate audience that has identified with the previous films.  That being said, it shows the movie industry choosing to produce films that have low risk, with high monetary reward.
Personally, I think the desire for commercial success is especially bad in limiting creativity specifically for moviegoers.  With the incredible amount of channels on television, you see a much broader aspect of show styles, genres, and characters.  With the hundreds of available stations, you are more likely to see original programming with such a wide variety of choices.  Always Sunny in a perfect example of this.  They were able to produce their show at little cost, and shop it around to a station that would not limit their creative edge.  If they had instead produced a movie, they would have run into little luck outside of perhaps a film festival.  Certainly, we are seeing the constraints on creativity in the movie industry, particularly with the high cost of producing a major film.  Studios don't want to take the chance of producing a pricy film, only to be unsure of its box-office success.  They want the sure thing.  I can't wait for Final Fantasy 34 in a few years!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Battle for Content: Creative and Commercial Interests

It's not surprising to read news articles pointing out that there is very little innovation within film creation. The currently released movies are nearly always sequels, stories based on popular books or comics, or series.  In reading the articles written by Harris and Kung and Schuker, movies are only produced if they are safe.  "Franchise" movies are also a very popular way for companies to make money.

A person only needs to look at The Walt Disney Corporation to see this trend.  Every movie that appears in theaters is accompanied by toys, apparel, and even new attractions and characters at Disney parks.   It's a system that feeds into itself over and over again; a family goes to see Disney's "Tangled" in theaters, they then travel to Walt Disney World so that they can meet Repunzel, and while they are there, they purchase Repunzel dresses and tiaras--and when they return home, the kids continue to watch the story and re-live it through their experiences with the real Repunzel.

But these franchises are not the enemy.  They do not limit creativity--rather, they are commercially driven to create a story that is relatable and marketable in many different venues.  This also may be a cause for the recent "comic book craze" driving movie creation.  For Roberts, there are many complicated issues that drive the content of film.  He argues that these factors are not mutually exclusive to either the creative or the commercial forces in the industry.  I believe that he is right in staking this claim.  As he states, there are many different decisions that are involved in the production of media.  Therefore, it is difficult to pin down who is the victor in this battle for content.  And, the truth is, the victor probably changes through each individual production.

So maybe "Tangled" isn't a new story.  It is, after all, based on a classic fairytale.  However, many parents felt that there was a need for a more independent and modern Disney Princess--and Repunzel certainly fits that bill.  The fact that someone will typically wait two hours to see her at any Disney park speaks to her success.  Perhaps, as Roberts argues, we have to work with a different definition of innovation.  If we attempted that, we may discover that there is more innovation than we have anticipated, and that commercial and creative drives can work hand in hand in the production of film.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Many people believe that all you need to maker a movie is time and money. Well that is basically all you need, except for all of the hoops the creative people must jump through in order to produce a film.

There is more to film production than just a producer with a load of money, for starters one needs a script in order to make a film. This is where the lowly scriptwriter jumps into action. While many scriptwriters get short end of the script in terms of financial compensation without them there would be no basis for a film. Many films that are based on previous works, such as books or comics, must jump through additional financial hoops in order to become established for film production. Ownership must be established and royalties must be paid out in order for a movie like Spiderman get the green light.

While scriptwriters may have the thought and insight to create a film's narrative they usually lack knowledge in the legal process. This is when the lawyers and agents come in. These scumbags scoop up profit from the real artists, forcing them to lose a part of their soul.

The most important person (in my book) is the producer. This person is the star of the show, the bee's knees, captain of the football team! The producer pulls the project together, coordinating with everyone from the scriptwriters to the directors. He/she is responsible for attaining film cast and crew (through hiring of casting directors) as well as the equipment. Some producers are cool, making films like National Treasure, while others are sellouts making crap like three variations of the same show. Just kidding, that was Jerry.

The Cost of Planning: Financing of Film

While it seems obvious to most that huge amounts of money is invested into the production and distribution of films, many do not think about the amount of time and money it takes to plan movies, and a large majority of them will never make it to production.

Before a script is written, contracts involving ownership rights and royalties will have to be created for movies based on another piece of work. This means that fees are paid before anyone even knows if a quality piece of work will be created. Also, this is just one step during the planning of a film where entertainment lawyers will be hired. The screenwriters themselves do not typically make a large sum of money and are uncertain if their products will ever sell, but a few are able to create contracts with studios to create scripts for specific movie ideas. In addition to hiring writers, a producer or director may be paid in advance for a specific film in a development deal.

Agents and managers receive their fees during the planning phase; both represent their clients and secure their involvement in a film but there are some key differences. Agents may help plan product placement in a film, because they represent writers who can involve products early on, they have an interest in future versions of the product, and they generally receive 10 percent of their client’s payment. Managers are able to develop and produce media and they receive 15 percent of their client’s payment.

Once a producer is hired, and a movie is green-lighted, the organization for the production begins. A producer will have to find locations for filming, rent studio space, hire a crew, and secure equipment to be used to production. Personally, I thought this was the most surprising cost, because I never thought about the expense of equipment and the fact that studios themselves may not take on this financial liability - due to the high cost of cameras and other equipment, most films will rent these products. There is a huge amount of money spent through every step of creating a movie, from planning and overhead to production and distribution, most of which is not obvious to the audience.

The Positives and Negatives of Pacts in the Film Industry

        Production contracts (pacts) have an extensive impact on the film making industry.  A pact is an arrangement made between players, studios, and production companies.  These pacts can force players to give studios a chance to purchase a script before other studios can see it, set up a profit scenario where individual players, studios, and company backers all share the profits made from the film, and a set up a distribution system where the studios distribution and marketing branches are used exclusively.
         In the current market, these pacts have led to extremely successful business operations due to the preferential deals acquired by both sides.  This can be seen by the overwhelming amount of movies in box office created by large studies, a good amount of which were engaging in pacts.  These pacts help make the filmmaking process much more efficient.  Two reasons that pacts have increased the efficiency of filmmaking is that they narrow down the selection of scripts studios have to go through and it helps ensure funding and loans.  In the film making industries, there are millions of scripts being sent to studios and a ton more being pitched verbally.  Studios don’t have time to read and listen to these opportunities, so having pacts with good writers and studios limits there options on scripts because they will be brought scripts by proven writers directly and they can purchase these scripts immediately.  Second, it is easier to get funding.  Banks often require a completion guarantee before supplying a loan.  If banks know that the studio has an interest in the movie being finished, due to the sharing of profits, and that a large studio is producing the movie they are more likely to complete the movie.  This is especially important with the rising cost to create films.
        Unfortunately, pacts have a negative impact on the film industry and can also on the quality of texts.  Pacts, to an extent, have made the film industry a closed market.  With first look deals, scripts are sold without competition.  Other studios never have an opportunity to bid on them and they never enter the market.  Further, with distribution and production deals, studios limit who they interact with during the whole process.  The quality of texts can go down because the writers involved in pacts may be producing worse scripts than other writers, but they will often receive the funding instead because of the pact.  Further, there script is more likely to be produced and finished because the studio has a stake in the profits.  This could be lower quality movies on the market, and leave great ones out.

Pacts: Convienience yet a demise?

The arrangements that are held by different Hollywood studios, companies and individuals, regarded as pacts. The successful production and distribution of films is difficult and so it's understandable to see the convenience and appeal of these pacts across different various actors responsible for the production of films. For those companies that are part of a these "pacts"a lot is gained from producing films using this structure.

The continual usage of successful companies allows for security in the creation, distribution and marketing of the film. With successful producers, recognized production studios and successful marketing, it is not a surprise that this structure has been created amongst industry players to allow for effective ways to create films. There is also economic security in utilizing pacts in the creation of films. Wasko outlines these economic gains when telling us what categorizes pacts.  The industry has a whole is effected by this systematized method, creating an economically driven film industry.

Pacts are not without consequences however. The set structure and companies that are used under these pacts changes the ability for the creation of truly independent films, mostly due to economic limitations. Financiers are more willing to go with films that may be seen as proven due to it's creation within a pacts. Similarly, the text is also influences by the continuous creation of films through pacts. With the constant complains of repetitive story lines and special effects in movies, it is not surprise when considering the production of films with in pacts.

Pacts strongly effect the way that film-making process occurs. It is evident that it's structure allows for confidence in the creation and distribution of films. Yet the very nature of pacts questions the ability to create films that are new, fresh and unlike previous ones.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pacts: Hinder, Help, or just Convenience

Pacts are agreements between production companies and studios for development and output of (in this case) film.  These production agreements lead to continuous film production between studios and companies and have a positive correlation with box office success.  The production pacts speed up the production process; take Wasko's example of Michael Crichton's story and Fox studios.  The process was shortened because Fox was the only company the book was sold to instead of having it shopped around.

So why the big deal?  Why does it matter if all production pacts do is speed the process up an lead to box office success.  This is true but with production pacts many writers, ideas, and concepts cannot break into the market.  These pacts effect the process because it provides a shortcut for producers and studios, they are cost-effective, and a successful pact has been shown to lead to box office success; the flip side is they are not inclusive they do not provide a lot of opportunity for new ideas and talent to enter on the production side of film.

There is no denying that production pacts regulate and effect the film industry.  They secure success for major companies and are not really helpful to the "little guy."  Regardless of the negatives in concerns to the "little guy" they are economically valuable ways for production companies to continue success.  In any business money is the driving factor; the film industry is no different.  Unfortunately the desire for economic success has a negative effect on the production of texts.

The pact process does not include many "little guy" companies.  It does not provide great opportunities for inclusion and promotes consistency with major name companies.  Who knows how many ideas, concepts, blockbusters, and potential this system has disregarded or left out.  While the system creates convenience for big name production companies it has a negative effect on the production of texts and on "little guy" companies. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Music in the Digital Age

Major changes in the recording industry have taken place in recent years due to the online availability of music. These changes have seen inevitable and obvious to most everyone except for the record labels themselves. Due to their resistance to change their business models, the major record labels have been struggling to remain as successful – with threats of lawsuits used as a common tool.

While the record company’s mistakes are often discussed, I wish to look at attempts to successfully adapt from different areas of the music industry. What it means to be a musician has slightly shifted, in positive and negative ways, as innovative self-promotion becomes a standard part of the game. Musicians are able to draw attention to themselves online, before even receiving a record deal, giving more individuals the opportunity to garner a following, which no longer has to be located in one specific region before working on a national presence. While increasing the diversity of musicians in the field seems ideal, not all of them can make lasting careers. It appears that an artist’s potential to build lasting presence has decreased and most artist’s whose music makes it onto the charts will be one-hit wonders . There is still the potential for smaller artists to earn money, however, because the public’s interest in spending money on music has shifted – not disappeared. While many people are not buying music traditionally, they spend money on bands in alternative ways  such as through concert tickets. Finally, the label EMI has adopted a new business plan, becoming more of a “rights management company” who also help release music. While this appears to be a lucrative plan, it also ignores the needs of many artists at EMI.

I wish to examine the economic incentives driving decisions such as this, how the digital age has redefined the roles of artists, and who these changes are benefiting.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Youtube: Our Generation in Videos

For my final paper, I want to look at YouTube and the general phenomenon of posting videos to the web for millions of viewers to see. I also want to look at the content of these videos and analyze how and why YouTube came to be and how it has completely changed media on the Internet. YouTube started off as a site that people uploaded videos to for free and has morphed into a central place for music videos, movie and TV clips, video blogs of all sorts and much much more. TV shows have been created around the content of YouTube with programs like Tosh.O and stars have risen to fame through discovery on YouTube (Justin Bieber) and infiltrated every corner of our visual culture today.

I am fascinated by the amount of content that YouTube holds and what this means for our visual culture. I want to look particularly at why people are so drawn to express themselves with videos. What compels them to do this and how has YouTube been able to control the content that is loaded to its site? People of all different ages post things to the site and this poses problems with content and the appropriate nature of certain videos. YouTube provides a unique platform for anyone and everyone with a webcam or a video camera. People have the freedom to create any video they want and this is what draws them to the site. However, this can’t be completely true and I want to look into the content regulation in terms of the First Amendment and the FCC that YouTube is regulated by.

I also want to look at how popular videos on YouTube are circulated and viewed by millions of people. What makes a popular video? How do you get your video to become a sensation? YouTube is so specific to our generation and with all of the social media regulations being instated I am curious to see how YouTube fits into the mix.

Super Market Sweep: Product Placements & Mobile Devices Influence on the Point of Purchase

The Point of Purchase, or P-O-P, is the instance a consumer arrives at the shelves to select a product of want or need. This moment is very important to brands as it can either solidify or persuade consumers away from competitors. Most research focuses on the affect advertising has on the P-O-P. Also, traditional P-O-P is often times affected by the product shelf placement due to brand-market negotiations. But, at what point does traditional product placement on the shelf and branding influence on consumers’ P-O-P psychology? Also, how has and will the mobile device culture change the consumer's experience at the P-O-P? 
These questions are what I intend to research for my final project. I believe the psychological implications of the traditional P-O-P are in transition due to the new purchasing and interactive capabilities of mobile devices. I want to pull on best practices of the new mobile campaigns performed from major brands such as Procter & Gamble in order to see how this is affecting and changing the P-O-P experience. I intend to look at how QR-Codes are being integrated into these digital campaigns as well as into the traditional marketing aspects (branding, OOH, & print advertising). Moreover, I hope to research how mobile app designers are utilizing GPS as a means of delivering discounts, advertisements, etc. to consumer the moment they walk through the market door. My intent is to discover the psychological and ethical implications of these new P-O-P mechanisms and how advertisers are finding synergy between the traditional and innovative.
For my final research project, I want to see how P-O-P is negotiated in the business, digital and the psychological spaces. The mobile culture has had an incredible leap due to the smart phone creation and it is time for more research to be done in this area. Also, the intersection of the digital and physical space in the context of mobile culture could not be better observed than at the P-0-P.

Advertising in the Digital Age of Publishing

Advertising drives media; there is no question about that.  What is intriguing is to see how much influence advertising drives media.  This summer I worked in the publishing industry at the Wall Street Journal’s marketing and ad sales department, and one thing became immediately clear; there has always been a constant battle between edit and advertising.  What was clear specifically in the publishing industry was that their bulk of revenue came from advertising dollars.  Many people are under the misconception that subscription price and numbers play a big role in a publication’s, even one as expensive as The Journal, revenue.  This is not so, in fact many publications give out bulk copies of their newspaper or magazine in order to raise circulation and readership numbers.  What subscription and viewership numbers are really important for is information that can be then used to sell potential advertisers on why they should advertise in a certain publication over another.
As technology has changed so has the publishing industry and it practices.  In order to adapt to the changing landscape of the digital age many publishing companies are being extremely proactive in their advancement of publishing technology including both online and iPad or tablet publishing.  These numbers are important to increase in order to retain and increase readership so that a publication will remain a competitive player within the advertising revenue department.  It seems in my experience that while publishing companies are trying to embrace this technology change as much as possible, traditional advertisers are reluctant to do so because they are not familiar with the new technologies.  Therefore in my paper I want to explore the affect that digital technology has had on the publishing industry, both for the publishing companies, and for the advertisers within these publications.  Through this exploration I will show how the industry has fundamentally changed for better or worse, and how either embracing or resisting this change has been affecting these publishing companies’ bottom lines.

The Coup to Overthrow Distribution: Content Is King

In the past we have seen that content was never the primary focus of the media industry. A small group of networks produced a minimal level of entertainment programs for television; however, now content has been democratized in a way taking away some of the oligopolistic power and control the media industry once had. Distribution has always been in the center because producing content was expensive and more difficult for reasons such as technological limitations, labor, and limited distribution channels. This model is rapidly changing with the rise of the internet (YouTube in particular), decreasing costs for technology (software and hardware needed to produce content) and the ability to distribute to wider audiences. Therefore, I wish to focus my research on the changing dynamic between content and distribution.
            With the advent of services like youtube, what has happened to content in recent years in terms of who is producing, how much, diversity? How does technology fit into this picture taking greatly into consideration the internet? How will the major networks respond to this large increase in content available to consumers? Finally, how does the increase of content fit into issues related to viewer/consumer behavior in terms of how they watch and enjoy their entertainment?
            The first couple research questions are meant to create the context of what is happening today with content; however, the last two questions will likely be of the most importance to me because I believe that the fragmenting of audiences and the proliferation of content go hand in hand with issues related to internet streaming tv, and the effects upon the media industries are going to have interesting implications for many of the networks. I wonder about what they will do with the increasing available content? Will they syndicate it? Will they try to quell it or produce more content themselves? Will they begin to create shows that are only available online? Many of the new popular shows out there today (Workaholics, Children’s Hospital) started out with people making videos on YouTube or CollegeHumor so I believe we need a better understanding of how user created content fits into the larger media picture. It is important because it would appear as though the power is shifting from the media networks to the user/viewers in many ways that might come to define the way entertainment functions down the road.

Advertisements on Media Websites

For my final research project, I would like to do a study on advertisements, and how they are shown to the consumer through various websites.   For example, one website might be Hulu plus, in which consumers pay $10 a month to watch unlimited data.  However, the Hulu plus users still have to watch advertisements.  Hulu’s reason for this is to reduce the monthly subscription price of the service, but is compensation for expenses what the advertisement industry is all about?

In addition to looking at a number of websites, such as Pandora, Netflix, and Hulu, I also want to look into the reasons for the particular advertisements on these websites.  Are they targeting a certain audience to create a particular amount of diversity required by the FCC?  How successful are these advertisements in reaching the consumer?  Is the viewership the number one factor, or is the economics surrounding the viewership more important to the particular media form?

In the case of Hulu, many consumers are frustrated with having to watch advertisements after paying a $10 a month fee.  Is this the case in all industries?  The interesting part to me is that these media sites are trying to reach the consumer, but with the constant bombardment of advertisements, are these sites actually driving away the consumer?

In addition to the websites listed above, I want to look into Facebook and Google, and how they have tapped into the advertising world.  Facebook seems to be trying to tap into the conversations of the people using the site.  Sometimes, this works, but most of the time, it shows how creepy the social media industry has become.  Google now "knows" things about you, but how?  And how does Google use this information to try and sell you something?

I want to argue that the implementation of advertisements on media websites and networks are driving away the consumer because of their manipulation to to sell something while compensating for their expenditures.  As of now, my paper feels a bit messy, so I am looking for any and all suggestions!! Here are a couple articles I read that helped me formulate my argument:

YouTube's impact on media industry (may be just music industry)

YouTube is becoming an increasingly popular media technology that has played a significant role in how the music (media) industry functions. Advertisers have caught up to this technology where they have put themselves out here as well. YouTube ads show how advertisements in YouTube is one additional way with which businesses can reach out to more audience (potential customers). It has also provided additional ways in which artists/other celebrities have been found. This Wikipedia page (not a highly reliable source but just a starting point) demonstrates the number of people who have become stars due to YouTube.

I want to study YouTube’s impact on the media industry (may be focus on just the music industry). There are a few questions that I want to explore/find answers to start understanding the Youtube technology:

· What led to this concept of YouTube?

o Technological advances that made YouTube possible

o Changes in ways that music is being consumed

Some of the other questions that I want to explore throughout the project to truly understand the impact of YouTube on the media industry -

How has it changed the media industry?

  • · What regulatory practices?
  • · Changes in practices of advertising companies
  • · The way they function in the new digital era
  • · How has it forced them to change their way of functioning?
  • · Changes in the practices of record label companies/business enterprises.
  • · Changes in the practices of artists
  • · Changes in the practices of the consumers
  • · Piracy issues that comes with Youtube.
  • · How has it changed(increased) audience for music(video/music video) audience
  • · How has it affected the ownership of music?
  • · Does it have any impact in the quality of music?
  • Future of YouTube's role in the media (music) industry

[Expletive Deleted]: FCC vs. Fox TV

For my final paper, I want to investigate the regulatory issues surrounding the FCC's attempts to regulate so-called fleeting profanity on television. Fleeting profanity means unscripted profanity, usually in the context of a live event. People as notable as Joe Biden have had fleeting profanity picked up on a mic and broadcast on national television.This has been a controversial issue, due to the difficulty of monitoring the speech of everyone who might swear during a live TV event. Even if the station can afford to insert a delay and have someone ready to censor expletives (something which is by no means guaranteed: consider, for example, local or even public access stations), some have argued that a chilling effect takes place. It is is unclear exactly what might arouse the FCC's ire (there is debate, for example, as to whether "the f-word" always describes a sex act, or always has sexual connotations), which some have argued puts too heavy a burden on individuals to self-censor, and may lead them to self-censor comments which are not actually objectionable. It is also questionable whether fines actually have a deterrent effect, since the profanity is unscripted and usually said on the spur of the moment.

This issue is highly relevant this year, because it is expected to go before the Supreme Court in the case of Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations. A case of the same name was heard in 2009, in which the Court decided that bans on fleeting expletives were not "arbitrary and capricious" under the Administrative Procedures Act, the act which describes how federal regulatory agencies are to operate. However, the Court did not decide on the constitutionality of the issue, instead referring it back to lower courts. In 2010, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ban on fleeting profanity was indeed unconstitutional, and now the matter is being referred back to the Supreme Court.

This will be an interesting issue to watch, since it will directly affect the relationship between the FCC and TV stations, and perhaps reflects a changing attitude in America about profanity in general. However, I don't think the ruling, no matter which way it goes, will affect the amount of profanity you see on live broadcasts, since I doubt that the people who are using fleeting expletives are A) often aware that their mic is on, or B) would stop to consider whether or not an FCC fine might be levied against them.

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The Demise Of Print Media

We are the digital generation, and we like news right away! So, what does this mean for the future of print media? One thing is for sure a grim future. Within the past few years big name print companies have had to hire a whole new sector to show the digital generation that their company is keeping up with the times.  Magazines, book companies and newspapers have been forced to go digital making apps for ipads, kindles and cell phones. Born into a generation that is consumed with having information right away old media systems have been forced to change into a more open and direct system.

For my final research proposal, I want to look into how the print media has been taken over by the digital world. After interning at Martha Stewart I was able to see at first hand how a media company had to revolutionize their company to keep up with the new generation to save their company. I will focus my research on the effects the digital media has had on companies and the change they have been forced into taking to survive in the business media world. Ultimately, through my research I would like to prove that print media is dying and the digital aspect has taken over. Through researching a few big companies like the Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart and Random House publishing, I will look at these companies’ shifts into the digital media world from print. Finally I will show how the print media has been taken over by digital generation demands. 

Final research

In the final research, I would like to research on the influence of advertisement industry among media. 

Through the classes, we have read and discussed about how advertisement industry has influenced on other media industries so that the targeted audiences become narrowed: consumers.
For example, TV industries need a support for its funds from advertisement industries; as a result, the TV programs become not only what audiences want but also what advertisers want. This brings up the question of media as public sphere, diversity in audiences, or possibility of democracy. Also, because the purpose of advertisements is promoting product and make profit, one would say advertisements are promoting consumerism. 

I would like to do content analysis of one TV program (I am thinking about Gossip Girl for this now), and specify what kind of audience they are approaching or what products they intend to sell through this program after researching what advertisement companies were funding for this TV program. After this, I will make an argument between the authors who argue that advertisements influence on TV program to decide the targeted audience and also message (“buy product”) and the authors who argue that the audience influence on content of TV program.

However, I am still not sure how to narrow down my research topic and am not sure  if this research topic is what I want. I will explorer more and we will see....

The Dogdays Are Over: The Fight for Internet Privacy

Big brother is no longer just watching you, he's also liking your status and retweeting your instagram. Gone are the days of internet privacy! Although people are voluntarily sharing personal information on the web we must be vigilant. Bills like SOPA/PIPA are just the beginning of upcoming legislation aimed to police/protect the internet. Why should we be concerned? Because everything from our Amazon purchases to Facebook messages will be under the watchful eye of the law.

But Taylor! Why are you so concerned? The only people who should worry are the cyber criminals and child pornographers! Wrong. My simple concern is this: we now have the largest accumulated wealth of knowledge known to man. From the millions of Wikipedia articles to the billions of Youtube videos man has never come close to this free exchange of ideas. Should we favor the interests of corporations and trash what may be the greatest library of media texts? I think not, but the corporate interests and their high-paid lobbyists would strongly disagree.

SOPA aims to police copyright infringement by attacking the website itself for unknowingly allowing a user to host "stolen" content. That's like shutting down a Walmart because one customer showed up high. Clearly there is some fault in this logic, as any rational person would hold the customer responsible and not the business. So the user himself/herself should be punished for any illegal activity online, with respects to the laws of warrant-based investigations. Yet websites like Amazon and Facebook use your private information for target advertisements and cache any information you've ever shared. This leads me to wonder: if private interests can get access to your information then what's stopping the government? Could private deals between these companies and the government undermine the requirements for a warrant?In the near future would web users be punished for visiting weed legalization websites? Will underaged kids get sent to juvenile court for viewing porn?

It all boils down to this: the advent of the internet took the public sphere out of the hands of media corporations and into the hands of individual citizens. This shifted the very meaning of democracy in America, freedom of press is now attainable on some level. But this is bigger than just freedom of press/speech, never before has it been easier to peacefully assemble/ protest. The news conglomerates and the US government have become close friends over the years and will do anything within their power to have the pendulum swing back in favor of large media conglomerates. SOPA is the beginning of this shift and with the FBI planning to monitor social networks it's only a matter of time before someone gets arrested for sharing a link on twitter. Internet privacy is dying, one day soon we'll all have universal web usernames.

If it doesn't scare you now, imagine if everything you do online is visible on your facebook wall. Like, everything.

Pandora Internet Radio Affecting the Purchase of Music?

In recent years, free internet radio has spiked in popularity.  Consumers can obtain seemingly unlimited music with limited advertising for free with just the click of a button.  This groundbreaking introduction to the music industry is available on almost every electronic device, from computers, to cars, to smart phones. With new technology that allows internet radio to be played in a variety of settings and consumers ability to chose a specific genre or artist, it is possible it has successfully become a substitute for purchased music. One of the more successful free internet radio providers, Pandora, had over 100 million users in 2011, with 36 million monthly active users.  Pandora possess a music library that consists of 710,000 and uses consumers reviews to create playlists that the individual will enjoy.
For my final project, I will look at how Pandora, among other free internet radio stations, has impacted purchased music, such as CD's and itunes music.  I will look at the affect on consumers listening and purchasing habits, its affect on record labels distribution of their product and profits for them and their artists, and the interplay between Pandora and advertisers. In 2009, Pandora’s profit of $40 million dollars was almost completely through selling space to advertisers.  These ads were targeted based on age and location.  I wish to research if there is a common demographic these advertisers target and what steps Pandora takes to attract more potential advertisers and their targeted customers.  Lastly, I will look at how the sale of music will adapt compared to the adaptions of Internet radio.
I hypothesis, even though there have been reports of bands having increased record sales due to Pandora, that the success of internet radio has a negative affect on the sales and revenue garnered from purchased CD’s and individual songs on iTunes.  With CD sales over $10 dollars and individual songs being sold at $1.29 on iTunes, I would guess most consumers would take a quality free option where they can still listen to the music they wish without hurting their wallet.