Introduction Lecture Notes
Monday, September 10, 2012
Digital Media Convergence
• Australian brands are legally responsible for the comments posted on their social media pages. They can be held
accountable for false claims about their company, such as "drinking Smirnoff alcohol can increase your ability to
• Absolut avoids false claims by advertising the unique-ness of their bottles; it is nearly impossible to market vodka
because it is "without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or colour".
- Introduced new limited edition bottles, hoping that people will collect them - selling exclusivity
• Selling social connections because alcohol is one way we connect with friends.
• Alcohol brands have some of the highest digital IQ's, especially luxury brands.
Types of Brand Promotion
• Event sponsorship
• Celebrity endorsement
• Social loyalty campaigns
• PSAs (public service announcements)
• Magazine ads
• Television spots
• Drink recipe apps (mobility)
• Social properties (owned earned and controlled)
• Product placement in films and music videos
3 C'S of Media Convergence
• Having platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.
• Available for sharing on platforms
• Have a public that has connective devices, such as laptops, smartphone, wifi connection
Digitization and the Evolution of Content
→ the evolution of content production, how it is distributed, and how we are consuming it.
Content is constantly flowing through the social media ecosystem across multiple platforms, which leads to content
disaggregation: disruption of production, distribution, and consumption.
• Platforms such as Netflix, Facebook, Google, amazon.com, Pinterest, YouTube, and iTunes allow us to obtain
discrete media assets from many different publishers and producers at the same time
• These companies become the distributers of the content rather than the brands that actually produce the
• We can gather media in smaller pieces
- Photos vs albums Can be purchased
- Singles vs albums
- Tv episodes (netflix) vs entire seasons individually rather
(can skip all the advertisements) than collectively
• Has a demassification effect
Long Tail and the Discoverability Dilemma
• Tracking allows us to see that older content can be more popular than new content because it is more easily • Tracking allows us to see that older content can be more popular than new content because it is more easily
discovered (iTunes encourages people to read classic novels by posting them for free - people are willing to give
things a try if it doesn't financially inhibit them.
• Choices that you discover when you see what your friends are buying
• It is difficult to find content unless it is being pushed up on recommendation lists
Dumb pipes are not content creators; they are digital-only content aggregators. It makes media available in
• They don't have to invest in creating any content
• Make money through advertisements/selling consumers memberships
- The Huffington Post
• Dumb pipe channels can supply media to become a content producer.
- They have the opportunity to supply exclusive content that you may not be able to otherwise view.
- There is content that can't always be posted on primetime TV
[ex] Specialty channels on YouTube or Huffington Post entertainment talk show
• To be successful, you have to be a brand with the best content integrated across multiple platforms (not just the
ones they are controlling) and engaging advertisers
Concentration/Consolidation of Ownership in Media Industries
Mergers, takeovers, and acquisitions occur by companies like CBC, Shaw Media, Quebecor Media, Astral, BELLmedia,
• People are worried that some companies have too much power and that there's not enough diversity of
representation and opinion
• Resulting in higher prices for consumers.
Vertical Integration: When a company with the same owner handles different aspects of a business in the same industry
[ex] Apple creates computer hardware and software
Phone manufacturing companies that also offer phone service
• Canadian media sector (telecommunications) exceeds the vertical integration level in any other G8 country
- Most of the television industry is controlled by a few companies that are also in the content production business.
(81% in Canada vs. 23% in the USA)
• Telecoms have a lot at stake in the content
- When content is disaggregated, it hurts the big companies
- This is why Bell wants to collect Astral, which has great content across multiple television and radio channels.
- BCE needs to compete with foreign content companies like Netflix, Apple, Google, and Amazon
- Critics thinking BCE's collection of Astral will turn them into a media elephant, forcing consumers to pay for
channels that they don't actually want.
Consumers have become Platform Agnostic
We want high quality, free, fast content that is available across multiple digital devices/screens.
We don't care where it comes from.
Unbundling media: democratizing effect
• We want to be able to pick and choose which pieces of media we consume
• Good news for consumers, not media companies • Good news for consumers, not media companies
Modes of Engagement
Appointment consumption - must be consumed at a certain time or place
Can be considered a cultural unifier because it is social bonding over event programming: reality television, the news,
sports television, etc
We are in the time of control revolution - an on demand revolution where we can consume content anywhere (on any
device) at anytime.
• Consumers are connected and we have new expectations for media companies.
Event programming that attracts people to watch in real time:
• Stanley Cup playoffs
• The Olympics
• Award shows
Media on Demand - Personal media mix
• High income, Educated individuals are more likely to be on early technology adopters spectrum - more media on
demand to share with friends and family, who follow your lead.
• Can be indicative of an individuals personality.
• Your exposure to media depends on understanding how gadgets work, access to it, and ability to spread the news
Multiscreen and Concurrent Media Use
• Half of the general population will rarely/never use multiple screens at once (compared to 25% of FILM240 who
Telecom companies were initially worried about us neglecting their news papers, televisions shows, etc when it's
available online, but simultaneous usage of multiple screens (with the steady trend of increased TV viewership) argues
differently. (Nielsen company, Three Screen Report)
• 43% of people will watch event programming even if they already know the outcome (NBC). 7/10 people say that
we are more apt to tune in once we find out what the outcome is.
• Heavy internet users are heavy TV watchers (Television Bureau of Canada)
• Heavy internet users (24+ hours/week) consume 10% more music, read 10% more books, and watch 10% more
Media use begets media use; It's not about displacement, but rather complementarity. Media converges - more media
all the time
Big mac theory: if you consume empty cultural calories you lose your ability to appreciate the finer things in life, art,
Empty Cultural Calories → dismisses most popular media cultural as empty, worthlelss diversions
Too much Simpsons = less interest in symphony
Skyscraper model of culture: ranks media culture based on quality
High culture (penthouse) targets a refined audience and sold to wealthy and educated audiences. For our intellectual
Low culture: entertainment for the masses
• sexuality, joy, laughter, angry birds, loud, silly, hiphop
Everything Bad is Good For You
"The best pop culture productions provide a cognitive workout" - steve johnson
• The best of popular culture makes us use our minds. Think deeply to avoid passive engagement
1) Multiple narrative threads: Interwoven story lines that are complicated, many occurring at once. We must work to
keep up with the story.
- Polysemy: multiple access points - open to interpretation. Can signify different things to different people.
2) Few narrative signposts: doesn't tell you what to think/feel throughout program. (no laugh tracks). There are no
cues telling you how to react.
3) Complex social networks: a plot arrangement that is full of characters who each have drama, shifting allegiences,
complex relationships (glee relationship map).
• Helps you develop your EQ - emotional intelligence
• You can develop your ability to deal with social situations in real life because you are exposed to it already
through media programming (ie. Office politics)
Tools for Studying Media
Ubiquity of commercial messages results in ad-blindness. We ignore commercials because we're used to doing so.
See differently and make media messages strange again if we want to take it serious.
• People don't usually "click through" on advertisements such as those on your Facebook sidebar.
• Identify the compositional elements of advertisements and media.
• Every detail is thought through.
• What message is really being sent?
Deep dive: delve into the details to create deep critiques.
• Notice the commercials/advertisements/content around you
• Analysis becomes more rich, precise, and accurate
Zoom out: look at the bigger picture.
• Consider context and larger trends.
Representational Pattern Recognition
Representation and social norms: magazines promote the "norms" through their featured models on the front cover.
[ex] Cosmo and men's health can potentially define "sexy"
Media narratives have cumulative affects our imaginations
Agenda setting → doesn't tell you what to think, but what you should be thinking about
Our agenda of things we should consider if we want to be like the people in the advertisements.
• Levi's go forth advertisement Introduction Readings
Friday, September 14, 2012
Media Convergence in the Digital Era
Media Convergence → A term used by media critics and analysts to describe the changes
currently occurring in media content and within media companies.
The technological merging of media across various platforms
• Content offered across multiple media channels
• Magazine articles, radio programs, songs, TV shows, and movies are now available on the
Internet through laptops, iPads, and smartphones.
• Historically this is not a new concept. Old and new forms of media would merge to survive
competition.[ex] Radio Corporation of America purchased the Victor Talking Machine
Company and introduced the radio that also played recorded music.
• Contemporarymedia convergenceallows for the era of communicationto be reinvented.
- Email and social media replace verbal conversation
- Print communicationhas evolvedfrom newspapers to articles available online.
- Amazon.com combines the book (the world's oldest mass medium) and the internet (the
world's newest mass medium) to create profit
A business model that consolidatesvarious media holdings under one corporate umbrella. Also
called a cross platform → involving the consolidation of various media holdings, such as cable
connection, phone service, televisiontransmission, and Internet access under one corporate
• Not necessarily to offer consumers more product, but to better manage resources and
• Allows media corporationsto broadcast the same story across multiple media channels.
This is convenient because it uses less employeesto generate multiple versions of the
Channels like Google organize and aggregate new and old media content and present it to
online consumers. It does not produce any original content, but is rather a "middle man" in
• Consumers are not charged for their searches, nor are they forced to compensatecontent
providers. This adheres to customer preference to consume media in multiple places for
• Google earns revenue through selling ads that accompany search results. Their earnings
from this are enough to fund their other services; the information query, Google Earth,
Google Maps, online storage for Gmail and Google Docs, and YouTube
• Aids older news media make the transition to modern technology
• Google relies on news organizations to provide quality informationand journalism
Evolution of a New Mass Medium
• Diligence of inventors
• Social, cultural, political, and economiccircumstances
[ex] the telegraph and radio were responsive to the military's need to control communication
the internet responds to new concerns, adapting the sharing of informationto suit an
increasingly mobile and interconnectedglobal population. increasingly mobile and interconnectedglobal population.
3 STAGES OF MEDIA DEVELOPMENT
1) Novelty/developmentstage: Inventors and technicians try to solve a particular problem
2) Entrepreneurial stage: Inventors and investorsdetermine a practical use for the new
3) Mass medium stage: Businesses figure out how to market the new device or medium as
Linear Model of Mass Communication
Senders Mass Media to large Receivers
transmitMessages through a Channel Readers, viewers,
Authors, Programs, texts, Newspapers, groups of consumers
producers, images, sounds, books, magazines, Can return
organizations ads radio, television, messages to
Gatekeepers function as message filters. Letters to the editor,
They make decisions about what messages phone calls, email,
actually get produced for particular receivers. talkshows
News editors, executive producers and other media managers
Cultural Model For Understanding Mass Communication
Recognizes that individuals bring diverse meaning to messages, given factors and differences
such as gender, age, education level, ethnicity, and occupation.
• Audiences actively affirm, interpret, refashion, or reject messages and stories that flow
through the various media channels.
• Represents the lack of control that senders have over the interpretationof their message
• Selective exposure → Consumersseek media messagesand produce meanings that
correspond with their own cultural beliefs, values, and interests.
Stories: the Foundation of Media
Stories that circulate in the media can shape a society'sperceptions and attitudes.
• News media stories can stimulate public awareness and encourage people to form an
opinion about global issues.
• Media stories put international events in context, helping us to better understand our
own daily lives and the larger world.
• Narratives are the main cultural currency; they are the tools used to deliver both