MIT 2100 Final Notes.pdf

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2100F/G
Milford Green

▯ Jennifer Citrullo Political Economy of Media: Final Notes FINAL EXAM: December 18th, 2013 -> 2-5 Nat Sci 1 October 15: Advertising and Consumer Culture ( Lecture & Tutorial) Political Economy - one can think about political economy as the study of the social relations, particularly the power relations, that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources -> Vincent Mosco - if the circuit isn’t completed, capitalism seizes to function - depends on supporting the role of advertising of its characteristics and how it funds the media - how do we understand the market of advertising (who is it shaped for?) What is Advertising - direct response to the needs of capitalism - influence consumer behavior/create connections - goal of advertising -> turn human beings into buyers - how we think of ourselves as consumers - “commodity fetishism” Marx * commodities take on a life of their own * instill commodities in the properties advertisers tell us they have - ex. iPhone: 2 sides: advertising side vs. labor exploitation side - FOXCON: mass suicides, etc. because of labor conditions * how do we decide which story to buy into * advertising covers up labour conditions, etc. Advertising Makes Us... - the way to happiness and satisfaction is through the consumption of objects through the market place -> advertising articles - commodities will make us happy -> Sut Jhally - Dove: owned by the same parent company as Axe - Chanel No. 5 Ad -> DeBeers --- openly asks you about your insecurities and offers you a product to solve it The Irony of Advertising - quality of life survey -> cultural/social, vs. material (love/fam/friends) - material always wins *divide what makes people happy ▯ 1 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo - material always wins - real sources of happiness cannot be provided by the products - advertisers gave up trying to sell based on material quality alone - if you buy this car, it will give you a thrill, etc. not just get you to places fast - ex. Chevy -> buying America - advertisers call you to think about a product that will provide the solution to your problem - advertising points us towards our goals, it alls us to think of them and then it provides a commodity as the doorway * we’re left perpetually unfulfilled -> then we have to buy something * pursuit of commodities take us away from the things that makes us happy * reduces our capacity to be happy - if we are perpetually unfilled, the process will continue and advertisers have won -> cycle continues Merchants of Cool (2001, PBS) - way markets think about us - feedback loop/why do companies do market research? - available on PBS - teens have a lot of disposable income - innate feeling for parents to make the teen happy -> guilt money - 73% of teens have a TV in their room, 1/3 personal computer - to win teen’s loyalty they have to study them - cool keeps changing -> stubborn demographic * “cool hunting” - as soon as markets discover cool, it stops being cool - anti-marketing product * not selling product, but selling lifestyle, i.e Sprite * ex. Cornerstone -> hires teens to go into chatrooms * helps Sprite (fastest growing soft drink in the world) - ultimate marriage of corporation and culture * Sprite and HipHip -> icon of hip-hop culture - 5 things sell youth culture: * massive conglomerates * horizontal integration/vertical integration/Synergy -> own everything - coolest conglomerate= Viacom (MTV) -> all MTV is, is a commercial - youth marketing empire - Sprite + location + paying teens, etc. * cross promotional free for all & don’t let marketing show - to stay cool, you must change with them * market research = mantra - ethnography study: visit teens in their home * study teens in someone’s natural habitat ▯ 2 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo * not understanding someone as a person, but as a customer * doesn’t listen to young to make young happier - fewer owners, more choices - pro-wrestling = most popular form of entertainment for teen boys * popular reaction of crowd, where there’s pop, there’s money * midriff -> I am midriff hear me roar (Britney Spears) - 90210 vs. 7th Heaven ... undressed (MTV)/cruel intentions * sex and violence * real life + TV life = blurred - media watches kids, kids watch media, etc. * FEEDBACK LOOP: where does the circle begin? where’s the authenticity? * then market experts watch them and sells it back? * teens respond to market messages - insane clown posse: exclusively theirs -> teen cultural resistance -> when mainstream radio, its everyones * rage rock -> just try to market this * Limp Bizkit * nobody can understand kids but the consumer sponsor Why do Markets do Research? - don’t listen to us to figure out what we want - they figure out how to market the product they already have - understand us better, give us products they have -> cheaper - everything’s rarely new or innovative - where do cool hunters exist now? -> we are volunteering this information through social media now, dual market Tutorial Advertising the Apocalypse: shocks us out of our passivity Jhully - we see more than just the sum of these features - Apple sells a lifestyle/better version of ourselves -> through the consumption of their products * symbolic extensions of ourselves/who we want other to think of us - identities -> extension under capitalism, of commodity culture * we select things that look like us/ironic because they are mass produced Apple Ads: Super Bowl 1984, Facetime, Signature -> how does sound work? Pepsi Ads: Pepsi Generation (Michael Jackson), Pepsi (One Direction) ▯ 3 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo Redbull: 2013 World of Redbull Commercial October 22: Public Broadcasting: NPR & CBC ( Lecture & Tutorial) NPR and CBC 1) What are their missions? 2) How are they funded? 3) How are they different (from for profit competitors)? 4) What obstacles do they face? NPR: National Public Radio - created in 1970s to serve the public interest - government had a clear role in bettering society (culture, etc.) - CPB Mission Statement: * “programs and services should reflect our common values and cultural diversity, and address the needs of undeserved audiences around the country in ways that are not possible with commercial media alone” - connects with us on a level that is deeper - FUNDING: considerable amount from government; originally * 3 Ways: 1) taxes 2) donations 3) underwriting (less overt advertising) * more interest in direct government subsidies than this * very diverse, no single entity can turn the lights off * different dynamic for listeners of NPR vs. dual produce market shows * can be self- sustaining vs. corporate media system that requires growth Corporation for Public Broadcasting - American taxes go to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which then funds other public entities like NPR, PBS, PRI - it is an “arm’s length mechanism * important in the role of public media * distance between government and institution so that it can initiate itself from direct control from government, can’t serve particular party/ideology * government has no say in how public media operates NPR Content: ‘This American LIfe’ - didn’t translate well to visual media - indicative of what you get on NPR ▯ 4 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo - appeal to the listen as though they are sophisticated/educated - presents info that will make you better citizens - public interest topic treated in a light hearted way Obstacles of NPR - audience: specific audience they attempt to appeal to -> are they actually serving the public interest? * if you can appeal to one demographic that can keep you a float, then why try and get new listeners - donation drives: unpleasant/annoying * precarious way to fund * undeserved scrutiny -> because of some degree of public funding CBC: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - “broadcasting from the US was flooding the Canadian market, and it was widely perceived that unless Canada acted to establish a Canadian broadcasting service we would be smothered in American Culture.” -> CBC Website - pressure to do something about the radio stations coming over the boarder * homogenized by American content * fear led to creation of CBC * mandate on CBC website -> strive to have equivalent quality of French and English * actively contribute to flow of expression * very clearly serves public interest (but difference from US) -> being Canadian, not American - Public Interest: not a universal standard, defined contextually - CBC FUNDING: government funding, advertising revenue - CBC COntent: Q with Jian Ghomeshi * serves our PI when someone serves topic fairly Obstacles of CBC - CBC budget was cut by $115M over 3 years -> why there is advertising - because they rely so heavily on government subsidy, Parliament at any moment can reduce their ability to operate - continually find new sources of revenue - have to compete - without the mandate, there wouldn’t be a reason for CBC to produce Canadian content - CBC faces unusually strong opposition from free market competition - asking government for help Whose funding model is better at serving the public interest? October 29: The Disney Empire ( Lecture & Tutorial) - Mickey Mouse Monopoly ▯ 5 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo - o One of the reason Disney has an important place in this week is because the narrative of Disney is one we’re very familiar with; narrative of fantasy, magic, wonder, childhood -> something Disney has crafted very deliberately over time - o Disney is horizontally integrated conglomerate - o Someone has to question the direct competition between these conglomerates - o Disney hides behind innocence; corporate entity, yet when we think of Disney we don’t think about this issue - o They’re in this to make money; all they care about - o A lot of our impressions of Disney are challenged in this film November 5: The Film Industry ( Lecture & Tutorial) - looking at the film industry through the movie batman, but content will be relatable to most Hollywood films March 1989: Time and Warner merged to Time Warner and produced the film Batman Films & Studios: - New Line (Lord of the Rings) - Warner Brothers - Warner Independent - Caste Rock (Friends with Benefits) - they also do TV and video games -> distribute Publishing - Entertainment Weekly - Time Magazine - People - Sports Illustrated - InStyle - life - money 2 Types of Markets: 1) Internal Market 2) External Market 1) Internal Market - recycling products - (all within Time Warner) -> internal to the company (music, TV, internet, video games) - direct content in one is a direct content in the other (same content without having to reproduce or create content) -> it is the same or almost the exact same content - Ex. Princes Batdance -> the content of video (visually) uses what he usually uses (girls, visual effects, etc.) ▯ 6 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo * it is the music that is the internal market, used clips from batman (audio) * Prince is using popularity of film to promote his album * content of music is cheap because its recycled from the film * together they promote the film, Prince as an artist so it benefits them both (synergy) * direct audio from song may reach a demographic that was aware of Prince and never aware of the film * in the case of Batdance, Prince doesn’t make this album because his demographic (women) are begging or asking for it -> they are making it so that it reaches the demographic the film does not attack (women/African Americans) * internal market = promotion of film - Time Warner gives recycled content to CNN - recycling script = books content, converted it into a novel - this is all promoting and supporting an internal market while making the most revenue - mechanism of advertising that is easy to do - internal markets are a big circle of promotion -> how Hollywood goes out to save money Sequels - another way to make revenue easily - the set, actors, etc. it can all be used again = decrease true and work, increase profitability - every time they produce a sequel less people will go see it but they don’t care, i didn’t take long or much to make it - 30 million to make a set - who is playing the new batman is substantial source for them -> they love it because it is a source of internal marketing - Time Warners will continue to do this in the same formula Decreasing Costs Externally - very lucrative - Licensing: * unlike advertising it does not cost them money -> they receive money * trying to put your product in front of people who are going to buy it * they sell licenses to people who want to promote Batman * ex. Batman the game (board game), action figures, trading cards (images from film), clothing, movie posters, coffee mug * not made by Time Warner but use recycled materials * these are mechanisms of: awareness, buzz, support, promotion * and used to offset costs of the film * when you factor in: internal marketing (recycling), external marketing (licensing), sequels -> the cost of making the film shrinks - Pre Sold Property: * properties where an audience already exists ▯ 7 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo * less risky than new projects * making substantial returns using pre sold property * Hollywood loves to us PSP -> ex. Jaws, Godfather, Exorcist, Iron Man = all books first * most Hollywood films are pre sold property (substantial amount) * least amount of risk that makes the most money for the movies that don’t work/aren’t popular * they don’t care if a movie doesn’t do well because it didn’t coast a lot to make it and they are making money from other PSP * you never know which Batman exists you just know its Batman - Advertising: (not primary avenue to take) * the least used medium (because it costs money) * ads on billboards, trailer spots, magazines, etc. * least amount of revenue - At the Box Office: (all the external promotions results) * Batman made $40.49 million in first 3 days * limit competition between films, produce/release not very many films in a year (everyone thinks this way * don’t want competition in the same company -> if al the movies are different companies then everyone wins * usually in summer/Christmas -> limits release to “seasons” * everyone follows this business cycle * continues like this every year Recap - INTERNAL MARKETS: products owned by parent company * publishing, television, recording * recycling to 1) save costs and 2) helps promote the film - EXTERNAL MARKETS: -> all produces less need for advertising 1) licensing -> reduce risk, recycle 2) pre sold property: audience that already exists, no risk * promotion and cost saving * this is what helps the box office sales * then they release Batman in the summer (a time when no other Warner Brother movie is out so they are not competing against themselves) - content is reused greatly to save money - promotion comes from many different avenues - advertising is a decreasing avenue used due to the cost and risk of advertising Tutorial Holy Commodity Fetishism Batman - relationship between Batman and corporate ownership ▯ 8 ▯ Jennifer Citrullo - how politics shape the business The Film Industry - INTERNAL MARKETS: * Prince Batdance * recycling * horizontal integration/synergy -> different parts of same company making together * system in which goods and services are sold to a provider within the same organization - SEQUELS: consider impact of ownership of content/structure - EXTERNAL MARKETS: * licensing material, etc. * decreasing costs externally * gain money back that was spent on production * action figures -> Warner doesn’t own Kenner, but allows them to produce action figures * source of revenue * also part of advertising -> big cycle * toys reach out to different market -> participate in Batman culture - PRE SOLD PROPERTY: * properties where an audience already exists * less risky than new projects
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