Tuesday, May 12, 2009

DVRs and VCRs; Their Attack on Ads

The reason that TV is free is that there are advertisements to support the stations. When and if the advertisers lose authority over audiences, a challenged will bear down on television. Television could completely go out of business. However, I feel that this is highly unlikely in a culture that demands so much electronic entertainment. Technology exists to charge viewers per show as one option. Again, I do not believe that culture would approve of this option since audiences have had nearly six decades to get used to free television. If traditional commercials become obsolete due to DVRs, I think the most likely technological development will be the reapplication of something that all internet users have experienced. Currently, many shows are available on the internet only if the viewer watches the commercials that are mandatory to be run before the show. With the failure of advertisements in their normal 60 second spots, I see the TV channels controlling their content completely so they can set up a requirement for viewing their show. That requirement might be watching the sponsor's advertisement. Without that requirement, the show won't be displayed. Certainly, channels will need to come up with something to continue the flow of advertising dollars even as new technologies are brought forth to allow avoidance of commercials.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Broadest Blog Topic Ever

The class has been assigned a topic that I find outlandishly expansive. Due to the breadth of the topic, I feel that some rambling on various media topics would be completely appropriate. Currently, I am typing this blog while watching Independence Day on a minor cable channel. After having learned various techniques used by the advertising companies, the intentions of the commercials become much clearer. Many commercials are so ridiculously single-sided that it almost seems to detract from their ability to make a good pitch to a consumer. More consumers need to be informed when they watch TV, so advertisers will have to be held to a higher standard of truth and information. A good connection to make with other school classes can be found in the assumptions made in economic theory. The success of most economic hypotheses depends on the idea of perfect competition, and the idea of perfect competition depends on consumers receiving perfect information on products. Unfortunately, advertisements do not provide perfect information. Actually, advertisements can provide information that distorts the truth and illustrates a false product. Knowing this, I can conclude that for a market society to function, consumers must be informed, and for consumers to be informed, they must become media literate.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Placement of Products

As far as advertisements go, product placement has to be one of the most effective ways to get their message out. Product placement allows the products to be seen as trendy, so they're more easily marketable to teens especially. However, if the show that they're placed in becomes less trendy, then the product is also labeled as less trendy. This is the main disadvantage for advertisers using product placement. Also, in the age of TiVO and DVRs, it is a way to let consumers continue to be oversaturated with corporate messages, even if they don't watch traditional commercials.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Real World Ads

During my time listening to the radio, I've attempted to analyze the radio ads in a similar way to the print ads we saw in class. This wasn't an especially easy task since my normal reflex is to change the station (if I'm not listening to the Current which has no commercials). I was looking for ways that radio commercials would differentiate themselves from print. In the case of radio ads, they can be specialized by gender, income, education, age, etc. due to the profile of the typical listener to that station since the station must cater to their listeners anyways. For example, 93X is quite clearly a station for a typical young male listener. However, something that I thought was interesting was that many of the internet radio stations have yet to give the advertisers a more narrow range to send to its listeners. For this reason, the internet radio commercials that I've heard have been very broad, making it tough to distinguish one demographic that it's clearly marketed at. Either that, or the commercial could end up not keying up a listener, prompting him/her to switch the internet page just as he/she could switch the radio station in a car the way I do. Billboards have a similar issue to internet radio. Everyone can see the billboard. The advertiser cannot narrow the range of viewers. Therefore, relatively demographic-neutral ads are the best, otherwise a viewer could just look away rather than psychologically taking in the ad at all if the ad doesn't fit their demographic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stereotypes: Denying Opportunity

The overuse of stereotypes within the American society is a troubling issue, although it may occur on a very subtle level.

For the most part, the use of stereotypes and entrenched sexist sentiment against women limits their ability to move up in the workplace and prominent public positions. Women are objectified and seen as weak or incapable. This objectification steals any human sentiment from the women. "How could an object fill the role of president/CEO/manager/etc." The weakness stereotype removes many opportunity because women might be too fragile to accomplish its tasks. On top of these stereotypes, there are the old traditions that say that men should be the ones earning the money within the family structure, while women stay at home. That tradition filters through the family into the workplace as well.

Men, on the other hand, are portrayed as brutish, violent worker people that have no feelings. The mental health issues that are derived from this portrayal are definitely an issue because those feelings that they are denied must be internalized. They are denied emotion for family and friends by the stereotypes. The quality of life suffers for that.

Ultimately, society lets false truth dictate its assumptions about the world's groups and the interactions between them. There is an expectation of people to follow the stereotype of their group. This expectation distances people and puts a facade on their relationships. Opportunities are denied, and possibilities are lost. A better future is stolen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Worshipping the False Idols, Breaking a Comandment?

Although, I'm not an addicted viewer of the ever popular "American Idol," I do watch the programs on occasion since I do usually find them entertaining. In this episode, the four judges analyzed the performances of the contestants to see who would be kicked off the show, and who was deemed good enough to stay with it.

Many of the American Core Values can be taken from the show. Achievement and Success is the ultimate goal of the contestants as they work hard to try to win the competition. Progress is a frequently visited theme of "American Idol" since the host shows the change in the singers since their early days on the show. The judges often critique the performers on Individualism since oftentimes the contestants conform rather than doing what they do best. That brings me to the next point, which is Conformity, since the judging is will reflect whether or not the singer is too close or too far from the standard of conformity. Finally, Youthfulness is very important for the program to maintain viewership that wants to take part in an event full of so many young and beautiful people.

Although these values are present, the program influences the audience and its values. "American Idol" heavily glamorizes the youthfulness factor along with beauty. To win, beauty is almost necessary. As terrible as it sounds, it is one way to make sure that the program is honest because to be an American idol, one would most definitely have to be good-looking to gain the respect of a nation. Achievement and Success are displayed in the very setup of the show itself. The whole show is about winning and losing. It even allows the audience to partake in who wins or loses, thus forcing the value on the audience by merely allowing them to partake in the success or lack there of in each individual participant.

Monday, February 2, 2009


After reading Cultural Forum: Media Literacy as the Struggle for Power and investigating the Cultural Environment Movement online, I can easily see the issue that they raise. In any place that power is concentrated in the hands of only a few, problems arise. Inevitably, there is a struggle between those who are privileged and those whose voices are smothered. The way I see it, the entire world is socialized by mass media, and, as mass media is owned by a smaller group of people, this socialization forces the cultural values of the media elite on the disadvantaged. This is not always an intentional act, but, inevitably, there are some who seek to use their power expediently, serving only the interests of their profits, global hegemony, and monopoly.

Those that see media literacy as a struggle for power see that culture reflects what is distributed by the media. I believe that they are largely correct. When the controlling media elite are separated from the mainstream like they are, there is no way that they can properly take into account the opinion of the masses, when they are so distanced from their consumers. Therefore, media forces its view on the people in most cases rather than the media reflecting the norm. It's important to understand that nearly everything is a shade of grey, so, to an extent, the media conglomerates must take into an account the opinion of the public. However, their ultimate capitalistic goal of profit making allows the media conglomerates to use their power for their purposes rather than the purposes of the public.