All posts by lepoore

The Future of the Media

I believe that the media will still be a very strong driving force behind how people get their information in the future.  I think that the new media culture and technology will still have a similar effect, if not a stronger one, on my peers and myself in the future.  Being a Strategic Communications major at DU, I have realized that many of my classes have taught me how to correctly operate social media sites to promote businesses.  Also, as an intern this past fall term, I was in charge of doing majority of the Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts that promoted the festival I was interning for.  A while ago, a major teaching you this line of work was unheard of.  Now, it seems to be a norm throughout many schools (however, they usually call it just Media Studies or Communications). This new major opportunity in colleges leads me to predict that the media will be a very important tool used by all companies in the future, as many are hopping on that bandwagon now.  I think that my peers and I will be using more types of social media outlets and seeing the news on mainly a computer screen in the future.

I think that the future of media and the lives of the future children will be a brighter outlook.  Though I spent most of my time outdoors as a kid and occasionally a computer/video game or two, I feel that the future generation of children will be spending much more time on the newer kid-friendly tablets that they are creating for children.  I will definitely still make my kids play outside, because that is the fun of being a kid, but I think that the new children will be very accustomed to the new technologies since it seems to be a trend that kids 8 years and older have tablets (once saw a 3 year old with an iPad; don’t know the logic behind that one).  The new program that is all over commercials, ABC Mouse, is a testament to how young children are using technology to further their education.  I feel that the new generation of kids will be extremely technologically savvy.

I also predict that many of the social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, will be slowly filtered out to make way for newer and more efficient social media sites.  I also feel that there will be more social media sites in the future, which has the potential to complicate things.

What began as a futuristic way to send and spread information has now seemed to engulf many people’s lives in a swirl of different social media sites. I for see this trend continuing in the future.  I predict that different forms of media (typically technological media) expanding and the print media slowly dissipating. I hope print media does not die out entirely, but I see it fading into the background by the time our generation has passed on.

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Home Depot Commercial

Home Depot is typically seen as a man’s store, with tools and planks of wood to build the ultimate shed or whatever the heart desires.  Right? The commercial that Home Depot recently is airing is reinforcing the “Man’s Store” view that is already held a lot of the public.

In the Home Depot commercial, “Come Alive,” there are some ideologies at play.  One of the ideologies is the way a husband and wife should hold household duties.  The man is the strong, hard-working half while the woman is mainly there to decorate.  This ideological construct of gender roles while doing housework were constructed many years back, when the husband was the breadwinner and hard worker while the wife stayed home waiting for her husband to come back, probably with a meal on the table or had just cleaned the house.  These constructed gender roles depict how a typical American middle class couple should operate.

Some of the stereotypes in this commercial include the differences in the roles that the husband and wife play in the recreation of their yard.  The man is being shown handling the money while they are shopping in Home Depot.  Also, the man is shown looking up a lawn mower on his phone while in the store.  These enforce the male stereotypes of being the head of the household, who handles all the finances.  Also, the husband is looking at machinery to purchase, which reinforces that men are the ones who are supposed to handle tools.  The wife is shown at the store picking out the flowers. This reinforces the women gardener stereotype, in which all wives are supposed to garden in their yards to make their homes look pretty.  Also, the store clerk who is selling the woman flowers is also a woman.  This enforces that stereotype even more, in that even the people selling the flowers at a store like Home Depot, are women.  While they are doing the yard work at their home, the man is showed doing majority of the work, including the lawn mowing, weed whacking, administering pesticides, as well as the heavy lifting involved in yard work.  The woman is shows for about 2 seconds after she is done gardening, and she looks completely clean and somewhat satisfied.  These acts in the commercial reinforce the stereotypes of the typical husband and wife, in which the man does the work and the women sits there looking pretty, after making the house look pretty.

The couple in this commercial seems to be a mixed, minority-race couple.  However, there did not seem to be any stereotypes of minority races in this commercial.  One could argue that the minority couple was depicted as having middle class wealth, since they are doing their own yard work.

The consequence of the above roles, that the commercial created for the husband and wife, is that it reinforces the gender stereotypes of husband and wife housework; the husband is the responsible, hard-working, money-bearing half of the relationship while the wife is there to look good and make their home look good.  These stereotypes are harmful to married couples, especially for the woman in the relationship, who is seen barely contributing to the housework.

Commercial:

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7BaX/the-home-depot-come-alive 

Citizen Journalism and Mergers

Comcast acquired Time Warner Cable this past Thursday for $45 billion.  They are predicted, if all goes as planned and the merger is approved by the federal government, to serve 1 out of every 3 homes in the United States (CNN: Gross).  Many news stations have been covering the new acquisition, and users of social media sites definitely have put in their opinions without hesitation.

CNN’s article titled “What a Comcast-Time Warner deal could mean for you,” written yesterday, summarizes the buyout as well as analyzing the new horizons of possibility for Comcast and Time Warner customers.  One way they look at this subject is using sub-headers such as “Would my bill go up?” and “What about service quality?” that go into what the upcoming changes are to the customers of these service providers.  The author of this article definitely is a gatekeeper, in choosing what topics he finds are important to share with the public, like how the new acquisition will change their service options for the worse, or the better (if you were a Time Warner user).

Social media also allowed many people to vocalize their opinions of this merger.  As social media goes, I will focus on people’s reaction via Twitter.  On a website page called “People Generally Just Really Hate Their Cable Companies,” many consumers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable show their obvious hatred of the merger.  One tweet reads “Comcast / Time Warner merger is like a merger between swine flu and the bubonic plague” (Mashable: Gerhard Stiene) while another tweet reads “Prediction: the Comcast/Time Warner merger talks will be slow, freeze a bunch of times, and eventually have to be restarted.” (Mashable: Matt Goldich).  These tweets, along with the rest of the 23 that are provided on the website are proof that “gatecrashing” is at play here.  Gatecrashing is a phenomenon in which users find other channels, rather than the regular gatekeeping channels, to publicize certain news or opinions.  This website, Mashable.com, provides a place that is not a traditional news outlet for consumers to share what they really think of events that occur.

As goes for this article paired with this user-generated content-style website, I think that they are mutually reinforcing each other.  In the article, it tries to be as objective as possible, but leans towards the acquisition being somewhat problematic for consumers of the individual service providers.  The website contains 23 tweets that show those consumers’ hatred of the new merger.  The article states that, “[w]henever there are mergers of two large customer-service providers…we tend to see quite a few problems…We’d be surprised if a new hybrid Comcast-Time Warner doesn’t produce a lower level of customer satisfaction for a year or two” (CNN: David VanAmberg).  This view is widely held by all of the people who posted tweets concerning the new merger- they feel it will be a terrible endeavor as customers to either one of these service providers.  This viewpoint is definitely apparent in the tweets as well as a slight bias in the news article.

A challenge that is presented by the twitter feeds of multiple people is accuracy.  The tweets presented by unhappy customers of Time Warner and Comcast only show their opinions about the merger or their predictions, not the solid facts of the case like you see in the article on CNN. Though the viewpoints of the article and tweets somewhat coincide, the article on CNN is definitely more informative to consumers.

Sources Cited:

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/13/tech/web/comcast-time-warner-consumer-impact/

Mashable: http://mashable.com/2014/02/13/comcast-time-warner-cable-tweets/

Regulating Ownership of Network Programming: The Rise of Major Media Conglomerates

Category: Ownership & Control

Issue: Regulating Ownership of Network Programming

Originally, the FCC’s fin-syn system was implemented in 1970, which was the FCC’s financial interest and syndication rules for the regulation of ownership and control of television programming.  These fin-syn regulations were enacted to limit the “ability of the 3 major TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) to acquire financial interests or syndication rights in the television programming” as well as “to limit network control over television programming and thereby encourage the development of a diversity of programs through diverse sources of program services. (FCC 1995)” (Croteau & Hoynes 87).

However, in 1993 the U.S. district court ruled in favor of relaxing the fin-syn regulations so that the networks were not subject to these regulations because the competition between cable stations and the materialization of new networks prevented the large media conglomerates from monopolizing production and syndication (Croteau & Hoynes 87).  The U.S. district courts ruled this way because of the new changes in technology that started happening in the early to mid 1990’s.

Now, networks can acquire financial interests in and syndication rights to all network programming. This encouraged vertical integration; networks turned to studios that they owned or their corporate partners owned to produce more of their programming.  The large media conglomerates argued that “monopolistic control is no longer possible because we live in a diverse world with many options” (Croteau & Hoynes 88).  However, this is not the case.

By relaxing the old fin-syn regulations, major media conglomerates that owned many media outlets flourished, especially those that owned their own studios.  Independent and smaller media producers were constrained and even harmed by the relaxation of the old fin-syn regulations.  This is because major media conglomerates, like ABC, NBC, Fox, and CW were able to produce 90% of the series on major networks as well as being able to have financial interests in half of all of the prime-time programming. (Croteau & Hoynes 88).

The main debate between structure and agency in this case is that the “structure that protects the media industry’s copyright claims also constrained it’s ability to produce and resell its products” (Croteau & Hoynes 88). While “the agency of the media industry is seen in its ability to promote changes that favored the major networks” (Croteau & Hoynes 88).  Basically this debate between structure and agency in this case is that the same regulatory structure that protected the media industry copyright laws made it harder for those media industries to produce and sell its products while the actions of the media industry started to create regulations to favor the larger media conglomerates.

The regulation in question is the FCC’s fin-syn regulation, which was uplifted in 1993, which ruled that networks were not subject to this regulation anymore because of the new advancements in technology.  If the regulation was written in favor of the ‘other side,’ which in this case would be independent and smaller media producers, then more small and independent networks would still have the ability to make independent TV and cable stations.  The smaller networks would then have a equal chance against the large conglomerates networks that take up a lot of the prime-time programming slots because it does not cost as much for them. This is because the major media conglomerate vertically integrated with their studios, that either they owned or that their corporate partners owned, to produce more of their programming.

A suggestion I have for altering the regulation to improve them would be to go back to something similar to the FCC’s fin-syn system because the FCC’s fin-syn system initially imposed constraints on networks (mainly large media networks) so they could not monopolize or oligopolize network programming.  My recommendation is to impose a regulation that does not allow network companies, large or small, to acquire all financial interests and syndication rights to all network programming.  This would make the large media conglomerates not be able to use their own or their partners’ studios to produce more of their programming, which would require the large media conglomerates to pay another studio to produce their programming.  I think that this would not necessarily equal the playing field of network programming between small and large networks because the major media conglomerates already have a lot of money, so they are probably still able to take up a lot of the networking and prime-time slots, while the small and independent media producers were harmed from the inaction of the fin-syn regulations, and probably can not afford to show their programming in prime-time slots.  However it would give the small or independent media producers a higher chance of being able to get their programming on television, and therefore steadily making more money so that they can compete for TV time slots.

Source Cited:

Croteau, D. & Hoynes, W. (2014). Media/Society: Industries, Images, and Audiences. Thousand Oaks, California. SAGE Publications.

Viacom

Viacom is one of the largest conglomerates in the world, containing many popular cable and movie networks.  Here are the following companies that Viacom owns:

Cable Networks

Atom Entertainment

AddictingGames

Atom.com

AtomUploads.com

Logotv.com

newnownext.com

Shockwave

BET Networks

BET

BET Event Productions

BET Gospel

BET Hip Hop

BET International

BET Mobile

BET Pictures

Centric

CMT

CMT Loaded

CMT Mobile

CMT On Demand

CMT Pure Country

CMT Radio

Colors

Comedy Central

Jokes.com

GameTrailers

GT Marketplace

GoCityKids

Logo

AfterEllen.com

AfterElton.com

MTV Networks

MTV

MTV Books

MTV Hits

MTV Jams

MTV2

MTVN International

Flux

Game One

Lazona.com

MTV Boombox

MTV OVERDRIVE

MTV Revolution

QOOB

TMF (The Music Factory)

Tr3s: MTV, Musica y Mas

VIVA

mtvU

mtvU.com

RateMyProfessors.com

Neopets

Nick at Nite

Nick Jr.

Nickelodeon

The Click

Nick Arcade

Nick GAS

Nickelodeon Consumer Products

Nicktoons Network

TeenNick

Palladia

ParentsConnect

Quizilla

Spike TV

Spike Filmed Entertainment

TV Land

VH1

VH1 Classic

VHUno

Vspot

Viacom International Media Networks

Film

Paramount Pictures Corporation

MTV Films

Nickelodeon Movies

Paramount Animation

Paramount Home Entertainment

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Vantage

Viacom Digital

EPIX

TheGodfather.com

iCarly.com

TheLastAirbenderMovie.com

PetPetPark.com

SouthParkStudios.com

Other

Rainbow Group (Minority Interest)

Before exploring Viacom, I had no idea how many companies were running underneath it.  Honestly, I was surprised.  I learned that Viacom is a company that definitely relies on advertising to fund their many channel outlets.  Typically, I think that they air different commercials targeting different audiences on their various channels (for example, airing acne commercials on MTV or airing commercials for new toys on Nickelodeon.)  I also learned, from Viacom’s annual report, that Viacom intakes fees from cable companies, just for being officially attached to the conglomerate.  I think that Viacom is a large enough company already, but it may benefit Viacom if they were to horizontally integrate by possibly picking up some music media outlets as well.  Mainly, Viacom distributes film and television shows to the public via various outlets like Paramount or Cable Television networks.  I think that they do a great job in running their company, but some of their television networks (like MTV channels) are losing their popularity over the years.  They are synergistic in that Viacom works with various tv channels and shows, regardless of the content.  For example, they run Southparkstudios.com, which airs one of my favorite shows of all time.  However, Viacom also airs children’s tv shows on cable television and also iCarly.com, a teen show.  Viacom works well with both adult and children’s content, in my opinion. I feel that since Viacom picked up all of the TV networks, it is really focusing on advertising as a point of business, so that they can fund their projects for Paramount or other movies.  It is good that they do not run legitimate news stations, because I feel that those stations would be riddled with advertising focusing on the consumer instead of informing the public on the actual news.

I got this information from the Columbia Journalism Review and Viacom’s website:

http://www.cjr.org/resources/?c=viacom

http://ir.viacom.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1193125-12-471870&CIK=1339947

http://www.viacom.com/