Sunday 18 January 2015

Understanding the Creative Media Sector - Task 2

Structure and Ownership
There are many sectors of the media industry which make up its structure, including television, film, radio, animation, video games, music, and advertising. Many of these sectors are interlinked and work together to provide the population with entertainment and information. For example, the advertising sector works primarily with TV, print, and radio, and sometimes within film in order to further promote the products the advert is presenting to a wider audience.
Television is one of the largest and most important sectors in the media. Its primary function is to present high quality programming to be broadcasted to the masses, via channels such as the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. These channels are the main broadcasters, with BBC being the biggest broadcaster across the globe. The BBC is funded by a TV license, and therefore is not controlled by the government. Most other broadcasters are private companies who are funded by advertisements. There are thousands more smaller broadcasting channels, however these five dominate the media in the UK. 

Film is another of the largest media industries. Most film companies are privately funded, by companies such as Time Warner, Disney, and Universal, and these large companies often have a number of subsidiaries, e.g. Time Warner owns Warner Bros. The structure of the film industry can be fairly complicated as there are so many departments, however the main divisions include production, distribution, and exhibition. Each sector employs thousands of people every year, and are very important in the success of a film.

Radio is one of the first forms of mass media, with BBC Radio 1 being established in 1967. The BBC is the largest radio company, with several different radio stations named Radio 1, 2, 3 and so on. As well as the large commercial radio stations that dominate the sector, there are also many small, not-for-profit community stations focusing on local events and run primarily by volunteers. In order to broadcast legally, radio organisations must be licensed under the regulations of Ofcom.

Overall, there are many sectors to the media industry, which in turn split into many more sectors. Ownership within the media can become quite confusing, with many companies being owned by large conglomerates, and countries working together to fund projects. As technology advances, the industry has been allowed to expand into the sprawling enterprise it is today. 

Private Ownership
Rupert Murdoch is a powerful example of someone who privately owns a lot of companies. He controls the print company News Corporation, which publishes various books, films, newspapers, and magazines.

Private ownership has many positives and negatives. The positives include the fact that it can potentially result in higher quality products, as the competition from other private companies puts pressure on the company to hold onto their audience. The main purpose of a private company is to generate profit via its products, therefore beating out the competition is very important. On the downside, this often means that private ownership leads to media companies being more focused on this rather than creating new, interesting products, leading to low quality, generic products that still appeal to audiences as little changes. 

For example, within the gaming industry Activision’s popular video game series Call Of Duty. Each year, the company releases a new sequel for the series which has little development on the previous game, though long-time fans of the series still buy the new product. Therefore, the company continues to make money. However this eventually leads to a decline in public interest as the quality of the product deteriorates. 

Public Service Media
With the development of the world wide web, public service media has become a much broader phrase. In the twentieth century, it mainly referred to the major, regulated sources of information who educated, informed, and entertained the public under the regulations of their license. This primarily refers to the BBC. However, due to the internet the population now has much more freedom, as the web offers many opportunities to provide interactive media, from vlogs to blogs to comments on news websites like BBC and Huffington Post. Content on the internet can be commercial or non-commercial, and is commonly used by charities, activists, academics and the government. This has made it easier for ordinary people to get their voice heard, to inform the population.

Ofcom defines public service broadcasting as TV programmes that are broadcast for the public benefit, such as local news coverage and arts programmes. Ofcom regulates certain TV and radio broadcasters to ensure that they include a specific amount of public service broadcasts.
The five public service TV broadcasters in the UK include the BBC, Channel 4, S4C, ITV, and Channel 5. 

Multinational Media Companies
A multinational company is a corporation that has subsidiaries or investments in more than two countries; for example, BBC or Disney. Many multinational media companies expand into other countries to further spread their influence, for example the BBC reaches America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Advantages of multinational companies includes the creation of jobs in international countries, and an improved economy. Also, this form of ownership helps companies to gain more power across the world, rather than being confined to their own countries. It benefits the consumers in the form that they can also access media content from other countries easily, for example BBC America would show UK shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock. However, multinationals also have some disadvantages. For example, some companies are accused of cutting corners by exploiting the workforce of other countries. Additionally, the consumer may find themselves limited in forms of choice and diversity due to the fact that most companies are owned by large conglomerates with influence all over the world.


Independent media companies are companies that are completely independent from the influence of the government and other companies. It also refers to the media companies that distinguish themselves from the mainstream media.
Independent companies often find it more difficult to find an audience, due to the competition presented by other businesses or governments, and their lack of funds. However, with the development of web 2.0, it has become easier for smaller companies to have their voice heard. 
Most sectors of media have independent companies, such as film, music, and journalism. 

A conglomerate is a corporation that is made up of multiple businesses. Each subsidiary belonging to the conglomerate runs independently, however their management reports to senior management of the parent company. A conglomerate company is able to save more money by using few resources if they control multiple businesses. Additionally, the company has much more stability, as the risks that exist when operating in a single market are not applicable to the situation. For example, Virgin is a very large conglomerate that has expanded into multiple areas of industry, from music distribution, to a phone company, to an airline. 

Voluntary work is non-profit work for a company or charity. The individual freely offers to take part in the task. Examples include charities like Macmillian Cancer Support. Volunteers who take part in work for charities do not get paid, and instead any money raised goes to whatever the charity is for. For example, the charity Cancer Research UK raises money to help find a cure. Volunteers can also work freely for companies as an intern or for work experience. This is a good way to gain some industry knowledge and contacts that can progress an individual’s career in the industry. 

Cross-Media Ownership
As technology has increased and improved, more ways to produce media have been created. Cross-media ownership is when a company diversifies into more than one area of media. For example, one company (such as Disney) can have products in film, TV, print, video games, and more. 

The advantages of cross-media ownership is the reduced costs of producing products (allowing them to reduce prices for the consumer or increase their profits) and synergy, which allows them to produce a much better product at a lower costs. Additionally, cross-media ownership allows for wider distribution (leading to a bigger audience and bigger profit) and business security, as if one market fails, the company can focus on another. A recent example is Google's failed investments in Google Glass. Though Google is now going to halt sales on the product, the company has many more profitable products (such as their web browser or their driverless cars) to rely on.

Disadvantages of cross-media ownership include the persuasiveness of the media. Power lies in the hands of only a few producers, and therefore they get what they want, while other views and opinions may not be so well represented. Cross-media ownership has led to the campaign for press freedom, which is a campaign against allowing so much power into one person's hands (such as Rupert Murdoch). Other disadvantages include a lack of privacy (as companies would have very large databases with lots of personal information), and the flow of information. News Corporation is a good example of this, as they own many newspapers. Therefore, all the newspapers owned by them would present similar views and opinions, leaving less face for alternate views.

Diversification is a company’s spread into other products that are unrelated to their original product. Virgin is a good example of this, as they started as a music distributor, which led to a record label, a mobile phone provider, a book publisher, cosmetics, soft drinks, an airline, and more. Most conglomerates (like Virgin) are very diverse, with lots of subsidiaries dealing with other forms of media and even completely different industries. 

Vertical Integration
Vertical integration is when a company has shares or owns every part of the production and distribution process. And example of a company like this is Warner Bros Entertainment, as they own both film studios and also companies and cinemas to distribute the films. This helps the company to compete against powerful media institutions like the BBC. To put it simply, vertical integration is when two companies within the same industry come together either by merging together or being owned by one conglomerate. By expanding, the company is able to save more money and have more control over the production and distribution of the product. 

Horizontal Integration
Horizontal integration is when a company buys companies in the same section of the industry. For example, Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, owns many newspapers all over the world. This means that News Corporation has a large amount of control over journalism media. Horizontal integration allows companies to expand in a much cheaper way than starting a business from scratch.  

Share of Ownership
Share of ownership is when multiple companies (shareholders) have a share in the profits of one company. Shareholders pay for their share, and in return get a percentage of the profits the company makes.

Mergers and Takeovers
A takeover in media is when one company takes a controlling interest in another company, leading to a change of ownership. For example, the streaming site
Twitch was recently bought by Amazon for $970m.
A merger is a combination of two previously separate media companies into one new company. For example, NBC Universal which is a merger of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment. 

Cross-Media Regulation
Cross media ownership has to be regulated in order to prevent media monopoly in the UK. The aim of these rules is to protect plurality of viewpoints, and to allows the public multiple sources for information and opinions. Ofcom are in charge of reviewing these rules, and suggesting changes where needed. The rules cover some restrictions on how much one company can own – for example, if a newspaper owner (such as Rupert Murdoch) owns more than 20% of the total circulation, they cannot own more than 20% of one company.  

Sources of Income
There are many revenue models in the media industry. Income can be obtained from various sources, including merchandise, distribution of the product (E.G. distributing a film in cinemas, or having people pay a TV licence for TV channels), advertising, events, partnerships, community memberships, content subscriptions, and more. Different forms of media offer different ways for generating revenue. For example, in the video game industry, companies can make money through game sales, pre-orders, Kickstarter campaigns (mostly with indie developers), micro-transactions (common in free-to-play and mobile games), and monthly/yearly subscriptions (such as World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online). Or, in the newspaper/magazine industry, companies can make money from sales, monthly subscriptions, advertising and online advertising.

Product Diversity
Product diversity in the media means to modify existing products or adding new products to the range that are already available. This helps the company to grow and appeal to bigger audiences. Having more diverse products on offer means that more people will be interested in the company. Market research, product adaptation, and legal review is very important for this to be successful, as media companies must have a detailed knowledge of exactly what their audience wants from them. 

Profitability of Product Range
Profitability of product range is an estimate of how much profit the company can make from the products it sells. This allows the company to analyse statistics and see which products are selling well and which products are not worth continuing to produce. The products with the most popularity will be focused on, while the less popular products will be discontinued so that the company does not experience a loss in profits. In television, TV producers will discontinue shows that a failing to make a large enough profit, in order to focus on the more popular shows. For example, BBC's In The Flesh was recently cancelled due to the company's budget cuts ("Given there is only budget for one original drama series a year on the channel it won't be returning" - BBC Three Twitter feed).

Performance against Financial Concerns
Performance against financial concerns is a measure of how well a company is using its assets to generate revenues, and a measure of a company's financial health. These statistics can be used to compare companies with each other, to help identify areas of competition. The results are found by analysing the company's generated revenue from its assets, investments, and profits.

Organisational Objectives
Organisational objectives are the goals of the company, both short-term and medium-term. The goals of the company heavily influences the products they release, and the branding of the company. By setting and achieving goals, it is easier for the company to gain success and power, and maintain their position against their competitors.

Licences and Franchises
A licence is a permit to own or use something. Some example of licences include a TV licence, which all households require in order to legally watch TV. The BBC is paid for by the revenue received from TV licences. Another form of licence is the PPL/PRS licence, which allows you to play recorded music/music videos in a public place. All caf├ęs, pubs, restaurants, shops, schools, etc. must have a licence to play music. The revenue generated by this type of licence goes to the record company/musician that owns the music.

A franchise is a form of licence that allows a company access to another business's intellectual property. This allows the company to sell products under the original business's name. The franchisee pays the franchisor start-up and annual licensing fees to pay for the franchise. Many popular media products have become franchises, for example many Disney films have become franchises with their own lines of merchandise and in many cases spin-off TV shows and films.

Competition is huge in the media industry due to the number of media companies out there. Media companies must beat their competitors, otherwise they will lose customers and therefore lose out on profit. Every media company has various competitors, for example in the video game industry developers Ubisoft are a competitor of EA Games. These companies make similar types of games aimed at the same target audience, and therefore they must work hard to produce higher quality products in order to win the customers over. It is important for companies to know exactly who their competitors are and what they are offering, so that they can develop unique selling points to help them stand out. Most companies have multiple competitors. 

A customer is someone who consumes the product being sold by a media company. Customers are able to choose between different products and suppliers, which is the source of the competition between companies. Without customers, companies will not make a profit. Media companies can gain feedback from their customers in various ways, particularly via social media and surveys. 

National and Global Competition and Trends
National and global competition refers to competition between media companies but on a large scale. National refers to competition between companies in the same country, whereas global refers to competition between companies of different/various nationalities. For example, the rivarly between US-based company CBS and UK-based company BBC. Both companies release similar content, most importantly a TV channel with programmes.
Trends are current fashions or fads that are very popular in the mainstream media. They are often short-term lasting only a few months. They are often a popular topic for discussion on social media websites such as Twitter, which has a "top trends" feed on the site. 
#9 CBS

Monday 12 January 2015

The Structures and Techniques of Television Advertisements

Task One - What is an advert?

Adverts are crafted to target the audience of the product/service it is promoting, following a set of conventions and techniques in order to achieve their purpose - to convey a marketing message to encourage the audience to buy or find out more information about the product/service. 

Key genre conventions of advertisements include a logo, slogan, and direct mode of address. 

Logos are very important in advertising in order to create a brand and image that audiences will recognise over and over again. For example, in Snicker's recent TV advert featuring Mr Bean, a clear image of the chocolate bar is shown at the end showing the very recognisable logo of the chocolate bar. The colours link to the product, for example, brown links to the colour of chocolate, and blue has connotations of masculinity.
Slogans, similarly to logos, are also designed to make the brand instantly recognisable to the audience. For example, Galaxy Chocolate's logo, "Why have cotton when you can have silk?" is very memorable and emphasises the idea that the chocolate is a better, more premium brand. 

Direct mode of address is commonly used in advertisements for services, for example, in Injury Lawyers 4U's TV advertisements, the actor speaks the information directly to the camera, to give the impression that they are actually talking to the audience. This makes the advertisement much more personal and memorable.
All television adverts use various techniques to help advertise the product/service. The most commonly used include beauty appeal, celebrity endorsement, compliments, the association of a specific lifestyle, and many language tricks that most people see past (e.g. rhetorical questions, unfinished comparisons, and scientific or statistical claims). 

Products aimed primarily at women often use the beauty appeal technique in order to connect with the already existing idea that women must conform to the media's ideas of beauty. For example, body products adverts usually feature attractive women who fit society's stereotype of a "beautiful woman," such as in Herbal Essences adverts, which feature a skinny woman with long dark hair, which she flicks to show off the softness caused by the shampoo. As Herbal Essences' unique selling point is the fact that the shampoo uses natural ingredients, many of their advertisements are set in nature environments, adding to the idea of beauty. Also, Galaxy Chocolate's recent advertisement featuring Audrey Hepburn is set in a beautiful location, which is meant to attract the audience and draw them in. 

Celebrity endorsement is also used in this advert. The producers used advanced CGI technology to bring Audrey Hepburn back to life just for this advertisement. The result is an unusual advertisement that would generate lots of hype due to the fact that Hepburn looks real. The use of celebrity endorsement is used to generate hype. The idea that a celebrity uses the product/service appeals to fans of that celebrity. Also, a celebrity's support helps the product/service gain awareness. 

The association of a specific lifestyle is used with all products to appeal to certain stereotypes. For example, in the chocolate bar Snickers' advertising, the idea of masculinity, power, and strength is associated with the product. They produce this idea through the use of action sequences in TV advertisements, the use of the character Mr T (who is famous for his obvious masculinity) dark colours that are associated with men (blue, black, brown), and narratives that suggest that eating a Snickers bar increases your abilities (such as in the recent Mr Bean advertisement, where eating a Snickers bar makes Mr Bean become a powerful martial artist. 

Finally, language tricks are commonly used in adverts. For example, statistical claims and unfinished comparisons are used in adverts promoting health products, like Colgate toothpaste. In one advert, the voiceover says, "It delivered close to double the protection against early decay." This uses very vague language, as it neither says what the toothpaste is being compared too or the exact statistics for how much protection the toothpaste gives the user. Therefore, there may not be so much truth behind the statement, or the statement might be greatly exaggerated, however the advertisement can get away with it as it is using vague language, so the audience is led to interpret it (which usually leads to them assuming the product is better than it actually is, which is the producer's intention). Rhetorical questions are often used for slogans, for example, Galaxy's "Why have cotton when you can have silk?" The use of a rhetorical question is a persuasive technique intended to make the audience agree with the advert, rather than develop their own opinions about the product. 

Task Two - How is TV advertising regulated?

The Advertising Standards Authority and the Committee of Advertising Practise are the companies who regulate advertising in the UK. CAP's responsibilities are to write and maintain the advertising codes in the UK, while the ASA monitors and enforces these codes. Their aim is to make advertisements in the UK responsible and positive. If a viewer has a complaint about an advertisement on TV, in a magazine, online, etc., they should report it to the ASA, who'll act accordingly and depending on whether it violates the codes. If an advertisement is violating the rules, the broadcaster must take responsibility and withdraw, change, or reschedule the advert. If they fail to do this, the ASA will refer them to Ofcom, who can deal larger penalties like fines or the withdrawal of the broadcaster's licence. The ASA and CAP get their funding from the advertisers, collected by the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (ASBOF). ASBOF ensures that the quality of advertising regulation remains high by making sure that the ASA and CAP get the funding they need. Rules are in place to ensure that broadcasters check that advertisements are suitable to be broadcasted. The first code, compliance, mentions pre-clearance, which is the process of clearing all advertisements before  they are broadcasted. It is required that broadcasters make compliance with the codes a condition of acceptance for advertisements. Therefore, broadcasters take responsibility if the advertisement is unsuitable. The process is done by the agency Clearcast, who are hired by broadcasters to clear advertisements to ensure that they do not breach any of the codes. 
There are many more CAP broadcast advertising codes which follow a broad number of subjects. The main ones include:
  • Recognition of advertising - it must be clear to the audience that the advertisement is a promotion, not editorial content (TV programmes). My advert will only be about 30 seconds long, so it should be clear that it is not a programme.
  • Misleading advertising - this means that advertisements mustn't mislead the audience into believing something that isn't true. Untrue information is prohibited and unclear language cannot be used. This helps to stop the audience from being tricked into buying bad products.
  • Harm and offence - advertisements that could cause physical, mental, moral or social harm to people, particularly those under the age of 18 are not allowed. They must not condone or encourage negative behaviour. This is so that advertisements do not encourage violence. One of the ideas my group suggested for our advert involved students with hangovers, but this would be unsuitable due to the age range of our target audience. 
  • Privacy - strict rules apply to using real people in advertisements; the advertisement must not imply that the individual endorses a product if they do not, and must not infringe the individual's right to private and family life. Only in special exceptions may real living persons be featured in advertisements without their permission, such as in crowd shots. 
  • Prohibited categories - certain products are not permitted to be advertised due to the potential of harm or offence. These products include; tobacco products, breath-testing devices, betting systems, guns, prostitution and obscene material, and pyramid schemes. These products, though in most cases are legal, are not encouraged and therefore cannot be promoted to audiences.  
  • Alcohol - advertisements for alcoholic drinks are allowed, however they must not be targeted at people under the age of 18 and should not condone anti-social behaviour. Suggestions of buying rounds of alcoholic drinks for people are not allowed, and it must not be implied that alcohol can contribute to a person's popularity or confidence. This is to ensure that advertisements cannot be held responsible for a person's excessive drinking.
  • Motoring - in motoring advertisements, a culture of dangerous or irresponsible driving/motorcycling must not be encouraged, particularly to young drivers. They must also not condone the breaching of legal requirements of the highway code. Car advertisements cannot demonstrate the power or acceleration of a product except in a way that clearly depicts safety. This ensures that speeding and other dangerous behaviour is not encouraged. 
  • Scheduling - advertisements that may be unsuitable for children must be scheduled to be broadcasted at a time when young children are least likely to see them, such as after the watershed. Also, advertisements that could potentially be sensitive to current affairs cannot be scheduled around news programmes. Broadcasters must think carefully about their target audience, and what kinds of people are most expected to be watching television at specific times, to ensure that the right material is advertised to them. 

Task three - How do TV adverts target audiences?

The age and gender of the target audience is the most basic of information the advertising agency must consider, as these affect who would be most attracted to the product. For example, the advertisement for Galaxy chocolate is geared towards women, by using feminine codes and connotations. The Audrey Hepburn advert is also more popular with older audiences than younger audiences, due to the use of an actress from an older generation. In comparison, the Snickers advert is aimed at men, with its more masculine connotations of strength and power. 

Advertising agencies categorise their audience in various ways. The most commonly used ways to categorise people include social grades (A, B, C1, C2, D, E), Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs, and Young and Rubicam's 4Cs. Being able to categorise the audience is important as it makes it much easier to target a specific audience. If the audience is categorised into groups, it is easier for the advertising agency to market the product in a particular way that would appeal to them. 

The six social grades are A - upper middle class (higher managerial/administrative/professional jobs), B - middle class (intermediate managerial/administrative/professional jobs), C1 - lower middle class (supervisory/clerical and junior managerial/administrative/professional jobs), C2 - skilled working class (skills manual workers), D - working class (semi and unskilled manual workers), and E - the unemployed and students (including students who have jobs, but are dependent on another adult). 
These social grades are a stereotypical way of sorting the population - it leads to the assumption that all upper/middle class citizens consider elegance and glamour very important, which leads to them buying products that emphasises their status (for example, Galaxy's recent Audrey Hepburn advert is constructed to emulate a lifestyle of glamour; meant to attract middle class women who value their status). Meanwhile, those that fall into the lower end of the social grading are considered to care more about their family than material things, and probably prefer mainstream items that are known for good quality. There are some drawbacks to this system;
 the fact that it classifies an entire household on the income of one individual. Additionally, it does not take into account the size or structure of households. Therefore, the system is much too broad, and can only be used as a guideline.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs was developed after Maslow studied monkeys and found that humans behaved in similar ways. The concept follows the idea that all humans must satisfy specific needs before moving to the next. First, physiological (air, food, water, sex, sleep, excreation), which is all needs that must be satisfied in order to survive (for example, in Snicker's Mr Bean advert, the need for food is the primary theme of the advert, with the slogan "You're not you when you're hungry"). Then safety, which includes security of body, employment, resources, morality, family, health, and property. Then love/belonging, which is friendship, family, and sexual intimacy. Then esteem, which involves self-esteem, confidence, achievement, and respect. Finally, self-actualization, which is morality, creativity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts. The pyramid shows that there are fewer people with the needs for higher levels like self-actualization, linking to the social grades that people of a higher class would strive more for the higher levels of the pyramid, due to the fact that they (supposedly) live more comfortably (financial stability). Consumerism has led audiences to believe they need something when in reality they only want it. Therefore, we are more likely to buy the product as need is a stronger feeling than want. Maslow's pyramid shows how advertisements trick audiences into thinking they need more than they do. 

Young and Rubicam's four Cs (Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation) link to Maslow's Pyramid. Categories include the explorer (need for discovery), the aspirer (materialism and persona, status is important), the succeeder (self-confidence, organisation, and control), the reformer (independent judgement, anti-materialistic, enlightenment), the mainstream (security, family, and value for money), the struggler (victims, wasters, seeking escape), and the resigned (older people, nostalgia, tradition, familiarity, and survival). This system makes it easier for advertisers to understand humans' basic motivations, therefore it is easier to market products towards target audiences. 
Therefore, in my case studies, the target audience for Snickers would be classed under Maslow's physiological classification, Young and Rubicam's succeeder classification (due to the emphasis on masculinity and success presented by the brand) and a social grade of C2-D. The target audience for Galaxy is women in the A/B category, who consider esteem the most important need on Maslow's pyramid, and can be considered the aspirer from the four Cs.