Institution and Audiences This part of the course is the most factual. You will need to know how particular media industries operate and how audiences are formed. Convergence means that today a lot of TV programmes, films and music exists across a range of media. And are products of several industries, with the result that the industries themselves are converging.
Doctor Who: Case study This is a good example of an intermedial text, it would be possible to develop an extended case study . Dr who is first and foremost a TV show, but it can be watched on terrestrial broadcast, on BBC digital channels and ‘on demand’ channels, as well as purchased on DVD. So far we are only talking about viewing However BBC7 also broadcast the programme as a radio drama, the website fro Dr Who offers a range of online pleasure relating to the show and there is also an official popular BBC magazine, Dr Who adventures that accompanies the TV programme, as well as a range of books. There are Dr Who video games for every platform and a search for Dr Who on YouTube will lead you to over 84,000 uploads. Of these some are clips from programmes, some are related TV and film clips and some are user generated films. The question is then simply whether Dr Who is a TV show with a range of associated ‘spin offs’ and related but secondary media texts and experiences available or whether Dr Who fandom is an intermedial experience.
INSTITUTIONS Media is all about the contemporary, so while it is useful to have a sense of history of the film industry in Britain, we are really more concerned with how different forms of media film/music/newspaper radio/magazines and video games are currently being produced and distributed and how this is changing. The key of change is convergence. This is because it makes little sense these days to talk about the film industry without referring to other industries, especially internet distribution. The word institution refers to the companies and organisations that provide media content, whether for profit public service or another motive. This requires understanding of media in terms of a business, the relationship between media providers and the public and media as a form of power. It makes little sense to talk about the media as a single entity any more, as though it is a collective force with a shared agenda. It is key for you to understand how rapidly audiences and institutions are being transformed by digital technology.
Convergence This describes two phenomena: First, technologies coming together, for example, a mobile phone you can use as a still and moving image camera, download and watch moving images on, use as an MP3 player and recorder and access the internet with. Second, media industries are diversifying so they produce and distribute across several media. For example, a newspaper with an online version and audio podcast or the coming together of videogames with films. It is essential that you research the impact of convergence on the media sector you work with - you should aim to become an expert in the contemporary nature of the media from you choose to become an expert in.
Audiences The focus to a question on this is the relationship between the audience and the institution. You need to distinguish between audience theory and audience research. Research is best understood as trying to provide supporting evidence for a theory. A big part of this is the effects model of audience behaviour through which countless attempts have been made to prove the harmful effects of violent media. This tends to show little concern for the obvious fact that if you play a violent game for two hours and then hot a punch bag it doesn't really prove that you will want to harm a real life human being. In this case you are more interested in discussing the ways that audiences are constructed for each media sector . You will need to discuss and analyse the nature of new media audiences and how digital media distribution and consumption has allowed consumers to become producers or at least interactors and thus far more active users of the media.
Case Study: News Corporation Producers may be letting go of some power over content (but not distribution if they can help it). It remains true that a number of media moguls own a tremendous amount of the media that we have access to. Rupert Murdoch, began owing media institutions in the early 1950’s. Since then the News Corp has come to acquire a vast array of newspapers/ TV channels / radio / film companies and websites. In the UK he owns BSkyB, 18% of ITV, The Sun, News of the World, and The Times. Globally he dominates the press, owns the Fox Broadcasting Company and Twentieth Century Fox, more recently he has purchased MySpace. News Corp has a gross annual income of approx 20billion and employs around 40,000 people worldwide. The music industry is the only sector of the mass media that Murdoch’s company does not have a major stake in, although the accusation of MySpace may be a move towards this. Murdoch's huge empire is the subject of much concern. People think that the de-regulation of media ownership in the UK, begun by Thatcher when she was PM and continued by Blair and Brown under New Labour has allowed Murdoch to become so powerful that he now has influence over the way political events are reported.
The Concept Formally Known as Audience. This phrase is used by media professionals to describe the ways in which people engage with media, and it shows how contested the idea of audience is in the digital era. The ways in which convergence, user created content and social networking have transformed the audience are often thought about in terms of audience ‘fragmentation’ This means the decline of broadcasting schedule, rolling news and internet information and media downloaded in various ways, ‘breaks up’ the potential audience groups for any media form. Convergence leads to the old fashioned mass audience falling part. Media institutions are no longer interested in keeping the audience together, but ‘in triggering engagement’ in people. Converging media then, can lead to both control by the media producers and resistance by the consumers, who now get to produce their own media. Another way of describing this form is the shift from ‘push media’ (Audiences receive and consume) to ‘pull media’ ( audiences decide what they want)
Digital Media You have to research your chosen area of media and consider the relationship between that area and others under the broader context of media convergence. It is productive to spend some time looking at new digital media activities that make makes this convergence possible and accelerate it. When previously ‘do-it-yourself’ media creations such as MySpace were purchased by very big media players (news corp), immediately he cavalier approach to copyright ceased and the sites became more visibly ‘corporate’. Much illegally posted material has been removed from YouTube and MySpace is now using Gracenote software made famous by ITunes to clear copyright and intellectual property at the point of download. If it seems strange that the big corporation are keen to either take over or form partnerships with websites that threaten them by distributing material for free, then a consideration of the advertising revenue raised by such sites clears things up. UK internet advertising generates around 2bilion a year, which is more than 50% of the money made from TV ads. This figure has increased greatly in the course of 2007 and the reason for this is that more UK homes are now equipped with broadband. This results in an increase in time spent on line compared to other media (such as TV) and this has in turn created a huge increase in money invested in online adverts. Currently Google ‘clean up’ around 45 per cent of all the revenue from online ads in the UK.
Web 2.0 or 1.5? The phrase ‘web2.0’ describes a new phase of the internet, which allows us to create material, distribute it to one another and perhaps move closer to the democratic spirit of the internet that its inventor had in mind. Two other developments that co exist with web 2.0 add to its impact The first is the availability of a creative commons licence for DIY media up loaders. (see www.creativecommons.org for details), which allows people to make money from sharing content as opposed to selling it to individuals – a pretty revolutionary concept. The second is the development of open software for editing and manipulating content for peer distribution Examples are Firefox, Audacity and Moodle)
Google The following information from Google Finance explains how Google makes so much money from what might on the surface appear to be free service. “Google maintains an index of websites and other content, and makes this information freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Its automated search technology enables people to obtain nearly instant access to relevant information from this on line index. Google generates revenue by delivering online advertising. Businesses use Ad Words programme to promote their products and services with targeted advertising. In addition, the third party websites that comprise the Google network use the company’s AdSense program to deliver relevant advertisements that generate revenue. In August 2006, it acquired Neven Vision, an online photo-search company. On October 10th 2006 it acquired the online video company, YouTube. In October 2006 it also acquired JotSpot applications. In March 2007, the company acquired Adscape Media Inc., a company that makes technology to deliver advertising over the internet for placement within videogames.”
YouTube YouTube is possibly the most revolutionary example of web 2.0. For many people it has become the first port of call when seeking video material, and along with MySpace, it enables amateur film makers and musicians to distribute their material to a vast audience. Students also take advantage of YouTube to widely disseminate their production work. A feature that is especially useful to media students is the way that users can post comments on a video. Youtube offers social tagging, which means that users categorise and classify the content. Youtube as an interesting mix of ‘we media’ DIY uploads, with some notable examples of ordinary people achieving global recognition of their videos or creating a moral panic The uploading of videos made by teenage gangs= members brandishing guns is causing serious concern in the aftermath of incidents in the news of fatal shootings of children, and the perhaps less serious but equally as significant ‘happy slapping’ culture. In addition, uploads of existing commercial material act as ‘below the line’ advertising.
MySpace Most of MySpace users are between the age of 16 and 25, which, considered alongside the staggering number of profiles in existence, helps us to realise why Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy this site. This age group is one that advertisers are always desperate to reach , as they are the major audience for a host of entertainment related products and services. MySpace allows you to create an online profile, upload a range of content(images, music, videos) to your Myspace blog and create a social network of friends by invitation. MySpace has become a hub for a variety of commercial enterprise, much of it the independent distribution of music by bands without a record deal. It is now possible to sell music via Paypal through, so we currently have a slightly ironic state of play whereby small bands and independent film makers can use a website owned by News Corporation to bypass the mainstream music and film industries. MySpace now has its own music label, and many existing bands with long established recording contracts now release some of their music on the sites.