Television broadcasting page 2Presentation Transcript
Political Economy And its impact on Television Broadcasting
Podcast – Political Economy A summary of the impact of political economy theory on television broadcasting For Podcast Part 2: Political Economy click the corresponding link below
The Influence of the Political Economy Primary research from a Political Economy perspective of the television industry reveals work practices are often far more restricted than general consensus believes. This is because management often treats television as business, encouraging producers to satisfy those from whom they receive their pay, who in turn attempt to satisfy the desires of existing audiences before creating new interest. Independent and community television thus becomes the only area of the industry where new ideas can easily be given shape to satisfy the thirst of their creators and exist as art. It is here that stations such as SBS, ABC and TVS shine, due to their closer (although still distanced) connection to the ideals of the free press from which other channels are more divorced, providing far more freedom to content manufacturers. In terms of news reporting, our research indicated such channels have a far more objective style of reporting, observed on site at ABC studios Ultimo. The application of the theory of Political Economy to the television industry strongly encourages this relationship between television and the free press, encouraging ideals of equality and social justice, from which the idea of business seems so often removed. Taking Political Economy to the extreme supports the idea that not only should the corporate influence on television be removed, but also the role of the government, who should assist the emergence of television and nothing further. This can be seen to have been achieved to an extent through the ABC, to which a site visit indicated no real political importance or preference, despite being funded purely by the government. The establishment of television stations for business seem far more opinion based, the studios of Channel 7 (in contrast to that of the ABC) having an incredibly high presence of site related advertising material.
Political economy also distinguishes the significant influence of the American media upon the content of Australian television. As Australian audiences are exposed to vast amounts of American television, demand for its particular style increases, and as owners of television stations wish to increase ratings, they desire Australian shows of this American nature- as Australian television must occupy over 50% of Australian air time. The optimistic understanding is that while all these stakeholders in the television industry are heavily influencing content, the ultimate message is found in decoding, a role of the audience, which occurs inherently in a distinctly Australian manner.
Interview relating to impact of the political economy Do you believe in the idea of the free press? What pressures do you feel the government places on television? For audio of the answer click on the ‘Question 1’ audio below For audio of the answer click on the ‘Question 2’ audio below
Annotated References Murdock, G. & Golding, P. 2005, ‘Culture, Communications and Political Economy’ in J. Curran & M. Gurevitch (eds), Mass Media and Society, 4th edition, Hodder Arnold, London, pp.60-83. This text formed my understanding of that which structured my work- Political Economy Theory, identifying its key traits and how it differentiated from other communications theories. Murdock and Golding identify the implications of this differentiation for critical analysis, which led to my specific use of “political economy” rather than “critical political economy” due to its more qualitative nature, which related more strongly to the assignment's interview basis. Also significant was the text's contribution to communication ethics and the relationship between media and society, and media and business. Also important was Murdock and Golding's understanding of free markets and free press in terms of Political Economy Theory. The text's bias is in favour of political economy, and as that is my chosen lens of analysis, it provided no validity issues. Silvio Waisbord, 2004, 'McTV: Understanding the Global Popularity of Television Formats' in Television New Media, 5, pp. 359-372 Focusing on the contributing factor of globalisation, McTVrecognises the popularity of certain television program formats, styles and stereotypes. This contributed significantly to my understanding of the homogenisation of television shows across cultures. Most importantly the text indicates the possibility that diversity can still exist in television (or at least in its interpretation) due to the perspectives of local cultures. Whilst interesting, the ideas are somewhat against the academic norm, and the article provides little evidence supporting the power of minority culture's interpretation of information. This could suggest Waisbord's view as somewhat optimistic.
Lee, D 2011, 'Networks, cultural capital and creative labour in the British independent television industry', Media, Culture & Society, 33, 4, pp. 549-565, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 May 2011. This text gives the findings and conclusions from primary research of the independent television industry in Britain. It identifies the difficulty in concurrently retaining creative integrity while maintaining a career in television, recognising the prevalent need of producers to compromise. Often this compromise is fought against by producers choosing to freelance rather than work directly for a company, but this corresponds with a far less likelihood of commercial success. However, research seems to indicate that this is a changing trend, and homogenisation of television content has lead to an increased need for new, unique and challenging television programs which is encouraged and perpetuated by various networking practices. While enlightening in regards to independent television, the study is entirely focused upon Britain, and it is possible conclusions and parallels drawn with our own study may be slightly inaccurate as a result. Potter Stewart, Or of the Press, Address on Novermber 2 1974, at the Yale Law School Sesquicentennial Convocation, New Haven, Conneticut accessed 19/05/2011, <http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/hastlj26&div=33&id=&page=> This speech indicates a seeming public distaste in the power free press provides to media producers, in particular its potential effect on a countries political structure. It discusses free press in terms of the American Constitution, and proposes that intended interpretation of free press was in fact only partially free.
The speech highlights the changes in public view of the media since the time it was given, the historical influence of the Vietnam War proposing that audience distaste in free press can emerge from its ability to challenge public norms, yet concurrently juxtaposition against more recent media suggests that the public will grow desensitised to the power of free press over time. The piece holds an important perspective from which to understand society's movement towards a more general consensus regarding the central ideas to Political Economy Theory, yet to retain its relevance the conservative and historical ideals must be recognised. Stuart Hall, 1997, 'Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices'inSage in assocation with The Open University, London,pp.1-7 Hall provides a valuable insight into the idea of culture, and the operation of communication within and between cultures. Hall focuses on the importance of participants in a culture in the making of meaning, irrespective of their role in creating the means or even content of the communication itself. When applying these ideas to the television industry, it reveals the importance of an audience and identifies their existence not as passive receivers of information, but rather as participants in meaning making. This view and that of Political Economy Theory find cohesion through their attribution of power to all, and the inherent ideal of equality. Although the text holds no specific reference to television, its examination of communication as a whole makes the article quite applicable to an investigation of the television industry, unfortunately this results in the piece having few precise examples.
Other References McChesney, R. 2008, The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas, Monthly Review Press, New York, pp.305-37. Ritzer, G. 2010, Globalization: A Basic Text, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA, Chichester, UK, pp. 284-93. Mosco, V. 2008, 'Current Trends in the Political Economy of Communication'in The Global Media Journal – Canadian Edition, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp. 45-63 Besley, T., Prat, A. 2004, Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, pp. 1-37