Sunday, May 11, 2008

Disney Theme Parks on TV

If you've watched ABC's morning talk show "The View" with any sort of frequency, you have probably noticed that the cast can often be found around Disney World or Disney Land. ABC sends the women there for promotional events and to look for interviews. Additionally, many of the cast members will often discuss their recent vacations to the theme park and rave about how much fun their families had.

There are also less recent examples of ABC's parent company using its television interests to promote their Disney parks. In the nineties, the cast of "Full House" ventured to Disney World. Here is a clip of John Stamos singing "Your Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" at Cinderella's castle.

The cast members of "Full House" were extremely recognizable at the time. Combining these celebrities with one of Disney's most recognizable symbols-Cinderella's Castle-could only benefit Disney. Disney has an overwhelming amount of interests in a wide range of industries, so they are able to place their characters in one of their very own settings. In the above examples, we see how Disney uses their television and theme park interests to increase revenue as well as recognition.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Who Owns What: Helpful Resource

One of my favorite websites when it comes to media ownership is the Columbia Journalism Review's Who Owns What media guide.  On the page, there is a drop-down menu where you can click on one of many media corporations.  Once you do this, you are taken to a list of all of the companies that media corporation owns.  Each ownership guide is broken down by industry, so it is very easy to navigate.

This website is included in the useful links on the sidebar to the right.  I recommend using it whenever you see something during one of your media exposures to see if there are any "coincidences," like the ones I have pointed out in previous entries.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

FCC's Strategic Goals: Media

I thought this was interesting. I'm not sure how much of this is actually being accomplished. How much diversity can there be with such high concentration of media ownership? There is no real competition, either. If the FCC claims that their objectives are the things listed below, I can't say they're doing a good job at reaching their goals right now. From the Federal Communications Commission's website, strategic goals for media ownership:

"The FCC is responsible for developing and modifying broadcasting and other media rules and policies in order to address changing technologies and changing competition and ownership patterns. The challenges in this area arise from:
  • Changing ownership patterns,
  • Legal challenges to FCC rules and policies,
  • Converging markets and industries, and
  • Increasingly rapid changes in technologies employed by service providers.
Consistent with statutory directives, these factors have led the FCC to make rebuilding the factual and analytical foundation of its media ownership regulations and competition policies a top priority. The FCC will examine whether current forms of media regulation are achieving statutory policy objectives and determine how changes in regulations may affect the policy goals of competition, diversity, and localism. A critical aspect of the FCC’s responsibility to ensure that the public is served by an efficient and competitive set of media services is the full facilitation of the transition to digital broadcast television.

  • Enforce compliance with rules that foster competition and diversity.
  • Build and continually update a solid factual and analytic foundation for media ownership regulation.
  • Encourage the timely development and deployment of digital services."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Gods of Entertainment"

The YouTube video posted below, "Gods of Entertainment: The Power of Mass Media to Influence," offers a fabulous look into the top 5 media conglomerates and an explanation of what makes them so powerful. The video does a great job of hi-lighting interesting facts and statistics, making the power that these corporations have more understandable and easier to comprehend. The end is especially interesting, when it covers the self-sufficiency and overall power that these companies have in today's world. It's a short video, and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

American Idol (Take 2)

This may not be all that surprising, but it's worth pointing out. Cross-promotion is advertising one product through different channels. On the March 12 episode of American Idol, which airs on FOX, Jim Carrey showed up in the audience dressed as an elephant to promote his new film "Horton Hears a Who." The film was produced by Blue Sky Studios. News Corporation owns both the Fox Broadcasting Network and Blue Sky Studios. This was an easy way for New Corporation to start promoting "Horton Hears a Who" early on without high advertising costs.

Ryan Seacrest actually addresses this directly, laughing when he asks Carrey during the episode, "This wouldn't be a Fox film, would it be?" Carrey replies, "It's a little bit of cross-promotion. When you do a movie with Fox, you're contractually obligated to do a certain amount of that." Check out the clip below:

American Idol

As media corporations try harder and harder to economically benefit themselves, they are taking their own products and transforming them from simple entertainment to brand cultures.

American Idol is a great example of this. So, we participate in the process of choosing each season's American Idol, but we're also buying into the American Idol brand- we pay to vote, buy albums, concert tickets, t-shirts, DVDs... and so on. Companies have really figured out how to tap into their consumers' interests and increase sales in all of their industries. This gives the media companies the ability to make tons of money off of consumers based on one successful brand. Some people might argue that because we're buying into every aspect of one brand, that gives the media corporations a reason to minimize the new content they're putting out. They can spend a minimal amount of money while making more and more.

American Idol is different every season. This is one of the big successes of shows like this. Yes, the concept is the same, but the whole show changes from season to season as new hopefuls audition. On top of that, the Top 10 go on a summer tour after the show has concluded.

The American Idol website is the perfect place to see just how the brand is being marketed and sold to consumers. The website does dedicate space to its advertisers, but the interesting thing is that the site seems to be advertising its own brand. You can click a link to download (and pay for) Idol performances, go to the American Idol store, join the Idol community where you can participate in discussion boards, buy Carrie Underwood stamps, and much more. They're really creating an "American Idol World" with all of this, and fans are loving it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Convergence Culture

"Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide" is a fascinating book by Henry Jenkins. Jenkins addresses the changes that are going on as media intersect. Information is being communicated across a number of media platforms and consumers are fighting to take more control over their media exposures.

One of the points that Jenkins makes is that companies are primarily concerned with their bottom line. These huge corporations have interests across the entire entertainment industry and they can maximize profits by selling one brand in all different industries: so, they can make movies, music, and television programs all based off of one successful brand.

This helps to explain why we get things like High School Musical and Hannah Montana. These brands are marketed and sold through movies, CDs, television shows, radio, etc.

Jenkins' "Convergence Culture" is a great tool that clearly explains this cultural shift in the media. I found this section about media ownership particularly interesting, but the rest of the book makes some excellent points and connections with pop culture such as Survivor and American Idol. Check it out at Amazon.

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