Media industry is pivotal to the economic development of a country. This is because it economically, socially and politically influences people’s life. Media has significantly grown for the last two decades. Technological advancements have brought a paradigm shift in how media influence peoples’ lives in a society. This paper identifies and outlines the three most important distinctive features of the media industries. It further takes an in-depth illustration how these three features influences the functioning of the media industries.
Media Creativity and Commercialization Feature
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Creativity plays a critical role in the growth and development of the media industry. The creative concepts form the basis of the establishment of a formidable media industry in a country. This is because the whole essence of media industry is engulfed in creative works. On the other hand , commerce tension presents an incredible motivational factor in the media industry. This is because the incentive of creativity is anchored in monetary benefit achieved. To achieve the commercialization of media and services, advertisement has singled out an every important tool in in promoting some of media features.
The fierce debate on whether or not media advertisements are an attempt to brainwash customers is interesting and complex. Media has proved omnipresent in people’s life and it has a significant impact in decision making among consumers. The main aim of Media is no longer to enlighten the people about the products and their use, but it is geared towards the creation of a wish to own a product. Furthermore, advertising has become a pivotal point of attraction. Each time one switches on a television, an encounter is that products are being pushed on people in an intellectual manner with some assurance. The society’s mind is being sold to these advertisers. Advertisers employ all means possible to have their products sold at the expense of the welfare of the people. The economic challenges coupled with heightened drive for capitalism has led to unrealistic advertisement geared towards making customers behave in a given way. It is prudent to note that media should not be allowed to set standards for society because it influences person's behaviors. Media contents which are generated create ideals of love and lifestyles, and they raise or reduce customers’ dreams for opportunities and self-actualization (Chomsky & Herman1988).
Media contents and their promotion, just like other social orders, plays a critical role in human growth and development (Lambin 1987). However this growth is skewed towards one direction hence it brainwashes the masses. The dynamism aspect of the advertisement makes it complex and sophisticated to study. Advertisement attempt to brainwash customers are designed to further the following goals: Media promotions shape cultural values and opinion of people in the society towards different lifestyle, good and services (Kotler 1980). On the other hand individual’s propensity to purchase is immensely influenced by advertising. Towards this customers make purchasing decisions which are informed by advertisement. This very detrimental to the society given the fact those advertisers have an agenda to meet. Globally media advertisements have had an admirable existence on the basis of historical background (Altheide 1984). The emergence of newspapers, radio, television and the internet has been attributed to be the guardians of world liberty and democratic values (Kotler 1989).
Media advertising is a powerful brainwashing tool for customers (Kotler 1973). This is seen in the relationship between children and their parents. Most advertising has managed to influence the buying trend of parents by linking love and guilt with the purchase of products. For instance, when a child is angry with a parent, a gift from the parent can make them happy again. Towards this, the high media advertisement trend has generated a culture that children have turned to be status conscious and they know brand-name items which are in the market. This is influenced much by what they see and hear from the advertisements. On the other hand, kids and their parent want other kids to like them and appearance is quite important.
Media advertisements play with the emotions of customers and persuade them to believe that buying and depleting are normal activities of life. Advertising posters in which sexuality is depicted much more than the actual theme of a movie, has generated a perception that they a good and satisfying. Materialism is also too much glorified in advertising and the customers are ignorant of social or world issues but rather obsessed to satisfy their newly created needs as influenced by media advertisements. People strive to earn more and more income in order to purchase products, being advertised as they can offer the happiness in human life. Customers are starving for material goals, because they are influenced to believe that owning more of a given product is good. In this regard, good and services which are heavily advertised are normally expensive but advertisers have managed not only convince the customer that their prices are reasonable but also make them believe that they are of high quality and cannot live without them.
Commercials adverts and other media content are generated to make customers think they are in great need of the product being advertised (Perloff 2010). Advertisement as a means of communication, it does not give information alone but rather attempt to convince customers to purchase all sorts of things and services belonging to a given brand. The main aim is to persuade all potential clients to choose certain products and service. Media contenetrs such as adverts, songs and films generally have effect of giving customers a feeling of identity and sense of belonging (Fiske 1987). Towards this, commercials and adverts employ several psychological elements and tactics which go along way in brainwashing the public and customer to be loyal or discredit a given product.
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Media industry has an unprecedented freedom which critical to creativity. Artistic freedom has enabled artists to express their thoughts and ideas in a more open way. In this regard, artists are able to communicate a given message to the people. This artistic freedom has led to innovations which have revolutionized the world in a great deal. However, the need to make money has led to media and artistic innovation which are monetary oriented at the expense of cultural norms and values. It is prudent to note that money a great driving factor in the media and how it influence the society. The current trend in the media industry is so much inclined to the economic aspect than the social aspect of artistic work.
Recently the increase need for subliminal advertising and media content are influenced by the by the idea that customers conscious mind judges and the subconscious stores memory (Bryan 1992). Indeed artists and advertisers apply celebrity images, messages with sexual connotation, compelling song just name a few in their quest to lure customers to believe that by consuming a given product or service he or she is likely to attain a given lifestyle prescribe in the advertisement. It is prudent to note that this is a wider scheme to lure the customers to purchase in large quantity a given or constantly use a given service. This will not only enhance the advertisers’ profits but also raise their product competitive level in the market. Media industry has significantly changed to embrace materialism and high consumption concepts (Gurevitch, Tony, James, & Janet1982).
Cultural Hegemonic Feature of Media
Media and advertisements lead to cultural hegemony in the economic determination and moral leadership, which results in domination and what is seen as a consensual management of life choices. Media has a basic obligation in shaping the opinions of people in the society through education (Patterson, Phillip and Lee 2008). Consequently, the impact of the advertisements should be analyzed within the context of the theory of hegemony given the powers it yields. Firms and company interaction between different social classes are controlled by the media and advertisements. In addition, the information consumed by the customers make them potentially vulnerable to advertisers demand and aspiration. In culture hegemony theory, media exist as a strong vehicle for consumerism (Key 1992). Therefore, it is meant to lure and control the current purchase-dominated way. In a scenario where people refuse to consume the information given by the media, then they may be rendered outcasts the consuming members of the society. This is a great sense of advertising as a brainwashing element to customers and the people in the society.
Part II: The Features of the Print Media
There are features of the media houses that print textual information as cultural firms in the media industry in the wake of capitalistic economy. The distinct features can be categorised into four main groups: a risky business environment, creativity versus commerce, high cost of productions against lower reproduction costs, and need to produce scarce semi-public goods.
Any investor hoping to roll out products into the market ought to be prepared to take business risks. According to Hesmondhalgh (2006), the media industry is more risky than any other forms of business because the cultural industries connotation that is attached to the industry “because they are centred on the production of texts to be bought and sold,” (p. 18). The culmination of cultural risks in the media industry arises from that fact that the readers or audiences have their own cultural preferences. Cultural preferences are volatile and cannot be predicted as their audiences would want to be unique. In this regard, the audiences are the drivers of cultural risk and as such, dictate the fashion trends, styles, and to some extend influence who become market leaders. In the text media, it is highly likely that even the well marketed firms that enjoy considerable market share could be outmoded as new entrants become the new trend setters. The volatility of the text media emanates from the myriad ways via which the audiences could use texts that are further worsened by two production factors. The first production factor is the limited independence symbol granted by the audiences that the production firms will respond to their needs in a distinctive and professional way. In this regard, “cultural companies are engaged in a constant process of struggle to control what symbol creators are likely to come up with,” (Hesmondhalgh 2006, p. 19). Secondly, any firm in a culturally volatile market does rely on the other firms in the same market environment in a bid to make alert the readers that they is a new product or an experience in using their items. It would be impossible to predict the future trends of how media analysts would gauge and evaluate textual usage even if a firm A is a subsidiary of another firm B.
The aforementioned factors imply that the text media is a unique industry with special impediments are demonstrated by relevant statistical data. According to Wolf (1999), there was the release of 30,000 albums in the United States but a paltry 2% of them could sell more than 50,000 copies (cited in Hesmondhalgh 2006, p. 19). Moreover, in the United Kingdom, Driver and Gillespie (1993) reported that only 33% of the half of UK magazines firms could break even and that only 25% of the firms made profit (cited in Hesmondhalgh 2006, p. 19).
These are an indication that regardless of the highly volatile competition in the media, profit making is still the norm amidst the level of risks encountered by many firms. This does not however, translate into individual firms.
Creativity versus Commerce
Symbol creators have been perceived to work in independent autonomous situations for firms in the cultural industries as they are given the relative autonomy by the individual firms. This may not always be the case as the real situation multifaceted. According to Hesmondhalgh (2006) “Such autonomy is also a product of historical understanding of the nature of symbolic creativity and, in particular, the view that art is not compatible with pursuit of commerce,” (p. 20). The Western culture set up the notion that art is a specialty and a representation of an individual expression. This ideal pits creativity against commerce in a way that romance and modernistic thoughts would never match.
It is important to pay creators handsomely because they come up with funny, thought-provoking, entertaining pieces resulting from the commercial system. The tension arising from the opposing ends of romantic conception against art as a commercial venture raises critical information on the potential relationships between creativity and commerce. Creativity and commerce pair is hoping to come up with conditional autonomy, which could be significant for symbol makers. Furthermore, the pairing is critical in explaining the existence of the difficult environment under which businesses in the culturally volatile conditions is uncertain. Hesmondhalgh (2006) posits that “There are tensions between the goal of making knowledge publicly available and gaining financial advantage from that knowledge,” (p. 20). It is however difficult to comprehend the idea of cultural production without prior knowledge of the interrelation between creativity and commerce.
High Cost of Productions and Low Cost of Reproduction
The production of an album could be very costly given that in undergoes recording, video production, mixing, before finally undergoing edition. The initial copy would be very expensive to produce but the subsequent copies are cheap to produce. Such a production has high fixed and low variable costs in terms of production and reproduction. On the other hand, to produce a nail in an industrial firm would be cheap but the subsequent bulk production would be costly. Comparing the two markets, it can be seen that the media industry in quite different from manufacturing industry. In the cultural industries, the firms experience high ratio of fixed costs to variable costs and this explains why massive hits fetch good returns. “This is because, beyond the breakeven point, the profit made from the sale of every extra unit can be considerable, compensating for the inevitably high number of misses that come about as a result of the volatile and unpredictable nature of demand,” (Hesmondhalgh 2006, p. 21). It is therefore important for the industry players to have a strong fully maximize the audience demand in a culturally sensitive market.
The characteristic nature of cultural commodities mean that they are not easy to be destroyed after production. This in economic perspective implies a public good, in which a single consumer does not influence the consumption patterns of other consumers for a similar goods or services. Take for instance listening of a pop music from iTtunes, does not change the experience of another person listening to the same music. This experience does not compare with that of using consumable goods like riding a bicycle. When one rider gives another ride the bicycle, the second rider will definitely make the bicycle to depreciate in value due to wear and tear. Moreover, to reproduce cultural goods is cheaper than other goods. In essence, Hesmondhalgh (2006) concludes that firms in cultural industries “have to achieve the scarcity that gives value to goods by limiting access to cultural goods and services by artificial means,” (p. 21).
In conclusion, the media is pivotal in the societal development.This is because it is not only a tool of communication but it is also a tool of trade. Media plays a critical role in shaping the society in many forms. It is also noted that the media has grown tremendously to embrace technological concepts which are geared towards commercialization of media contents. In this regard, creativity in the media industry has been motivated by the need to make money and gain fame. In addition, technological advancement has made production less costly hence making media industry to reap economies of scale.
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