Lebron James is too good at basketball

freak…

Michael Jordan is still the best

Censorship on TV

Programming is what attracts audiences to television but advertising is the primary means of revenue generation for most networks and stations.  In a situation when 1) specific broadcast programming is attacked for containing too much “skin and sin” by traditional family values groups, 2) advertisers are inundated with thousands of email, letters and telephone calls to stop buying commercial time by concerned family group followers and 3) some advertisers withdraw, is this a triumph for the television audience, a chilling effect on broadcast TV creativity, or a step towards censorship and bland programming?   Assume each of these perspectives and cite evidence from previous program histories to explicate how these electronic media issues evolved, were resolved and continue to coexist.

 

Mackenzie

Liz

Adrienne

Monica  

I. History/Background

 

A) Concerns started early in broadcasting– government reluctant to censor outright, First Amendment concerns – different audiences have different tastes

  • What tends to happen is self-censorship – occurs to varying degrees depending on the decade, political climate
  • Always tension between family values groups, advertisers and content creators
  • All have to coexist within the framework of television production business model

 

B) Early TV – sponsors basically created the shows, would edit content as they saw fit

  • Form of self-censorship: writers of programs would stop writing controversial material, or material that could be seen as defiling advertiser’s products
    • Thunder on Sycamore St. – change black neighbor to criminal (seen as less controversial)
  • Television code: 1952 – NAB sets internal standards to follow
  • Red Channels/Red Scare: blacklisting becomes common practice within the industry – advertisers don’t want suspected Communists in shows they sponsor, so producers start blacklisting actors 
    • Jean Muir fired from The Aldrich Family  – General Foods backs out until she’s gone
  • Having a chilling effect on content, some members of audience see it as triumph (McCarthy). It is a form of censorship, and lead to blander programming

 

C) 1960s through today – advent of shared sponsorship in late 60s – no one sponsor has as much control anymore, but similar issues of appropriate content persist, technology evolves as ways to mitigate, changing audience due to popularity of cable and importance of demographics continues to change climate

l  Minow’s “vast wasteland” speech attacks TV content as too violent and full of ads – leads to dozens of bland programs – Beverly Hillbillies, Gomer Pyle

l  National Federation for Decency organized fundamentalist churches and others to protest  “unwholesome shows” like ABC’s Soap – politically sensitive, controversial material not welcome on TV – several sponsors pull out

l  Parents Television Council founded in 1995 to protect children from sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. The group advises actions such as letters to sponsors and FCC complaints.

l  V-chip – mandated in all new sets after ’96 – way for parents to be censors for their children rather than government setting standards for what’s appropriate

  TV ratings system – to guide concerned groups about content appropriate for age groups – parents can become censors rather than the network

l  Growth of cable leads to bolder programming and sometimes to stricter measures of decency.

  “Keeping advertisers happy despite scheduling three of the most boundary-crossing shows on TV — “The Shield,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Rescue Me” — has become something of an art for FX. Cabler pulls in robust ad dollars — $271 million in 2006, according to Kagan Research.” (Variety, 2006)

l  Awards shows – 3 second delay now in place, not entirely “live” broadcast for fears of indecent content

 

II. Fact or Fiction?

 

A) Creativity

”The biggest problem with how much sex there is on TV now isn’t whether it’s offensive,” says Norman Lear, one of the people who broke television’s sexual taboos in the 1970’s to raise social consciousness. ”It’s that most of the sex on TV today just isn’t funny. It’s stupid and boring.”

               IN FACT = the Kaiser-Children Now study concedes that out of 451 depictions of ”sexual behavior” in the family hour, only 15 involved sexual intercourse.

 

ABC’s steamy intro Monday Night Football in November of 2004, featuring a naked Nicollette Sheridan jumping into the arms of Eagles receiver Terrell Owens, drew complaints from viewers and the NFL.

               IN FACT = ABC’s switchboards were not swamped by shocked viewers on Monday night. A spokesman for ABC Sports told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he hadn’t received a single phone call or e-mail in the immediate aftermath of the broadcast.

B) Exaggerating Numbers

There’s another, more insidious game being played as well. The F.C.C. and the family values crusaders alike are cooking their numbers.

 

               The first empirical evidence was provided this month by Jeff Jarvis, a former TV Guide critic turned blogger. He had the ingenious idea of filing a Freedom of Information Act request to see the actual viewer complaints that drove the F.C.C. to threaten Fox and its affiliates with the largest indecency fine to date – $1.2 million for the sins of a now-defunct reality program called “Married by America.” Though the F.C.C. had cited 159 public complaints in its legal case against Fox, the documents obtained by Mr. Jarvis showed that there were actually only 90 complaints, written by 23 individuals. Of those 23, all but 2 were identical repetitions of a form letter posted by the Parents Television Council. In other words, the total of actual, discrete complaints about “Married by America” was 3.

C) Exaggerating “Pull”

Such letter-writing factories as the American Family Association’s OneMillionMoms.com also exaggerate their clout in intimidating advertisers.

 

               They brag, for instance, that the retail chain Lowe’s dropped its commercials on “Desperate Housewives” in response to their protests. But Lowe’s was not an advertiser on the show; the advertiser who actually bought the commercial was Whirlpool, which plugged Lowe’s as a retail outlet for its products under a co-branding arrangement.

               Another advertiser that the family-values mafia takes credit for chasing away, Tyson Foods, had only bought in for one episode of “Desperate Housewives” in the first place. It had long since been replaced by such Fortune 500 advertisers as Ford and McDonald’s, each clamoring to pay three times as much for a 30-second spot ($450,000) as those early advertisers who bought time before the show had its debut and became an instant smash.

 

III. Specific Show Examples

 

l  NBC’s Saturday Night Live – March 1989 – Advertisers pull out after pressure from Christian group

1.      Ralston Purina Co. confirmed that it had dropped plans to run about $$1 million in ads on the program starting in April because it felt one of the shows “crossed over the line of good taste.”

2.      General Mills Inc. said it had canceled an undisclosed number of ads on the show after reviewing the other episode.

l  Fox’s Married…with Children – March 1989 – one woman, Terry Rakolta, from Michigan writes numerous letters to have show pulled.

1.      Several advertisers, including Procter & Gamble Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Coca-Cola USA, cancelled or curbed their advertisements on the show.

l  ABC’s thirtysomething – In November 1989, when ABC’s “thirtysomething” broadcast an episode showing two gay men in bed talking, advertiser defections cost the network $1 million. Fearing additional financial loss, the network did not repeat the installment during summer reruns.

l  NYPD Blue – September 1993 – show’s premiere episode was not aired in 50 markets due to conservative groups targeting it for its language, violence and nudity. At ABC’s request, Steven Bochco trimmed 15 seconds from a love scene. Parents’ groups – declared the show indecent by community standards.

 

l  ABC’s Roseanne – episode where she kisses a woman in a gay bar (aired on March 1, 1994)

1.      “We have some advertisers who won’t go near it, but plenty who will say there is a price that it is worth,” said Grey Advertising senior VP Jon Mandel.

2.      Rev. Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Assn., which has waged an ongoing campaign against “NYPD Blue,” said, “Lesbians kissing will cost them in ad revenue.”

3.      The show ran with an advisory. (In response to the network’s plan to include an advisory, “Roseanne” exec producer Tom Arnold said in a statement that the show will be delivered to the network as shot. “No editing will be done,” Arnold said.)

 

l  CBS’s The Ellen Show – Ellen’s “coming out episode” April 30, 1997 – three major sponsors pull ads. Only one affiliate in Birmingham, AL decided not to air the episode at all.

1.      Wendy’s – spokesperson Denny Lench says: “The story content no longer fits our advertising guidelines, which are primarily to avoid controversial subjects,” Lynch says. “Story lines that could be controversial or cutting-edge, we would definitely avoid.”

2.      J.C. Penney

3.      Chrysler

4.      Companies that ignored the pressure from some conservative groups not to advertise included Warner Brothers and Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, consumer product companies like Bayer and Warner-Lambert, and apparel retailers like the Gap and the Burlington Coat Factory.

 

l  CBS’s Family Law – August 13, 2001 – episode thought to have been pulled because of gun violence.

2.      Writers Guild of America president John Wells said the decision to pull episodes from the “Family Law” rerun schedule “because one advertiser [Procter & Gamble] objected to the content (was) a serious threat to the creative rights of all artists in our industry.”

3.      CBS subsequently issued a statement denying that the programming decision was forced by the sponsor, Procter & Gamble.

“If you only plan to repeat a few episodes of a series,” said the network, “it is common business sense to rebroadcast the episodes that have the most sales potential. CBS does not program its network based on directives from advertisers, and in fact neither Procter & Gamble nor its agency asked for or suggested these changes.”

Eventually CBS gave Wells what he wanted. It issued a statement in response to Wells: “We are as mindful of the rights of artists as is the Writers Guild. The episode of ‘Family Law’ in question will air on Monday, September 10.”

l  Janet Jackson’s 2004 “wardrobe malfunction” on the Super Bowl Halftime Show: “That exposed nipple shield emboldened the parents groups and religious orgs to ramp up the pressure, galvanizing the FCC to start cracking down on TV shows denounced by self-styled guardians of moral decency.” (Variety)

1.      The incident from Super Bowl XXXVIII led to severe fines. FCC fines levied on CBS: $550,000, Cost to NFL (in sponsor refunds): $10 million
more than 500,000 American complaints

l  Survivor: Cook Island – August 2006 – GM was the show’s top advertiser for 12 seasons but it severed ties with the reality show, claiming the show no longer fit into GM’s business objectives. (This was the season that the contestants were separated by race.)

1.      The show quickly merged tribes into multicultural groups early in the season, but lost out on the potential $12.8 million GM would’ve spent on advertising, as well as Home Depot, Campbell Soup and Coca-Cola North America.

l  Showtime’s Californication – September 2007

1.      Religious groups called for a boycott of the program by sponsors as it depicts explicit sex scenes, language, drug use and lewd behavior by its star David Duchovny.

l  BET’s Hot Ghetto Mess – July 2007 – critics claim the show puts black stereotypes on display.

1.      State Farm Insurance Cos. and Home Depot asked BET to drop their ads from the series debuting July 25.

 

III. Today – and beyond

 

               Screening of episodes for ad executives to calm jitters.

o   For instance, CBS screened the first episode of Kid Nation for advertising executives after growing concern about its content.

               NBC’s recent promise – returning the 8pm-9pm slot to “family hour” starting in fall of 2008. Will other networks follow suit?

               The bottom line is that if a show is hot—in ratings, critical acclaim and stars—then it can get away with more.

               Issues over sponsor’s concerns, content creators’ concerns and special interest/traditional family groups still persist and will continue to persist.

 

 

Further Reading/Article Examples:

 

1) Type in ‘Advocacy Groups and Television Advertisers’ into Search Bar in the proQuest search:

 

Advocacy Groups and Television Advertisers

Hill, Ronald Paul; Beaver, Andrea L.

Journal of Advertising; 1991; 20, 1; ABI/INFORM Global

pg. 18

 

2) Type in ‘Terry Rakolta’ into Search Bar in proQuest and numerous articles regarding “Married… With Children,” “Temptation Island,” etc., will come up—all containing information on what happened and the situation of “sexy and sin” on TV.

 

3)http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE3D61F3AF933A05755C0A96F958260

TV NOTES; ‘Family Guy’ Loses Sponsors

 

4) http://www.mediacoalition.org/reports/wildmon.html

The Rev. Donald E. Wildmon’s Crusade for Censorship, 1977-1992


By Christopher M. Finan and Anne F. Castro

 

5) Complaints over America’s Next Top Model: http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/publications/release/2008/0408.asp

 

6) Parents’ Television Council’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign: http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/advertisers/campaign.asp

 

7) Advertisers pull from BET series: http://www.backstage.com/bso/news_reviews/multimedia/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003609482

 

8) Advertisers pull out of Californication: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10475815

 

9) Ellen comes out on show: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE3DD1031F933A05757C0A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

 

10) MSNBC pulls Imus in the Morning: http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/04/11/imus.rutgers/index.html

 

11) Controversial content boosts ratings on ABC: http://media.www.dailytrojan.com/media/storage/paper679/news/2004/10/26/Opinions/Controversial.Content.Helping.To.Boost.Abc.Ratings-780724.shtml

 

12) PBS concerned over profanity used in Ken Burns’ War: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/08/26/MNCARP3OJ.DTL

 

 

 

 

Cable TV vs Telephone Companies

The questions

5. In the coming years Cable TV will face very real competition from the telephone companies for customers. Give the competitive advantages of each industry and the efforts both have made in Congress and at the FCC to deal with perceived inequities in the competitive landscape.

Comprehensive Examination Question #5
Andrea P. Fuller

I. Cable Industry

A. Competitive Advantages

1. Due to the competition from satellite companies and more recent the telephone companies (mainly AT&T and Verizon Communications), cable companies (Comcast and Time Warner Cable-the two dominant companies) have to increase their services offered to their customers.
a. According to statistics, 90% of US cable systems currently offer HD video services as of January 2008 (Anonymous, In-Stat: Increased Competition Pushes US Cable Operators to Continue Investing, Business Wire, Jan 2, 2008)

2. Cable companies have limited competitive advantages due to their competing companies offering the same services. As a result, many cable companies are exploring offering improved services to keep customers.
a. Conversion of analog to digital (If customers have cable, on analog television, they don’t have to worry about the conversion from analog to digital on February 2009).
b. Increasing spectrum that increases the capacity of the networks
c. Capacity sharing through switched digital video
d. Node splitting, which improves
e. MPEG-4 provides capacity sharing (Anonymous, US Cable-New Strategies for a Competitive World, Business Wire, April 10, 2008)

3. Cable companies are now offering bundles to customers which includes cable, internet, and land-line phones

4. Cable is targeting small and medium business in offering commercial phone services (voice and data services)
a. Comcast is investing $3 billion over the next five years
b. Time Warner Cable is investing $6-7.5 billion for commercial phone

5. Time Warner plans to cut prices of telephone services 10-15% (Jon Hemingway, New Front in Cable-Teleco War: B2B, Broadcasting and Cable, October 1, 2007)

B. FCC/Congress vs. Cable Companies.

1. 70/70 rule
a. Under the Communications Act of 1984-which gives the FCC power to regulate cable companies when they feel they are too big.
b. FCC must use the 70/70 Test: cable must pass through 70% of households, and 70% of those households must be subscribed to a cable services.
c. State Representatives including Marsh Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) a bill to challenge the 70/70 Test.
a. Bill call for stripping FCC powers to reregulate the cable industry
b. Bill getting support from NCTA, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition ad America for Tax Reform (John Eggerton, Blackburn’s 70/70 Bill a Reality, Broadcasting and Cable, December 6, 2007).

2. November 2007: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin introduced a 30% percent cap on cable companies prevent large companies such as Comcast and Time Warner from growing or making acquisitions after its conclusion that cable
a. States that no company can own no more than 30% in a market
b. FCC goal of rule is to promote “diversity of information sources”
c. Cap opens cable market to independent programmers and telephone companies (Stephen Labaton, FCC Planning Rules to Open Cable Market, New York Times, November 10, 2007)
d. In 2001, the FCC tried to establish a cap for cable companies, but it was struck down by the US Court of Appeal on First Amendment grounds. (John Eggerton, FCC Releases 30% Cable-Subscriber Cap Order, Broadcasting and Cable, February 11, 2008).
e. In March 2008, Comcast sued the FCC over the 30% cap
i. Company is at 27% of 30% cap
ii. Claims that the FCC has no evidence for a horizontal cap especially with numerous competitions among other cable companies, independent programmers, phone and satellite companies.
iii. Comcast also accuses the FCC of playing favorites with telephone companies (John Eggerton, Comcast Sues FCC over 30% Cap, Broadcasting and Cable, March 13, 2008).

3. FCC End Cable Deals for Apartments
a. October 2008: FCC ban cable deals/contracts giving cable companies the right to provide services to apartments
b. AT&T and Verizon benefit the most after lobbying for the new rules.
c. Can lower cable prices
a. Keven Martin, chair of FCC: cable prices risen 93% within the last decade.
b. New competition = lower prices (Stephen Labaton, FCC Set to End Sole Cable Deals for Apartments, The New York Times, October 29, 2007).

4. States creating laws creating franchises for telephone companies
a. Cable companies filing lawsuits claiming that cable will lose revenue, damage of reputation, and unfair competition (John Eggerton, Telecos Celebrate Franchise Wins, Broadcasting and Cable, September 29, 2006).

II. Telephone Companies

A. Competitive Advantages
1. 2006: FCC passed a reform video franchised legislative reform that made it easier for telephone companies to get into video through national franchising (John Eggerton, House Passes Video Franchise Reform, Broadcasting and Cable, June 8, 2006).

2. AT&T and Verizon offer new technology that has advantage over cable
a. Both companies have IPTV services
a. Unlimited number of channels
b. 2-way interactive services (Anonymous, US Cable-New Strategies for a Competitive World, Business Wire, April 10, 2008)
c. AT&T offers U-Verse in limited areas
i. Features includes 300+ channels, high-speed internet, phone services, DVR specialties, streaming live video from cell phone to tv, and games
ii. Criticism: U-Verse only targets affluent and avoid minority, low-income (Rick Barrett, AT&T U-Verse access debated: City’s low-income areas often lack cable alternative, McClatchy-Tribune Business News, December 11, 2007).
d. Verizon offers FiOS TV

3. Incentives
a. Verizon conducts Retention-Marketing
a. Provide incentives for their current customers for not switching to another cable company.
i. FCC refuse to intervene after cable companies pressured them to stop stating Verizon is violating law (John Eggerton, FCC Won’t Stop Verizon Communications’ Retention-Marketing Effort, Broadcasting and Cable, April 1, 2008 )
ii. Also offer incentives for new customers
1. Offered 19-inch HD TVs, camcorders and camcorders in December 2007
a. Cable companies only relied, promotional prices and good services (Toni Whitt, Cable war could be proving ground; Analysts watch Verizon’s use of incentives in effort to entice local consumers, Sarasota Herald Tribune, December 20, 2007)
b. Offering bundles (phone, cable, internet)

4. States are recognizing phone companies as video providers, and granting them licenses to compete with cable companies

B. FCC/Congress vs. Telephone Companies
1. One problem that telephone companies may endure is still being recognized by states as video service providers such as in November 2007 it was reported that AT&T spent $11.2 million lobbying for a franchise bill in TN.
a. Most money spent on public persuasion, and advertising between October 1, 2006 to September 2007.
b. Cable companies are claiming AT&T is trying to get an unfair advantage and cable will continue to fight (Andy Sher, AT&T, cable fight nears $11 million, McClatchy-Tribune Business News, November 20, 2008).

2. FCC bans phone deals for apartments
a. Unfair competitive advantage
b. Hurts consumers
a. Prevents residents from purchasing bundled services

Children, Obesity, and the Media

Questions

#7

I.                   Obesity

a.       What contributes to childhood obesity

                                                              i.      Media influence on eating habits

1.      Product Placement

2.      Commercials (Preoperational Stage- not being able to tell the difference between a commercial and the program; don’t understand the advertiser’s intent)

3.      Endorsements (e.g. Spongebob cereal)

                                                            ii.      Eating between meals, convenience meals

                                                          iii.      Sedentary lifestyle (being lazy)

                                                          iv.      Genetics

                                                            v.      Parenting methods

II.                Findings Based On Existing Legislation

a.       Bumpers- “After these messages…”

b.      Limits on commercial times- 10.5 min/hr (wknd) and 12 min/hr (wkdy)

c.       A character from a program cannot advertise their product (e.g. Spongebob cereal) during their program(i.e. in-program host selling).

d.      Cannot advertise websites if they encourage children to buy products.

III.             Solutions to Parents

a.       After educating yourself, educate children about healthy foods.

b.      Practice healthy eating habits as a family at a dining table, and buy healthy foods

c.       Set time limits on television viewing.

d.      Discourage eating while watching television.

e.       Encourage physical activities.

IV.             Assurances to Policymakers

a.       Keeping advertisers in mind, regulate “junk food” advertising on children’s television; regulations based on time of day- less in the afternoon when pre-school aged children are home.

b.      Balance out good/bad food advertisements. Have more outside activity advertisements.

c.       We can’t actually regulate the amount of television a person watches – that’s up to the parents to do

V.                Violence

a.       Definitions

                                                              i.      Cartoon- unrealistic- no consequences

                                                            ii.      Realistic- real consequences

b. Cartoon violence has less consequences so it’s more effective

VI.             Causes of Aggressive Behavior

a.       Media violence (all inclusive- video games, television, comics, etc.)

b.      Genetics

c.       Parental guidance/upbringing

d.      Education

e.       Socioeconomic status

f.       Religion

VII.          Regulations

a.       There are currently no regulations that focus specifically on violence.

b.      The V-Chip and the ratings systems (e.g. Y7, MA) collectively include violence in something they monitor; however, it is a bi-product of monitoring sex on television.

VIII.       Parental Solutions

a.       Educate children about violence and its effects

b.      Regulate viewing of violence w/o relying solely on the V-Chip and ratings system.

c.       Discourage violence in the home and elsewhere.

IX.             Assuring Policymakers

a.       V-Chip in all televisions (it was not implemented in televisions that were smaller than 13in)

b.      Internet television must be regulated

c.       Air PSA’s for non-violence by cartoon characters to increase effectiveness

d.      Television on other platforms should include ratings

e.       Have the FCC request the production companies of every television show submit a list of what types of violence is typical on their shows.

                                                              i.      The lists will go on a website that is regularly updated.

                                                            ii.      PSA’s and listings on “parental discretion advised” screens will promote the list and its website, informing parents of its existence

X.                Sound Bite for the next news cycle:

“With the joint efforts of our nation’s parents, advertisers, broadcasters, and cable companies, we will increase awareness of obesity and aggression caused by television through education and cooperative regulation.”

 

 

-Contributed by Brian, Kelly, Alex C., and Hakan-

looks like the marshmallow man had kids

looks like the marshmallow man had kids

Tell Me what you think

This is an experiment…

1. Review the theoretical underpinnings of persuasive messages in relation to specific audiences, taking into account at least three of the following constructs: agenda setting, diffusion of innovation, central and peripheral processing, cognitive dissonance, source credibility, reasoned action, two-step flow, selectivity, expectancy-value and fear appeals.  As a writer/producer, which basic model would you use in developing political advertising for your candidate targeted at the general public.  Justify your selection.

 

2. The media landscape has certainly changed in the last few years. A dramatic example of this is the way non-fiction films are distributed.  Ten years ago there were only a few places where independent producers might sell their documentaries. Today there are many more outlets.  What are these new opportunities? Describe at least three case studies of non-fiction films that have profited from these new avenues of distribution.

 

3. Programming is what attracts audiences to television but advertising is the primary means of revenue generation for most networks and stations.  In a situation when 1) specific broadcast programming is attacked for containing too much “skin and sin” by traditional family values groups, 2) advertisers are inundated with thousands of email, letters and telephone calls to stop buying commercial time by concerned family group followers and 3) some advertisers withdraw, is this a triumph for the television audience, a chilling effect on broadcast TV creativity, or a step towards censorship and bland programming?   Assume each of these perspectives and cite evidence from previous program histories to explicate how these electronic media issues evolved, were resolved and continue to coexist.

 

4. In November 2007, the Writers Guild of America went on strike after its members and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to negotiate a deal.  What are (were) the issues at stake in this conflict?  Trace the history of this conflict between these two groups and the consequent effects on television viewing audiences and new programming development.  How will this strike inform the future of new media and old media, and how will it affect you as someone who will be working in the industry as a) a writer, and b) a studio or network executive?

 

5.  In the coming years Cable TV will face very real competition from the telephone companies for customers. Give the competitive advantages of each industry and the efforts both have made in Congress and at the FCC to deal with perceived inequities in the competitive landscape.

 

6. The utilization of new and different media platforms — web streaming, mobiphones and the like — to deliver television programming has given rise to “anytime, anywhere, media measurement.” This system purports to track in-home and out-of-home viewing, Internet and phone TV usage, as well as traditional television viewing.  In addition, commercial ratings or audience viewership levels during the commercial breaks are now available to advertisers.

A)    What improvements does this system of audience measurement represent over the traditional ratings system?  

B)    How would producers, programmers and advertisers benefit from the new audience measurements?

C)    What are some of the concerns critics have raised and how can these be addressed?

 

7.  “American TV is dangerous to our children’s health.”   Scientific studies have shown that children who spend the most time with television are also those who are more likely to be overweight.  Children who watch television violence are more likely to behave in harmful ways towards others and become less empathetic.  You are testifying on behalf of television writers and producers before a congressional subcommittee intent on refining policy to protect the health of our nation’s children.  How would you address these findings in the face of existing legislation and offer solutions to parents, assurances to policy makers as well as a sound bite for the next news cycle?

 


8.  Screenwriter William Goldman, a two-time Academy Award winner, has long preached that “screenplays are structure.” What is he talking about? 

A) If he’s referring to a particular story-telling model, describe that in detail.

B) If there are multiple models, what are the most influential ones and how do they differ?

C) And how has story structure evolved through the centuries?

Use examples from the 2008 Oscar nominees to illustrate your points.

 

9.  Think about this: Today you can watch movies on your video iPod.  You can also watch TV on your cell phone.  Through global marketing you can catch the release of the latest big studio film in Shanghai, China the same day as in Syracuse, New York (probably a few days earlier).  The social media network, Facebook on which you used to post pictures for your friends is now valued at $15 billion. 

 

During your year at Newhouse, the media environment will continue to change dramatically. These changes may come from some new technology or an economic or policy shift. For example, if you’re reading the papers and the trades, you know that ABC News and Facebook have teamed up to develop a new tool to facilitate political debate coverage and interactivity on the social networking site;  the major TV networks continue to offer streaming video of their programs, and advertisers are using “skins,” “overlays” or “bugs” to promote their products and services online.

 

If you’re bright, flexible and entrepreneurial, you’ll find ways to make your career in any number of these future transformations. Even better, you should be smart enough to anticipate and take advantage of such changes before they (or you) are history. This is your chance to begin the birth of a future transformation that will bear your name.

 

Write a proposal for your new concept. What is it? What makes it unique? How does it take advantage of existing or new technologies, economies and/or policies? Specify what research you will do to determine if there is an audience and market. What legal and regulatory issues will you have to be aware of? Who are the people or institutions you need to convince this is the greatest thing since the iPod? Who are the people or institutions you don’t want to know about your idea until it’s a reality and why? Describe how this concept will ripple through the media environment or how it might have an impact on only a specialized niche.

 

An important part of your answer will be a personal inventory assessment: what talents, skills, knowledge, etc. that you possess make it possible for you to actuate this concept? Be realistic; if you’re not Steve Wozniak, recognize that and plan to hire him as a consultant. But if your idea is “television for housebound cats”, be-up front about your special understanding of the feline spirit.

 

10. In the book “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman, referring to a program called “Higglytown Heroes” being produced for the Disney Channel by Wild Brain, an animation studio in San Francisco, Wild Brain CEO Scott Hyten remarked about how the all-American show was being produced by an all-world supply chain —  The recording session is located near the artist, usually in New York or L.A., the design and direction is done in San Francisco, the writers network in from their homes (Florida, London, New York, Chicago, L.A., and San Francisco), and the animation of the characters is done in Bangalore 

(India).  These interactive recording/writing/animation sessions allow us to record an artist for an entire show in less than half a day, including unlimited takes and rewrites.

            Given the increasing trend in production toward on-line collaboration using work flow software, discuss the impact of such a trend on established television production methods and financing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The answers will come after a time.

-Alex

70’s show analysis

That Seventies show                           

 

The episode of That Seventies Show “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” is a good work of art as a whole because it has substance and deeper meaning but lacks the humor that would normally be associated with the characters.  Even when evaluating this one episode, there must be some context particularly because the episode is uncharacteristic of the series.  The production does succeed in showing deeper ultimate values within a comedic framework. 

The show begins in a basketball court where six friends gather to play horse talk about girl problems.  One scene later we have the main conflicts of the episode looming.  An ill tempered grandmother is going to spend the day with the family after church while the grandson agrees to spend time with the old lady so as to deflect the unpleasantness aimed at his mother. 

The scenes move upstairs to downstairs, from the family adult world to the basement where the kids hang out and goof off.  The camera angles are standard sitcom for the most part, a range of medium shots centering on the person speaking or being spoken to.  There are times where the characters are sitting in a circle and the camera rotates around from the point of view of the food.  This is a visually stimulating way to get a quick jump from person to person without cuts.  The best material value comes from the dialogue and the acting who are at the same time very normal and very funny.

One of the most creative techniques for telling the story is when we hear the inner monologue of the characters.  Moving from one person to the next while they are sitting in church and hearing their prayers tells us a lot more than any conversation could.  The mother wishes the grandmother would go away, the grandmother asks god “whats with all the polacks”, the son asks god to do his homework and the father’s prayer to god is “would it kill you to let the packers have a winning season”.  To maintain the feel of the seventies or at least remind the viewer that it is not a contemporary show, the transitions from scene to scene are a background of hippie graphics, old music and the characters jumping around on screen.

At the end of the episode, the son is doing his term paper at one in the morning because grandma occupied him the whole day and his mother comes down to sneak a cigarette. We see the moral of the episode in this short conversation where the tension created by the family visit is finally over; the mother and son are content to be with each other and appreciate the unpleasant sacrifices each of them has made.

 

 

Medium shots

Close shots from middle of the table

Leave one by one while the camera rotates

A poem inspired by the Wire

A Witness

 

A witness

Is an idiot

For helping the cop

Not very bright

 

Darwin’s nightmare

Adapt or die

Keep quiet or die

Law conflicts with evolution

 

Can’t see the forest but for the trees

We are the forest

Structure is a tree

Nature still applies