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University of Wisconsin - Madison
Communication Arts 351
Midterm Review - from notes
Midterm Review - from notes
Communication Arts 351
University of Wisconsin - Madison
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CBS is an example of...
A network distributor
Warner Bros. is an example of...
the production company
What is broadcasting?
one-to-many communication technology
over-the-air transmission of pictures and sound
TV broadcasting emerges from what?
public interest, convenience, and necessity
local broadcasters must meet these standards as "stewards" of the air
emerged from Radio Acts of 1927
local stations sell ad spots during programs they produce themselves or acquire elsewhere
The Audience Commodity
Viewers are key participants in commercial broadcasters. We get broadcast TV in exchange for providing broadcasters with attention that they can sell to advertisers
Percentage of household with TV sets that watched a particular show.
9,000/90,000 = .10 which means a "10.0" rating
percentage of households that were actually using the TV that watched
9,000/45,000 = .20 expressed as "20" share
Good ratings used to be 20/30 and are now 10/12
a sample of viewer attention. 0.1% of American public is accounted for.
Relies on diary method.
Most interested in measuring viewers for which there is a market.
Rate audiences because:
It is the basis of exchange between advertisers and broadcasters. Ratings shape/organize all decisions made within commercial television economy.
How do broadcasters get programming?
-produce at local level
-purchase programming from syndication
-can affiliate with nation network (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, CW)
programs produced for sale directly to local station to air for the first time
examples: Rachel Ray, Entertainment Tonight, Wheel of Fortune
packages of reruns sold directly to local broadcasters
ex. FRIENDS, Family Guy, That 70's Show
not ownership, but contractual, limited-term partnership
Affiliate stations provide networks with:
-clearance - access to local airwaves so that the networks can sell that ad space to national advertisers
-sometimes, a fee to be a part of the network
Networks give local affiliates:
-programming (primetime and some day with national ads attached)
-space to sell local ads in that program
-often, a % of revenue from national ads to pay for clearance
-a brand identity (the "halo effect")
What do networks do as distributors?
deliver programming to affiliates, selling ad space, ordering & licensing programs from producers, scheduling, promotion, marketing, maximizing nation ratings
Affiliation contracts give networks control over what?
selection and arranging programs to maximum viewership.
Goal of scheduling:
to control both audience composition and "flow"
-maximize audiences that advertisers want
-create connections between television segments to continue the audience's interest
Basic principles of scheduling:
-least objectionable content maximizes the audience
-daytime shows only appeal to audiences with different TV availability
-appointment TV attracts viewers and offers lead in/out to support other programs
-keep the viewer from changing the channel
Blocking the programming in order to keep the viewer's attention
ex. back to back comedies
Using an opposing genre of show than the competing network
ex. action against drama
Using an established series right before a brand new one
Placing a weak show in between better ones
Having a show time run over a couple minutes to discourage viewers from switching to competition
ex. The Office might right 3 minutes past 9:00, so you have already missed the first 3 minutes of the Real World
EM spectrum can only support handful of stations, therefore:
only 5 networks control airwaves by affiliating with most available stations, meaning producers only have 5 potential primetime buyers
access to national TV market, broadcasting in local TV markets, what TV gets made (distribution, exhibition, production)
Producing for syndication
alternative to network distribution because producers sell programs directly to local broadcasters for cash or ad "barter"
2nd-run syndication dominates 1st-run because:
familiarity promises buyers pre-tested success
TV development process:
1. producers must satisfy network executive who may say no at any point
2. producers make pitches to network programmers
3. interested executives will provide seed money for a pilot (small amount)
4. however, networks make no commitment to pick-up
Getting TV passed:
1. pilots compete for network attention
2. if ordered into series, producer will receive a license fee per episode
3. networks order 9-13 episodes at a time and can cancel at any time
The Cosby Show was able to be produced by an independent production company because:
The Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (1971) barred networks from sharing in syndication profits and limited primetime hours they could produce themselves.
Primetime Access Rule
(1971-1972) Networks had to yield one hour of primetime (6-7 pm) to local programming
After Fin-Syn repeal:
networks can increasingly produce their own programming in house
-lets them go into syndication business for themselves
-independent producers have to compete with network producers
Creating for uncertainty
producers bank on past-successes
balance desires to be different with repetition of the proven and familiar
Genre as a set of conventions:
a set of reused conventions in a specific configuration
Genre as a cultural category:
carried meaning and value
Genre as an industrial utility:
-manages audience expectations and reduces risk
-organizes production operations
-offers scheduling affinites
Shows that basically copy one another
ex. X-Files to "Fringe" credits - almost the same music and picture scheme
One star on the show leaves to start their own show
Using the combination of two successful shows for a brand new show
ex. Girls Next Door + Mad Men = The Playboy Club
TV tells stories organized in narrative ways using characters, events, settings
-protagonist in pursuit of goals
-changes to the status quo
-includes reality tv, news, sports, talk shows, ads, etc.
Classical narrative structure
status quo changes and character's story ends
Episodic narrative structure
status quo returns to normal and the character's story is told again (repetition reduces production cost and creates audience loyalty)
Serial narrative structure
status quo changes and the character's story continues (risks alienating audience)
ex. not just soap operas, but new, sports, reality
New primetime narratives
hybridized episodic and serial narratives
generating differences amid repetition
narrative structure and style become as much a focus of attention as story/character
Basic functions of the FCC:
1. assigning licenses
2. establishing tech standards
3. creating ownership rules
4. policing broadcast content
Standards for FCC regulation:
-no "obscenity" - explicit sexuality
-no "indecency" between 6 AM - 10 PM
Exception to FCC rules:
because it is invited into the home by subscription
when government steps in to regulate
Networks self-regulate because:
-threat of external regulation
-pressure from public groups and advertisers
-risk of affiliated refusing clearance
-needs consistency across the board
What are the risks of producers relying on types of representation?
values, beliefs, and ideas that make up a worldview
dominance of one ideology amid many conflicting ideologies
which worldviews are seen as "common sense"?
us vs. them, normal vs. abnormal
ex. 24 scene where white lady walks into a monastery
Limitations of broadcasting:
Industrial - insufficient channel space, network "bottleneck" limites producers access to airwaves, little room for competition
Cultural - "stewardship" provides no public access to airwaves, representation limited to least objectionable
Promise of cable
cable systems could vastly expand channel space
lack of intrusion means fewer content restrictions
control could be in hands of local community
possibility of 2-way communication
FCC says: communities can only have cable operators who:
-provide 20+ channels + public access, education, and government channels
-carry local broadcast signals
-lease space to non-local program providers (opening the door to national cable networks)
Multiple System Operators (MSOs)
own multiple cable systems
ex. Charter, TimeWarner, Comcast
National cable "networks"
launched by SMO's seeking content
basic cable (% of subscription fees paid to operator)
premium- HBO, Cinemax, Showtime (% of subscription fees paid to operator)
Direct Broadcast Satellite
ex. Dish Network, DirectTV
deliver satellite signals directly to consumers
What widened market reach for independent broadcasters?
key role: sports
What do cable channels rely on?
narrowcasting based on specific:
-demographics (lifetime, spikeTV, BET, Nick) - specific audience members
-psychographics (E!, BBC America, HBO) - shared interests
-genres (Syfy, Cartoon Network, CNN, ESPN)
How did cable help make advertising more effective?
advertisers were able to address the exact audience they wanted
The FOX network is a model of:
branding and "edginess"
counter-programming to underserved/oppositional tastes - niche marketing
ex. In Living Color
Limitations of "midcasting"
-broadcast restrictions hinder competition with cable
-broadcast networks maintain focus on event TV - many advertisers still want big audiences
The post-network era
rise of cable as a "neo-network" era - explosion of new channels (Curtin)
rise of digital culture as a "post-network era" (Lotz)
What is digital TV?
broadcast tv is an analog signal that is too big to be produced through the bandwidth, so signals are then digitized and compressed into numbers (001100101)
more signal quality
more signal quantity
Digital delivery requires:
new transmission/reception technologies
Digital technology's promise
multiplication of channel space
creation of new markets (premium HD, etc.)
Digital signals become compatible across devices, meaning:
convergence of tv+mobile+gaming+computing
expands boundaries of the industry
tech offers new competition
TiVO, DVR, WebTV do what to the business?
threaten old ways of doing business
destabilized economy for advertising and viewer attention
DVD creates publishing market for TV
new revenue stream outside of advertising economy
broadcasters buy programming to attract audiences to sell to advertisers
producers sell programming to audiences via retail
Why pay for what is free?
-special features supplement on-air content
-viewers pay for ability to self-program
-packaging makes TV into aesthetic object for display
alters TV's regime of repetition
-viewer gains control of programming, but encouraged to buy rather than record
-program producers gain new off-network distribution window
suppressing radical potential of new digital technologies
new digital technologies allow peer-to-peer sharing
therefore, industry protects DVDs (not able to go overseas), commercials against the TV "pirate," intervening in competing technologies
YouTube, iTunes video store, BitTorrents (easy to share, hard to trace)
ThemTube - ABC signs video distribution agreement with iTunes
What is the goal from switching the focus on YouTube to ThemTube?
it will enclose streaming in network proprietary spaces
networks will have greater control and hopefully part of a profit
By creating network's own branded streaming channels:
it cuts affiliates out of advertising economy
extending tv brands across media sectors
-average TV series spanned 4.7 platforms in 2006 including DVD and other digital distribution
new spaces and strategies for organizing TV content production
Factor to the writer's strike of 2008:
TV executives refused to pay producers for creating web content under the same terms as those who created TV content
digital technology also promotes greater exchange of people, ideas, money across national boundaries
-bringing new awareness of and participation in other national tv cultures and industries
-uneven flows shaping inequalities
What factors influence the global mobility of TV?
-political (end of cold war)
-economic- trade rules and treaties
-cultural- new migration patterns, movements of people
programming made in one nation and sold to another
ex. UK= The office, Planet Earth, PBS
Japan= Pokemon, Adult Swim anime
all have enough money to produce
production partnership between producers in different national markets
advantages of co-production
-tailored to needs of multiple markets
trading ideas for shows, not premade TV product
-cheaper to buy ideas than products
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