Monthly Archives: May 2017

American Mainstream Media – Player Or Tool?

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Many different types of communication tools, such as the TV, cinema, radio, newspapers and magazines, web sites and the music industry, can be classified as media. An important issue relating American media is the concept of “concentration of media ownership”. This concept implies that the ownership of most of America’s media lay in the hands of a few media conglomerates, who both earn huge sums of money through advertising and sale of copyrighted material, and, at the same time, are considered as important global players, regarding the fact that they influence people’s views about their surrounding world to a large extent.

But on the other hand, some argue that instead of being powerful players, the American media are in fact tools in the hands of the government. In this paper, each theory will be investigated to see which one better describes the role of media in both the American society and also the world.

It is claimed that there is no stronger power in the world than the American public opinion, and this public opinion is itself shaped by the media, so media can be regarded as taking the place of the powerful kings and popes of the past centuries (National Vanguard Books, 2004). There are many different ways through which media carefully shapes people’s opinions. It provides its audience with an image of the world, and then tells them what and how to think about that image. By stereotyping, the media also tell people how to think and judge about others (this others can refer to different races, women…). The media also plays its role by concentrating on certain stories and issues, while omitting others.

Among other communication media, the television is the most influential, regarding the fact that people spend a lot of time watching TV, probably much more than they spend on other media, such as the cinema or newspapers. According to a survey by Mediamark Research, 98% of Americans have a television, while only 79% are newspaper readers. Three examples of how public opinion is shaped by American media are:

– middle east news, and how the Arab-Israeli conflict is portrayed

– the 9/11 events and the wars that followed

– racial issues

The government has always declared the media to be a power that doesn’t always act in the right way. The conservatives have always complained that the US media have been unpatriotic and not supportive of government’s foreign policy, or simply too liberal.

The Media Research Center has carried out a study on the role of media on the war on terror, from such a conservative viewpoint. The report gives examples of why the American media have not reported the war and relating issues in the correct way:

– Peter Jennings of ABC, in a live program 2 days after the 9/11 attacks stated: “the US might no longer be a free country” and he also claimed that civil liberties have been suspended in the country.

– The “US Patriot Act” was reflected in a way by the media that made it look like some form of unconstitutional “snooping into the lives of ordinary Americans”.

– In the case of moving of Al-Qaede prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, media reported that they had been tortured, and should have access to civilian courts.

– When the New York Times revealed that the NSA (National Security Agency) was monitoring phone calls, it made it look like a threat to civil liberties. (Rich Noyes, 2006)

There are other studies that have used the war on terror to conclude that the media in America have been independent players, and not controlled by the government.

Jim Kuypers is a political communication researcher who claims that the mainstream media intentionally reflected the speeches of President Bush in a biased manner. Kuyper claims that “if someone were relying only on the mainstream media for information, they would have no idea what the president actually said. It was as if the press were reporting on a different speech.” He concludes the US media to be an “anti-democratic institution”. (Kuypers, 2006)

Other writers have claimed that the media have concentrated too much on the government’s failures and weaknesses during the war. (Lustick, 2006)

Opposing this “media as power” theory which portrays the US media as an independent power, calls it the “Fourth Estate”, and claims that journalists are more influential than any government official in setting the public (and sometimes foreign) agenda, are the “media as tool” advocates.

Two important points helps understand why the media are referred to as a tool:

– the media is dependent on the government for the information that it can obtain, and that it can call credible

– the media can criticize the government only within certain parameters that are acceptable to the government and its notion of national security

These facts are said to turn the media into a public relations arm of the US government. (Edward, 1993)

Again, the war on terror would be an interesting context in which the role of media can be studied, this time with the “media as tool” viewpoint.

The concept of “embedded journalism” appeared during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and proved to be a good way to keep reporters content and controlled at the same time. The media put pressure on the government to allow them better access to battlegrounds; they were not pleased with the way they were shut down from information in case of Afghanistan, and also the way they were censored in the Gulf War. And pentagon made the best out of all this, as Lt. Col. Rick Long of the U.S. Marine Corps put it: “Frankly, our job is to win the war. Part of that is information warfare. So we are going to attempt to dominate the information environment.” (Kahn, 2004)

In this project, reporters signed contracts with the military which limited what they were allowed to report. Reporters were embedded in selected military units, and so shared their everyday lives with soldiers, and relied on them to get them to the place they wanted, and they usually didn’t have access to any other source other than the military.

A Penn State study reveals that this project did affect the number and the type of stories that were published by major newspapers, and the result was that more articles about the U.S. soldiers’ personal lives and fewer ones about the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians were printed in the 754 news articles that were analyzed in this study. (Linder, 2006)

It can be concluded that the media can enjoy a certain degree of independence, provided that they don’t cross certain red lines, and remain faithful to certain notions that are important to the US government. American media is not just a “power” or a “tool”, but a powerful tool that can be used in a very affective way by the government, if only they can come up with clever ideas and projects, like the “embedded journalism” project. In the “Information Age” (Hess and Kalb, 2003), tactics like hiding the whole story or direct censoring will certainly be ineffective. The US government surely will evaluate its “embedding strategy” and might come up with new and innovative ideas in order to reflect issues and events in its own way, and stay in control of this powerful soft tool.

Bibliography:

1. Edward, Herman, The media’s role in U.S. foreign policy (Power of the Media in the Global System), Journal of International Affairs, June 1993

2. Hess, Stephen and Kalb, Martin, The Media and the War on Terrorism, Brookings Institution Press, 2003

3. Kahn, Jeffery, Postmortem: Iraq war media coverage dazzled but it also obscured, NewsCenter, 18 March 2004

4. Kuypers, Jim, Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. , October 28, 2006

5. Lustick, Ian S., Trapped in the War on Terror. University of Pennsylvania Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006

6. Linder, Andrew, Study on Embedded Journalism, The Pennsylvania State University, 2006

7. Noyes, Rich, MRC research director, The Media vs. The War on Terror: How ABC, CBS, and NBC Attack America’s Terror-Fighting Tactics as Dangerous, Abusive and Illegal, September 11, 2006

8. Research staff of National Vanguard Books, Who Rules America? The Alien Grip Our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken, November 2004

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UK Media Advertising

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ADVERTISING ON UK MEDIA

There are many options for advertising your brand, product or service within the UK advertising marketplace.
Below is a list of the various media options available to you.

Television
Radio
National Press
Local and Regional Press
Magazines
Cinema
Posters

Within each of the above media there are even more options available to you.
However within this article I wanted to take this opportunity to take you through these various traditional media services, and impart my knowledge.
The reason behind this is I am in the process of building a new client portfolio and would like to offer my services to those of you who are interested in promoting your products or services in the Uk, but are not sure of where to start.
Let me also state that I do not intend to make this too technical, and intend only to make available to you the topline information to give you an outline understanding of what can be achieved.

Television

I have written an article on the early days of planning and buying Uk TV advertising which you can read by clicking here.
One of the most important and interesting changes in Uk TV advertising in the past decade, is the launch of Satellite and Digital TV channels in the UK. Which at the end of the day has basically reduced the entry cost level onto TV for many advertisers, it has also created many more viewing and buying options.
The choice and selection of TV channels are now in the region of 200+, but what does this mean?
Basically it means no matter how big or small your budget is, there will be an opportunity to promote your brand or service on TV.
Let me take you through the various options available.

ITV
Can be purchased on a regional basis, and within various regions this can even be broken down into macro regions, making ITV more affordable than you may of envisaged.
Also ITV has a number of national satellite channels ie ITV2,3,4.
Within the ITV1 natoinal and even the satellite channels airtime can be purchased across a number of time bands:

Coffee Time (early morning pre-noon)
Daytime (1200-16.30)
Pre-Peak (16.30-18.00)
Peak (18.00-22.00)
Late off Peak (22.00-)

NB:These time bands are a rough guide for all stations.
So as an example if you have a brand that is targeted against adults 50+, they can be reached by promoting your product or service during pre-noon and 16.30-18.00 (which is a prime time slot for this age group).
Of course dependent on your target market there will be various different time bands and options for reaching your potential customers.

BREAKFAST TV

Is generally between 06.00-09.30 and is operated on a national and macro regional basis by GMTV, also CH4 operate a breakfast service.
Here again dependent on your target market these are ideal for reaching houswives and houswives with kids.
You will note that GMTV carries quite a large number of toy advertisers.

CH4

Similar to ITV though tends to be younger, however is available nationally and by macro regions.
CH4 also operate their own satellite stations +4 etc, which again offer a wide range of opportunities for reaching your target market (or as I say potential customers).

CH5
Available on a national basis.

Satelite/Digital Tv

The options available to you on these stations are huge, so rather than go into too much detail I will be brief. There are channels covering virtually every subject you can think off, from holidays, history, sport etc.
It should be noted though that satellite tv channels can only be purchased on a national basis, though the entry levels will be lower than launching an ITV1 campaign.
I should also make you aware though that ITV1 audience levels will also be higher than the satellite channels.

COMMENTS
It was my intention to keep the above information brief and just to give you a feel of what is available. The skill in understanding this marketplace background is where I come in with over 30 years of background and direct contacts with the media owners.
The research audience data in the UK is highly sophisticated and this can be discussed, should you be interested in advertising on TV,
Before I move on here is a list of the TV comercial sizes that can be purchased:
10′, 20′, 30′, 40′ and 60′ seconds. (the average Uk TV commercial is 30 seconds).

RADIO

‘The theatre of the mind’ as I call it or as known in the industry.
Commercial radio in the Uk can be purchased locally or on a national basis. The flexibility of radio is the benefit of immediate call to action and can be used in any combination with other media or stand alone.
Local radio can be very cheap and a great way to promote any product or service, and add frequency to any campaign.

NATIONAL PRESS
Who said national press was dead, national press still attracts millions of readers day in day out.
The main uk titles are:

Sun and News of the world
Daily/ Sunday Mirror
Daily/ Sunday Mail
Daily/ Sunday Express
Daily/ Sunday Telegraph
Daily/ Sunday Times
Daily/ Independont on Sunday
Daily/ Sunday Star
FT
(there are other titles)

The various titles above reach a wide range of demographics, and can be planned to reach your target market using an array of sizes in colour or black and white. Lets not forget they also carry a wide variety of supplements which cover many topics ie Fashion, Food and Drink, Motoring etc.

LOCAL and REGIONAL PRESS

You will find thousands of these titles throughout the Uk, from free sheets to paid for titles.
They cover virtually every town and city in the UK.
They tend to cover just local news and events, and carry local classified advertising.
A great combination with local radio.
However if you are launching a product or service nationally and using local/regional press, you should compare the cost of a local/regional press campaign with national press. As sometimes you will find the national press option more cost-effective.

MAGAZINES

There are too many glossy magazines to list here, however there are many available within the Uk. Covering every topic and lifestyle you can think of.
From ‘Cosmopolitan’, ‘Homes and Garden’ to ‘Fish friers Gazette’ yes really.
The opportunities for reaching your potential customers (target market) can certainly be achieved with good planning and buying.
Within the glossy titles you can purchase (as an example) 1/4pages, 1/2pages, pages and double page spreads etc.
The key to getting it right is knowing your budget level and creative treatment and finally your target market.
Once this is set it’s just a matter of good planning and negotiating on your behalf.
It should also be noted that many of these titles also carry classified advertising.

CINEMA

Cinema is an excellent media opportunity for exposing your brand or service to the younger end of the market ie 15-25 year olds. Using longer commercials which add great impact.
Cinema can be purchased in many packages from a particular genre to locations throughout the UK.

POSTERS
Or outdoor as we like to call it in the media.
This covers a wide range of media options:
Static posters
Buses
Taxis
Mobile posters
London underground
Railway advertising
Bus stop advertising
Store advertising
Airports
Ferry ports
It varies quite a lot and the opportunities are vast.
The key to any outdoor poster advertising in creative copy. By this I mean if you are placing a static poster wherever it may be, the copy must be short and concise, as your creative message has to be seen and understood quickly and easily, as passers by only have a shorttime frame to take onboard your message.

With locations such as bus stops railway stations and inparticular the underground stations it is possible to impart more copy as your potential viewer has more time to read your advertising copy.

The larger outdoor static sites are an excellent way for promoting your branding proposition.
Wi
th store posters being ideal to reach your potential customers at their point of purchase
Outdoor media opportunities can be found throughout the Uk, from high streets to airports.

COMMENTS

I have tried to give a rough guide to the various media opportunities available to you throughout this blog for promoting your brand, product or services. I will update this article from time to time and hope you have found some of this information useful.

If you are considering advertising within the Uk and need further help you can contact me by e-mail harrymedia@aol.com

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Direct TV Review – Is Direct TV Worth It?

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How long have you been sitting on the fence about satellite TV? Do you have any idea what an awesome TV viewing experience you’re missing out on if you’re still stuck with the limitations of cable? When I decided to go with a satellite TV system, I did it because I wanted a ton of channels. With Direct TV I got exactly that, and much, much more.

(By the way, if after you read this review you want to see what kind of deal you can get on Direct TV service, you have to scroll down to the bottom of this story and check out the sites I list there. These are the only sites I found where you can find the true up-to-the-second deals Direct TV is offering at the moment. More on that later.)

First of all, I’ll tell you upfront that you’ll pay a little more for Direct TV when compared to some of the other satellite TV providers. But that’s comparing apples to oranges, because Direct TV has several benefits that aren’t offered by their competition.

For example, NFL Sunday Ticket is exclusive to Direct TV subscribers and a must-have if you’re into football. Ever heard of interactive mix channels? Probably not. Only Direct TV lets you watch up to 8 live news, sports or kid shows on a single screen, all at the same time.

How would you like to get a sneak peek at new shows before they go on the air? Direct TV has an exclusive agreement with the FX channel that allows you to do that. And if music is what floats your boat, you’ll be thrilled with the musical events on Direct TV that you won’t see aired anywhere else.

HD programming is quite a buzzword these days. If you’re not watching in high definition, you’re missing out on the ultimate experience in TV viewing. Direct TV gives you 900 hours of HD programs every week, with plans to introduce more than 150 HD channels in the near future. Direct TV was the first to offer the History Channel in HD. I can only imagine how much the history buffs must love that.

You may be wondering how I know so much about Direct TV. I’d like to let you think that I’m just that smart, but the truth is I found those three websites I mentioned earlier (and that I list below) that have a mind-boggling amount of information. If you scroll down, you’ll see the links. Having been to so many bogus sites with misinformation and outdated facts, it was a big relief to find a few that were so straightforward and up-to-the-minute with the latest and greatest that Direct TV has to offer.

But back to the review…

If you’re into movies, Direct TV’s got you covered there, too. Over 70 pay-per-view channels and more than 30 premium movie channels guarantee there’s always a movie available whenever you’re in the mood. The best part is you don’t have to leave your living room. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, movie watching is at your fingertips. Phone in your order, place it online, or use your remote. It just doesn’t get any easier than that.

My in-laws recently moved to the U.S. from Greece. And thanks to Direct TV’s international line-up, they’re still able to watch their favorite shows from their homeland, in the language they’re most familiar with. Direct TV offers programming from around the globe, more than 80 channels in Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Polish, Russian, Greek, Italian and others. That doesn’t include over 55 Spanish language channels.

I don’t see how you could go wrong by choosing Direct TV, but hey, that’s not my call. The decision is yours. Be sure to visit the links below to check out all the information you need to make that decision and, more importantly, to save some cash. You’ll be glad you did.

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LCD vs. DLP TVs

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Two new technologies in the world of TV, DLP and LCD, are now in a tight competition. Not long ago, everyone was talking about Plasma and LCD – which one would win? It became clear to most that Plasma, with its short lifespan of just 3-4 years, was simply not the best choice. In fact, the LCD screen has several benefits over plasma. For instance, LCD screens run much cooler than the average plasma TV, and thus require less power to operate. Plasma TVs run so hot, in fact, that they require a fan to cool them down – which can be noisy. In addition, plasma screens have a tendency to degrade over time, slowly becoming dimmer. LCD screens, on the other hand, run relatively cool, and do not degrade over time. Some Plasma owners, who have used their TVs for a few years now, have already witnessed the dimming of their screens. Also, LCD screens tend to have overall better picture quality, and are typically 10 to 15 percent lighter than plasma.

Now the choice is mainly between LCD and DLP – two distinct technologies that offer slight differences in display, price, and performance. If you are looking to buy a new flatscreen TV this year, you are probably wondering which one is right for you.

What are DLP, LCD TV Screens?

DLP stands for Digital Light Processing, while LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. DLP technology, developed by Texas Instruments, uses a DMD, or Digital Micromirror Device, contructed of 1.3 million microscopic mirrors. Each of these mirrors is essentially a single pixel. When a digital signal enters the DLP system, each mirror is either activated or not, resulting in tapestry of mirrors tilting either towards the DLP light source or away. This process produces different levels of light and dark reflected by each individual mirror. The colors are produced when the DLP light sources run through a red, green, and blue color filter on a moving wheel. Depending on the lightness/ darkness of each mirror, the colors come in an enormous amount of shades, producing vivid color images.

LCD screens are made of several polarized glass panels, between which are liquid crystal molecules. An electric current is run through the crystal molecules, changing their position in respect to the glass. As light passes through the molecules, these changes in angle result in different lightness/ darkness patterns that produce images on the screen. There are usually three polarized glass panels, one with red pixels, blue, and green. This system also produced very accurate, vivid images, but angle is important. You may notice that the best colors in an LCD display are seen straight-on.

Is DLP, LCD TV Screens better than the other?

Simply put, that is a difficult question to answer. Unlike Plasma TV screens DLP and LCD last much are longer, and are considered to both have superior image quality. LCD screens tend to have slightly better contrast, with a larger range of black and white color shades. DLP, however, still has faster refresh rates than LCD (although LCD has been vastly improved in this area over the last two years). This can have implications if you are really into high-action motion (sports, action movies), because movement may seem a little blurred with LCD at times. Also, you’ll want to remember that in order for you to get the best color out of your LCD, you have to sit right in front of it. LCD TVs also have a slightly shorter lifespan than DLPs, with only 45,000 to 60,000 hours compared to 75,000 hours or more. As far as price goes, LCD and DLP are still more expensive than Plasma, but like all things in time, their price has been coming down. And right now, DLP is slightly more expensive than LCD, but not by much. DLP, in our eyes, is the best investment, at least for the next few years.

Click

here for popular DLP TV units and prices
.

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