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Theory & the Media Professional Stephen Hill. Objectives Does the proliferation of web 2.0 user generated content and affordable creative technologies.

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Presentation on theme: "Theory & the Media Professional Stephen Hill. Objectives Does the proliferation of web 2.0 user generated content and affordable creative technologies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theory & the Media Professional Stephen Hill

2 Objectives Does the proliferation of web 2.0 user generated content and affordable creative technologies pose a threat to the integrity of the media professional? LINK TO THEORY (MARXISM): Does the deregulation of the means of production' (Karl Marx, 1848) pose a threat to the integrity of the media professional? AIM: To explore the ways that academic media theory can help the media professional understand the interactive potential of the audience in a digital age. To explore how three classic theories of audience might help answer the question:

3 Overview Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Three Theories of Audience 1.Roland Barthes – Death of the Author (1967) 2.Dick Hebdige – Subculture (1979) 3.Chris Anderson – The Long Tail (2006) Does the proliferation of web 2.0 and affordable creative technologies pose a threat to the integrity of the media professional? How academic media theory can help the professional understand the interactive potential of the audience in a digital age. Five Institutional Models 1. Music Video Production (Foundation Degree Popular Music) 2. Multi-media Journalism (BA Hons Journalism and Communication) 3. Advertising and Marketing (BA Hons Marketing and Communication) 4. Television Production (BA Hons Media Production) 5. Computer Animation (BA Hons Computer Animation)

4 The Media Theory Timeline Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Roland Barthes Death of the Author (1967) Dick Hebdige Subculture: The Meaning of Style (1979) Chris Anderson The Long Tail (2006)...

5 Roland Barthes, Death of the Author (1967) Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Contemporary Relevance: Web 2.0 user generated content is blurring distinction between producers and consumers. Influence on: Stuart Hall – Encoding/ Decoding (1973) Influenced by: Ferdinand de Saussure – Cours de Linguistic (1912) The Big Idea: The meaning of a text is inscribed by the audience who essentially re-write it. The reader becomes an author rendering the real author dead.

6 Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style (1979) Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Contemporary Relevance: With the proliferation of digital technology and multi-platform branding, niche markets and defined communities of consumers are the key to profitability across media platforms e.g EMAPs Kerrang! The Big Idea: Subcultural audiences construct their identity by using material objects as symbols of group belonging e.g Punks and safety pins. These objects become ideologically loaded and stable signs in their own right. Influenced by: Jean Baudrillard – The Consumer Society (1970). Influence on: Stuart Ewan – All Consuming Images (1987).

7 Chris Anderson, The Long Tail, 2006 Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Contemporary Relevance: The future of Media industries is selling more of less. For example, BBC received 4.7% of funding though it only has 1.8% of BBC1s audience – its niche market programming can be sold on more easily. Excess capacity in schedule = mother of invention? Influence on: Too early to say. Influenced by: Vance Packard - The Hidden Persuaders (1957) The Big Idea: The fragmentation of media audiences into niche markets has transformed patterns of media consumption. Combined with the marketing and distribution possibilities created by the Internet, possibilities have now opened up for the profitability of fringe creative industries.

8 Music Video Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Impact on professional: destabilised the relationship between producers and consumers. Barthes: The interpretation of the musical soundtrack by the video director exemplifies the authorial tension in Death of an Author. Hebdige: Sub-cultural codes that denote particular niche market have become central to the visual style of music videos aimed at defined communities of consumers. Anderson: Multi-platform branding has seen the emergence of some very specialised markets for music video: Smash Hits TV, Q TV, Kerrang! TV etc Foundation Degree - Popular Music Digital age: audience embracing cheap digital video editing software and YouTube Traditional view: Music videos are the ultimate example of the post-modern text. Prospects for future: reinstated some of the key conventions of the genre.

9 Multi-Media Journalism Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Barthes: questions the truth of objective reporting. Meaning of news inscribed by the audience. Hebdige: Lifestyle journalism cohered around sub-cultural niche markets: Angling Times to Living in France Anderson: Traditional journalism increasingly fragmented – specialist television news channels etc. BA Hons Journalism and Communication Digital age: Traditional journalism competing with blogs, message boards, Amazon reviews, forums etc. Impact on professional: boundaries blurred between current affairs and entertainment. Traditional view: press as the Fourth Estate (Peter Wright/David Kelly) Prospects for future: multi-platform branding of old- guard. High quality journalistic = niche market

10 Television Production Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Traditional view: Concept of broadcasting. Tension between paternalistic sensibility of BBC and populist awareness of independent channels has been replaced by narrowcasting. The schedule has been replaced by TV on demand. Barthes: Interactivity means audiences are now the authors of their own viewing schedule. Hebdige: Narrowcasting to sub-cultural groups has replaced broadcasting. Anderson: Lower production costs and increased channel numbers means minority television production is now profitable. BA Hons Media Production Digital age: Narrow casting. Multi-channelling. Greater audience interactivity (pressing the red button) + convergence Impact on professional: More television being made more cheaply, less freedom about its content. Reality television placing greater emphasis on audience participation. Prospects for future: YouTube, reality television reinforce old conventions. More sophisticated audience more receptive to hybridity.

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12 Computer Animation Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Traditional view: animation discrete genre of film-making - 19 th Century (flip books and zoetropes). Barthes: Animation supposes authorial creativity on the part of the audience in the form of the willing suspension of disbelief. Hebdige: Animation is a discrete sub-culture of the film industry with its own sub-genres. Anderson: Proliferation of New Media technologies has opened new niche markets for software and animation based film. BA Hons Computer Animation Digital age: Proliferation of anime. Domestic packages like GIF Movie Gear allowing audiences to produce their own animation for broadcast on YouTube Impact on professional: Convergence of animation with special effects in mainstream film is opening up new cinematic possibilities. Prospects for future: Amateur productions e.g Anime pop music videos widening audiences for animation films.

13 Conclusion Forms and Conventions Audience Institution Representation Roland Barthes, Death of the Author, The shift is irrelevant. The audience has always been in procession of the means of production in the way in which they inscribe meaning into the reception of a text; creative media technologies are an extension of this. To explore how three classic media theories of audience might help answer the question: Does the proliferation of web 2.0 and affordable creative technologies pose a threat to the integrity of the media professional? Dick Hebdige, Subculture and the Meaning of Style, The output of the media professional is always open to appropriation by subcultural groups who will re-work its meaning. Moreover subversive readings are always dependent on the hegemony of the media professional and thereby reinforce it. Chris Anderson, The Long Tail, 2006 Much of the creativity is fairly illusory. Though products may be niche marketed most domestic technologies reinforce the conventions of the dominant means of production. Long tail opens up new opportunities.


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