Monday 6 December 2010

WEB207 - Topic 1.0 - Introduction

Core Viewing:
Liu, D. (2010) Apple Mac Music Video. Retrieved from
Core Reading:
Jenkins, H. (2004). The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1), 33 -43. doi:10.1177/1367877904040603 [Via Library Catalogue]
Manovich, L. (2009). The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production? Critical Inquiry, 35(2), 319-331. doi:10.1086/596645 [Via Library Catalogue]

1. Jenkins suggests nine areas where the relationships between consumers and producers are changing. What are these, which seem most important, and how far have these new relationships emerged.
    1. Revising audience measurement. An example of where this has happened in Australia recently is within the Australian TV ratings system, known as OzTam.  On 27 December 2009 OzTam introduced the measurement of Time Shift Viewing, which allowed for the capture of ratings for programs viewed at a later date, or that were paused during a live telecast, as well as the original "Live" system.  In some cases this has changed the results of a shows viewing by as much as 14%.

    2. Regulating media content.  Once, media producers aimed to appeal to as many people as possible so content was quite conservative and broadreaching.  Now there is a move towards more narrow, personalised media production.  However, this has resulted in cultural conservatives attempting to impose their own ideals and effectively put things back to "the good old days".  This may help to explain the recent attempts by many international governments, including Australia's, to introduce internet filtering or other ways to regulate content online.

    3. Redesigning the digital economy.  The concept that content will increasingly come with a pricetag, although attempts to enforce this haven't always been successful.  An example that I used in NET102 was Rupert Murdoch's implementation of a paywall around the websites of The Times and The Sunday Times in the UK, which has seen a 90% drop in traffic since it's introduction.  However, sites such as ITunes, which seem to have appeared after this 2006 article was written, seem to fit the theory of a "micropayment system" that would "allow media producers to sell their content directly to consumers, cutting out many layers of middle folk, adjusting prices for the lowered costs of production and distribution in the digital environment".

    4. Restricting media ownership.  Changes to restrictions on media ownership in recent years has seen even greater consolidation of ownership. Although Australia's media ownership laws have remained unchanged for some time, our media is still fairly concentrated between large organisations such as News Ltd, PBL, Fairfax and Telstra.

    5. Rethinking media aesthetics.  Media across multiple channels and the aesthetic implications of this.  For instance, in the case of a TV show like "Lost", the TV show must be self-contained enough to satisfy viewers who only watch the TV show, but additional media such as web-only media can enhance the media and make it more complex for those viewers who want that.

    6. Redefining intellectual property rights.  Jenkins says "In the new media environment, it is debatable whether governmental censorship or corporate control over intellectual property rights poses the greatest threat to the right of the public to participate in their culture".  Couldn't have said it better myself!  There are so many examples of the ludicrosity of copyright - the one I used for an essay in MED104 was the case of Larrikin Music against the Australian rock band Men At Work, which I won't repeat here - but suffice to say, I thought it was a nonsense lawsuit that should never have happened in the first place!

    7. Regnegotiating relations between producers and consumers.  The examples used are the recording industry and the gaming industry, where the first have responded to new technologies like peer-to-peer networking with legal action, and the second have actively engaged with their customers.

    8. Remapping globalisation.  Teens in the developing world use American culture, and teens in the western world are now consuming media such as Japanese anime, Bollywood films and Hong Kong action movies.

    9. Re-engaging citizens.  Using the media for the purposes of activism.

    While I think all these areas are important, since this article was written in 2006 I think the most important areas have become the regulation of content (2) and intellectual property issues (6) - but that could just be that I find them the most interesting!

    2. Manovich suggests a few areas where the most interesting and innovative responses to social media are being produced - what are they, and how might (or might not) these be indicative of new forms of creativity unleashed by digitisation?

    I didn't enjoy this reading as much!  A bit too wordy for my tastes.  But to answer the question - unprecendented growth in social media has led to lots of innovation by both large organisations and also individuals.  Every professional or company, regardless of size and physical location, now has the ability to have a web presence and put their new work online, for viewing by a global audience.  This not only allows individuals to see what others are doing, but also allows them to work with others to develop new tools together.  An example given related to artists and artistic schools, where traditionally one produced work which others then responded to with their own versions of things, but the original did not engage with those who followed.  Today's media practices involve two-way conversations between a wide range of individuals, which arguably can only help to enhance cultural creativity.

    3. Lastly, a much bigger and more personal question: Looking at the unit material, which areas look to be of most interest to you? Why?

    Without going through all of the course material to formulate a complex response at this stage, I suspect that Television and Photography will interest me the most, as both are areas that I already have an interest in.  Regarding Television, my interest isn't so much in watching it, but in how it is produced and how ratings are measured, and the changes that are occurring as a result of new media innovations.  I have also long held a personal interest in Photography, so I am interested to see what we cover in that week's coursework.


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