Monday, February 23, 2009

Globalization of media products and industry

Globalization of Film
The Globalization of Media, especially film, is a relatively young section of media. Although films started to go worldwide around the World War I era, they were nothing compared to the films we have today. Today’s films are mainly for an entertainment purposes which have help to create the so called “Monopoly” of the film business by the United States. Within the classroom we discussed our own opinions to having an “International Enforcement Agency” to help protect the copyright laws that they producers have of their movies outside the boarders of the United States. For instance I brought up the fact that the costs would outweigh the benefits and possibly hurt the global and individual economies overseas.
Another question that was brought up to the class was their opinion of weather the United States could be seen as a monopoly within the film business. As we started discussing most of us would answer the question as yes from the information presented within the slides. Along with the percentage of films played in Europe and the average amount of money spent of films, people could also see the resemblance of a monopoly within the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA).
As for answering the question; ‘How does Globalization shape media products and industry?’ I would have to say that it depends on the economy that the individual lives in and his or her personal incentives. With a strong economy the globalization of media products and industry are relatively good with a positive outcome. As for economies that cannot produce these kinds of films and have a weak economic market these products are often copied and sold within a black market with no returns back to its economy or the producers of the product. As for personal incentives, it would depend entirely on how the person believes and thinks about globalization.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Are You Still Down With FCC?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in charge of regulating television, telecommunications and maintaining telecommunication equipment. They also interpreted and enforce telecommunication legislation made by congress. In addition to that they also are in charge of giving out and renewing broadcasting licenses.

According to there are seven bureaus that make up the FCC. They include the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Enforcement Bureau, International Bureau, Media Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, and Wireline Competition Bureau.

I was surprised that I actually learned something while I was presenting. When I brought up the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau and that they were the ones who were advertising the digital television converter box Dr. Campbell asked me if I knew when the switch was going to occur, but all I knew was that it was going to happen sometime in February. Well it turns out that it was supposed to happen on the 12th of February, the day I was presenting, but due to lack of funding the date was pushed back to June.

I am also glad that during the discussion that I was able to answer all the questions that were pressed upon me. It defiantly reflected how well I researched the FCC when Dr. Campbell asked me how the administration positions of the FCC were filled, and I was able to answer in full confidence that they were appointed by the President and confirmed by congress also that only four administrators could be from one party.

I enjoyed learning that the FCC was not just a bunch of power hungry, uptight, whistle blowers, who get enraged by anything that makes them, feel in the slightest, uncomfortable. They try to operate for the good of the public by giving out important information in times of disaster, and make sure that broadcasting is kept orderly by giving licenses with assigned frequencies so that stations don’t overlap each other. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

1996 Telecommunications Act

Last Thursday, I presented a case study on the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed to deregulate the media industry to make it easier for small companies to come into the big media playing field, and increase competition to create newer forms of technology. Even though the government's good intentions were there, essentially, their plan failed. Media monopolies, such as AT&T, decided to buy out smaller companies, which lead to less competition in the media industry and fewer choices for the consumers. I presented background information on what the 1996 Telecommunications Act is, the effects and problems of the law, how it affects consumers, and how the government can change the law to make it relevant to the new media.

Prior to my presentation, I knew the class had heard about the 1996 Telecommunications Act because Dr. Campbell had mentioned it the class period before. The class discussion didn't go exactly the way I had hoped. I knew it was early in the morning, but I would have liked to hear the opinions of my classmates. I feel that our week's discussion question, Law & Policy: Who Controls the Media is something everyone should be concerned about. I touched on the fact that even though the government deregulated the media industry, parts of the media industry, such as the Internet, were still being regulated. Internet regulation does have a purpose; government Internet regulation is supposed to protect consumers from cybercrimes, identity theft, illegal downloading, online gambling, and domestic acts of terrorism. The government also regulates the Internet so children aren't exposed to obscene and indecent materials. However, the government is not allowed to regulate pornography, because adults should be allowed to view the materials they want to.

The main point I wanted to make with my presentation was the 1996 Telecommunications Act was intended to help the consumers by giving them more choices within the media industry, but it ended up hurting the consumer by giving them less choices and leaving them with higher prices. Until researching this Act, I had no idea how the government could affect the way I purchase cable or Internet service. I think it is vital that we, as students, make sure of how the government plays a role in our lives, and the negative or positive effects their policies can have on us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Convergence Creates Stress in New Media Markets

Convergence in New Media doesn't just mash up more features into new devices, but effectively mashes markets together as well. As evidenced by the PSP (and, as someone commented, the iPhone as well), emerging markets are often frustrated by differing views between consumers and media companies. Furthermore, certain recent laws, most notably the DMCA, compound those troubles.

And currently, the battle, if you would call it that, between Sony and the PSP hacking community, has been tit for tat, with Sony releasing new updates to fix exploits, and the hacking community finding new ones nearly as fast.

Following the explanation of Sony's business model for the PSP, much of the class agreed that there was significant risk in allowing consumers unlimited access to the capabilities of the device. However, I also showed the significant gap between what Sony authorized its device to do, and what could be achieved with a little ingenuity.

Of course, focusing on the topic of media convergence, we also looked at a brief example from Nokia, the makers of the first camera phone: by offering functionality in their phones that duplicated that of inexpensive cameras, they outsold all camera makers combined. (Though, this was by selling phones, not cameras!) Thus, convergence can have unpredictable effects in new markets and old ones as well.

We went on to discuss whether Sony's business model was a good one. Most disagreed, saying it would have worked well 5 or 10 years ago, but today it's very risky. However, when asked who was right: consumers for hacking the PSP to function as they liked, or Sony for insisting on the force of law, and attempting to undermine this behavior with firmware updates, the consensus was less clear. Some suggested that each was doing something wrong, and others siding with consumer's rights. No one suggested that Sony was entirely justified in attempting to control access to and usage of features in the PSP.

Perhaps more interesting, though, was the fact that several students were still positively in favor of obtaining all their digital content through unquestionably legal channels. I think this shows that consumers are certainly willing to pay for ease-of-use, as well as the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing that they are on unshakable ethical ground.

To conclude the case study, I participated in a short roundtable discussion on the topic of media convergence and how it effects New Media markets.
In response to the round table question of what I think is most important in New Media markets, I pointed to the strengths of new media: decentralized distribution and consumer creativity. Both of these areas have been historically hard to monetize, but I believe that therein lies the future of media.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mixed Reviews of Media Monopolies

New-Media is an all encompassing, ever expanding, vast source of information. Today we live in an information society. Society strives on information, and wants to be able to obtain information upon demand. New-Media helps make this happen by providing multiple outlets that provide information to consumers.

My case study focused on Internet monopolies. One usually does not associate the term monopoly with the Internet. However, Google has proven to be a large new-media monopoly. During my case study I saw several students thinking about the information I had presented to them. I could tell that the students were unsure about the information that I presented.

During open discussion after my presentation I found that several students liked what I had to say. They were concerned with the monopoly giant Google; but the general consensus was that Google is currently not harming the consumer and is actually helping us by being a one stop shop. Google is one new found monopoly that helps the consumer.

The topic for the week is media convergence. When I hear the term convergence, the internet is the first thing that comes to mind. I could tell that after my case study, my classmates agreed. It is intriguing to learn that new-media provides multiple forms of interaction for the consumer. It is exciting to see that all though new media convergence is overwhelming at times; it is actually providing the average consumer more ways to be involved in media.

I learned a lot during my presentation, and discussion of my case study. New-Media entails a lot more aspects of economy and market flows than I had originally thought. Ultimately, I feel like new-media is allowing monopolies to form, but only time will tell if it proves to be an asset or disadvantage to consumers.

This website discusses Google’s beginnings and the major companies that are “gunning for Google":