Thursday, October 30, 2014

DirecTV: DVR

Today I did my case study over DirecTV and how it has grown with their DVR product throughout the years. The topic this week was over Chapter 8: Television and we were asked to discuss how older forms of media inform new media markets. I started out by talking about DirecTV and the history behind the company. I then went into a brief discussion on VCR and how it has now been transformed into DVR, Digital Video Recorder. DVR is a “TV on your schedule” and “You’re in control” type of program. It allows users to record, rewind, pause and fast-forward as well as record entire television series, movies or even just a onetime game. I talked about how DirecTV DVR has now come out with their newest, and most advanced HD DVR products called the Genie. There are three different options with the Genie. It allows users to record up to 200 hours of entertainment, up to five different shows at one time, have extended recording time and it is all wireless, so you can connect it to any television in your house. Television can now be ran by your phone, computer or tablet too! I found that old media inform new media by always being a competition within itself. They come out with the newest and coolest program out, but immediately after release, they want something better. It makes me wonder what more they can do! I felt the discussion went well. The first question I asked wasn’t as active with responses, but when I asked about ideas the class had for the future of DVRs, it was a fun discussion. I think overall my presentation went well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Transmedia in Film

The question of the week, "How do media industries shape media audiences?", led me to research new, innovative techniques in film. I found a very unique method that is developing in film, the practice of trans-media. Trans-media allows for narratives in film to engage audiences after they leave the theater. Audiences can discover more about the story through video games, mobile apps, TV series, and other franchise merchandises such as toys.

Trans-media has emerged due to the advent of the Internet and computing/video games. The Internet allows for more audience feedback, as well as audience discussion of the movie. Video games allow audiences the ability to play as characters from the movie, deepening the engagement the narrative has with its audience members. After establishing the implications trans-media has in film, using an informative video, I then went over various examples of trans-media in recent times. Lego was a specific franchise I used to exemplify this current trend.

Discussion: Once I had gone through various examples, I then posed possible franchises that may soon adopt trans-media into their business strategy. One classmate mentioned how Breaking Bad's attempt at trans-media proved problematic, integrating adult themed characters into kids toys. Another classmate used Frozen as an example of how Disney is attempting to engage with its female audiences through trans-media.


Dena, Christy. Transmedia practice: Theorising the practice of expressing a fictional world across distinct media and environments. Diss. University of Sydney, 2010.

Edwards, Leigh H. "Transmedia Storytelling, Corporate Synergy, and Audience Expression." Global Media Journal 12.20 (2012): 1-12.

Jenkins, Henry. "Transmedia storytelling and entertainment: An annotated syllabus." Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 24.6 (2010): 943-958.

Smith A (2011). Beyond the brick: narrativizing LEGO in the digital age. Presentation at Media in Transition 7: Unstable Platforms, Boston, Massachusetts, 13–15 May.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Evolution of Special Effects

      This week's question was "How do media industries shape media audiences?" I addressed this by comparing early special effects that date back to the late 1800's to modern special effects technologies, focusing on Michael Bay's Transformers franchise. I discussed how the effects changed over the series and how special effects impact the audience.

      Special effects started out as simple effects like the stop-action effect and rear-projection which have progressed to computer generated optical and mechanical effects. I then showed a timeline of the evolution of special effects within film to give a sense of how drastically they have changed over the last century.

      With the first Transformers movie, the Industrial Light and Magic visual effects company expected their workload to be much less than what it turned out to be. ILM's Scott Farrar, has worked as the VFX supervisor for every Transformers movie.  The most significant change from the first movie was the addition of modern 3D effects which is done by what is called stereopsis -- an optical illusion or trick that our eyes play on our brain.

      The focus on continuity, attention to detail and addition of 3D effects played a significant role for the satisfaction of the audience. Continuity included focusing on the scratches, dents and scuffs from scene to scene made the content seem realistic. The attention to detail included the "film noir" look he went with in this film. 3D effects "pop" out to really draw the audience in, which is every filmmakers goal.

      One of my discussion questions was asking if you feel that the heightened expectations of special effects has made it more difficult to create new films with computer-animated characters? One student responded by saying that for the low-budget film industry this would inhibit them to create a successful action-packed film for viewers because of the costs for such technologies. He also said that it has set the bar for the rest of the film industry in creating new action films with special effects. I also asked what future films will look like and one student responded by saying with how highly defined the picture is and how real the effects seem to be, he could't really think of what they could come up with next, but was anxious to see.


Drate, Spencer, and Jütka Salavetz. VFX Artistry: A Visual Tour of How the Studios Create Their Magic. Amsterdam: Focal, 2010.

"How Have Special Effects Evolved Since the First TRANSFORMERS Movie - Nuke The Fridge." Nuke The Fridge. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

"TRANSFORMERS - AGE OF EXTINCTION: Scott Farrar - VFX Supervisor - ILM." The Art of VFX. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

Straubhaar, Joseph, and Robert Larose. (2008). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Technology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Company.

Monday, October 27, 2014

21st Century Fox vs. The Walt Disney Company - How Do Media Industries Shape Media Audiences?


Last Thursday I addressed the question of the week, “how do media industries shape media audiences?” I compared the two biggest media conglomerates in the industry today, 21st Century Fox and the Walt Disney Company. I first addressed both of these major film-distributing companies individually and then compared them to each other. Both of these big players in the industry reach audience in a multitude of ways based on their presence as conglomerates. For example, 21st Century Fox not only produces films but is also has a dominating presence on television (Turk, S). Disney has numerous ways to reach their desired audience through theme parks, and other forms of media (Turk, S). I also discussed how these big players shape their audience through the MPAA ratings. The last 4 top grossing movies of the year (all put out by Disney) were rated PG-13. This statistic alone shows that the target audience is at least over the age of thirteen. These successful movies shape their audience by their ratings. These main points along with the facts of these big player’s success over the years highlight how major film distributors shape what media audiences watch. Whether it is through one of the many aspects of these major conglomerates, or through their specifically rated films they produce each year.


The class discussion shed more light on the class’ opinions of these two companies. The first question I asked was “do you feel that these key players in the industry will remain the same or are there opportunities for other companies to break into the market?” A response to this question was that there is too much barriers to entry for this industry. It is hard to break into this industry without getting instantly bought up by a bigger company, which makes the big companies even bigger. The second question I asked was, “do you think these conglomerates produce more quality films because of their size or does quality seem to be diminished in films because the attention of these companies are so scattered?” An answer I got to this question was that the conglomerates have more money, therefore more opportunities to make great films. This I definitely agree with because one of the biggest conglomerates, Disney, produced the last top four films, which proves that the quality was not diminished. If anything, it is just the opposite.


"Domestic Movie Theatrical Market Summary 1995 to 2014." The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <>.

Eliashberg, J. (2005, February 23). The Motion Picture Industry. Retrieved October 19, 2014.

Motion Picture Association of America. 2014 Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

Motion Picture Association of America film rating system. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2014.

Turk, Sarah. "Movie & Video Production." IBISWorld US. IBISWorld Inc., 1 July 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fandango: How do media industries shape media audiences?

     This weeks question was "How do media industries shape media audiences?" I answered this question by going through Fandango's tactics of making the audiences feel like it is all more of an experience rather than a process. I had two answers to this weeks question, the first way media industries shaped media audiences was through personalizing experiences and the second way was bridging the gap between the audience and the industry.

     Personalizing the audiences experience is done by giving the audience choices in Fandango's online experience. They can pick movies or genres that will give Fandango a feel for the types of movies that they like. This is done for future recommendations so that way the audience can receive special offers, sweepstakes entries and maybe even the occasional coupon that Fandango will send out. The second way that I touched on how media industries shape the audience is by bridging the gap between both parties. What I mean by bridging the gap is that the media industry makes the audience feel more involved in the whole experience. It isn't just the usual, go up to the movie box, buy tickets and watch movie. It now makes the audience feel that they have more to do from the very beginning of watching movie trailers and actors interviews to the time that they step foot into the actual theater.

     I asked the class "Do you think Fandango will continue to grow or do you think the surcharge will affect it?" Someone answered that they believe that the surcharge wouldn't affect the company because it seems like all movie theaters now have increasing costs. I completely agree with them. At my movie theater back home it costs almost $10 for a movie ticket. So when I go to movie theaters in other locations that have cheaper tickets, I feel like the surcharge wouldn't bother me because I am still getting a better price than I would be at home. The other response I had for this question was that maybe the surcharge would be disapproved by Fandango's clients because certain movie theaters offer the ability for customers to purchase their tickets online directly from their website. I do see this as a future problem for Fandango and they will have to evaluate how to take care of it when that time arrives.

Grant, A. (2010). Communication technology update and fundamentals (p. 180). Amsterdam: Focal Press/Elsevier.

Rayport, J., & Jaworski, B. (2005). Best face forward: Why companies must improve their service interfaces with customers (p. 13, 122). Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.

Straubhaar, J., & LaRose, R. (2014). Media now: Understanding media, culture, and technology (8th ed., pp. 185-213). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth ;.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Satellite Radio: Audience & Provider Realtionships

          This week’s question was “How do older media serve as a template for a Wireless Culture?” I addressed this topic by describing the rapid development of satellite radio after its licensing rights were established in 1992. I also discussed the relationship between satellite radio and its millions of subscribers.

          The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) in 1992 allowing for the purchase of satellite frequency rights on the radio. Sirius XM, the dominant satellite radio industry, purchased these rights as separate companies before their merge in 2008. Janet Jackson’s controversial Super Bowl performance and Howard Stern defiantly moving his broadcast to Sirius radio were both direct contributions to the popularity of satellite radio today. Once an audience base was established, the satellite radio industry started to attract millions of subscribers. Audiences are willing to pay the subscription fees that allow them accessibility of an almost infinite variety of channels. 

          For my first discussion question, I asked whether AM/FM radio would soon be a thing of the past or if the satellite radio industry would eventually phase out. One student argued that both industries would remain successful in the future because both audience bases will remain loyal to their preferred provider. I also asked why are people willing to pay a subscription fee when other radio outlets (AM/FM, iHeart Radio, Pandora) are ultimately free. A student stated that her Dad, who travels constantly, can access his favorite stations anywhere in the country through his Sirius XM subscription. 

Video Clip:


Straubhaar, Joseph D., Robert LaRose, and Lucinda Davenport.                "Chapter 6." Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and             Technology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2014. N. pag. Print.

"History of Satellite Radio." History of Satellite Radio.                               SatelliteRadioUSA, 2008. Web. 16 Oct.2014

Woolley, Scott. "Freedom Of Speech On Satellite Radio." Forbes.                Forbes Magazine, 06 Oct. 2004. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Evolution of iHeartMedia, Inc.

       I addressed this week's question ("How does older media serve as a template for wireless culture?") by examining one of the leading media companies in the country, iHeartMedia, Inc. I also addressed terms from the chapter such as: 1996 Telecommunications Act, O & O, conglomerates, and syndication. 
       This company, formerly known as Clear Channel Communications, started in 1972 with the purchase of a single radio station and has since grown into a multi-platform organization boasting 850 radio stations and 245 million listeners. The company was rebranded a few weeks ago to reflect the amount of support it has for the most successful portion of the organization, iHeartRadio. iHeartRadio is a free, all-in-one digital music service that gives users instant access to thousands of live radio stations and the ability to create commercial-free custom music stations. In addition to iHeartRadio, this company also has an advertising company called Clear Channel Outdoor, live concerts and events, real-time traffic services and music research services. It has grown an immense amount since the start of the company.
       For my discussion questions, I asked fellow class members if they thought iHeartMedia could do anything differently to increase the amount of revenue and users. One student said the film industry could be an option for expansion. I also asked if they would pick other radio companies over iHeartRadio and some students said they used Spotify because it didn’t have as much song repetition. 

Video Clip: 


"IHeartMedia, Inc." IHeartMedia, Inc. N.p., 2014. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

Huntemann, Nina. Corporate Interference: The Commercialization and Concentration of Radio Post the 1996 Telecommunications Act.Journal of Communication Inquiry. N.p., 1999. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

Moyer, Claire. The Music Industry in the 21st Century: An Innovative Partnership for Pandora Internet Radio and Live Nation Entertainment to Drive Consumer Preferences. Washington Research Library Consortium. N.p., 26 Aug. 2013. Web.

Sisario, Ben. "Clear Channel Renames Itself IHeartMedia in Nod to Digital." The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

Straubhaar, LaRose, and Davenport. Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. 8th ed. N.p.: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Twitter, News & Issues concerning free speech and First Amendment

I addressed this weeks question, “What are constraints on free speech and First Amendment for the News Industry,” by examining a recent issue regarding Twitter and its news issues concerning free speech and the First Amendment. I also addressed key terms, what the First Amendment does not protect, facts concerning news accounts and how micro-blogging changes news. Twitter has many active news accounts, thus allowing news to spread viral very quickly.

Twitter is suing the United States government with the hope to provide more transparency to their users in the future. Ben Lee, the vice president of Twitters legal department says, “It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government surveillance—including what types of legal process have not been received.” Twitter wants to be able to provide as much information as they can for their users, but the government has a different perspective on the topic. The National Security Agency and FBI want to protect and defend the country from real security threats, but the more information that is leaked to the public the greater risk they have of losing this ability.

At the conclusion of my presentation I presented discussion questions to the class. My first question asked was, “How do you think this court case will end? Why?” Every person that answered the question believes that Twitter will win this court case. One classmate mentioned that the Patriot Act is very strict and serious so they will stand by what it says. Another stated that Twitter will probably win the case, but there will be restrictions and exceptions set in place. The second questions asked was, “Do you think Twitter is more beneficial or detrimental to news media and journalists? More beneficial or detrimental to society?” This question diverged into a different direction asking how Twitter acts as a news source itself, as well as, for other news companies. There was good class participation and feedback during the discussion

Video News Clip
FOX News Network, LLC. (Oct. 8, 2014). Twitter sues gov’t over limits on revealing surveillance. United States: FOX News. Available at:

Bruns, Alex, and Jean Burgess. (2012). Researching news discussion on twitter: New methodologies. Journalism Studies, 13(5-6): (801-814).

CNN Wires. (October 7, 2014). Twitter sues U.S. government over national security data. Retrieved from:

Dominic L. Lasorsa, Seth C. Lewis & Avery E. Holton (2012) Normalizing twitter, Journalism Studies. 13:1 (19-36).
Edwards, Lilian and Matwyshyn, Andrea M. (April 24, 2013). Twitter (R)evolution: Privacy, Free Speech and Disclosure. Retrieved from:

FOX News Network, LLC. (Oct. 8, 2014). Twitter sues gov’t over limits on revealing surveillance. United States: FOX News. Available at:

Straubhaar, Joseph, and Robert Larose. (2008). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.