Week Three. Group discussion after 19/10/09 lecture

We discussed the questions as a group and this is what we came up with:

Question 1: Given how the company make their money, how does this affect what they do? Is anyone overseeing what they do? How effective is the control?

We found the film and music companies are not under any particular control, apart from the obvious rules and regulations (particularly on films). One of the companies that produced my chosen film was owned by one of the other producing companies, but it wasn’t apparent that any control was exerted over them, just that MGM was the parent company of UA. The record label was previously part of another company but that has since collapsed.

The BBC however is under a great amount of control. As a public service broadcaster and sole benificiary of the licence fee; the BBC has a great deal of constrictions. The BBC is also headed by chairman Sir Michael Lyons who overseas what the BBC produce.

Despite there being a difference in how the film and music companies and the television companies are controlled; all have a high turnover and distributed worldwide and provide a global service.

Question 2: What do/might the three ways of looking at media institutions outlined in the lecture – political economy, organisational study and workplace ethnography – explain how the media objects that you looked at function?

Firstly we discussed the record label and simply we concluded that a record label is obviously about making money, but also about artist expression and fun. So not much accent is put on political economy. In regards to workplace ethnography; not much thought would go into what background/ethnicity/class the people working there were from, just that they were there to express themselves and make music.

The film companies are much the same as the record label in regards to political economy- they wouldn’t have much to do with it. However, political references may be made in independent films.  The BBC on the other hand has a strong role in the polictical economy of Britian. Near every election there are party polictical broadcasts shown, or interviews with party members. There is also BBC news 24 that polictical parties would want to get on. The BBC is thought to be the most popular broadcasting service on British tv so polictical parties like to be on the good side.

Organisational sutdy- The BBC and the film production companies have similar structures to the companies. A chairman or executive and other staff working underneath. It is similar for the record label too, more so now the company has become worldwide.

Workplace ethnography- the film companies and BBC are similar in the fact that they accept all ethnic backgrounds and classes; especially as they are global companies. The higher staff are more educated and more likely now that all the staff have degrees or equivalent. The BBC,  in the previous century was more creative as the company would produce its own shows, but now most show’s are produced by independent companies and sold to the BBC for broadcasting. So creatively, the BBC isn’t as good as it once way, however the BBC do make shows (cheaply) and sell them on. In the early days of the film production companies it was actors/actresses who set up one of the companies, and back in the early 20th century it wouldn’t highly educated people or higher classes working for them because they would think it was ”above them”.
Creatively, the companies between them produced major and independent films, televsion and music so a wide range of creativity going on there.

Question 3: Do any of these models fully explain contemporary media? What failings do they have to explain ‘new media’?

The models don’t explain contemporary media, but each has something to do with it.
The failings for the BBC against new media is that at one time it was the only place to broadcast. Now with modern technology people can broadcast their work alot easier. Also the amount of TV channels you can have these days. At one point it was BBC 1 and 2 and that was it. It is losing control. And once apon a time it was just BBC1.

People can get their work ”out there” it is much easier now, like we discussed last week-  if you have the technology to make something you can get it round the world now.

In relation to the creativity side of things- because people can broadcast their work a lot easier, there are a lot more channels and ways to get people to watch your media, so less people watch itv, c4, c5, so less advertising money for them= bad quality and less creativity = cheap tv


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