celebrities in media ownership

Step aside Mr Murdoch, Beyoncé is coming for your gig.

In Australia, there had been laws established in the 80s limiting legacy media ownership. Though recently, there was a successful push to take away restrictions like the ‘two out of three rule’ and the ‘reach rule’, as these regulations seem unnecessary in the internet age where we all have access to a wide range of sources and perspectives online. It’s interesting to then question whether this is a justifiable reality. ‘If the internet is exempt from restrictions, why aren’t we?’, this logic could be applied to a different notion; why isn’t the internet restricted and monitored? Shouldn’t all media be monitored? This sentiment sounds silly, because of course nobody can own the internet, and therefore what kind of control is there to be regulated?

You could argue that websites like Facebook or YouTube which are deeply ingrained in regular internet usage have a degree of control over content, because these companies place restrictions within their own domain and we as consumers are in many cases left with no satisfying and populated alternatives to these services. Though I believe there exists a much greater force online ‘owning’ internet influence across various websites and media; celebrities! Beyoncé, Ellen, the Kardashian/Jenner family in their entirety. These figures are used so often for the purposes of marketing, influence, and what you could even call propaganda. Celebrities can determine an individual’s likes, dislikes, consumer behavior, opinions, and beliefs.

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Recently in February, a new interface update for the popular social media app ‘SnapChat’ resulted in a wave of negative feedback from long time users. The company was experiencing big drops in stock prices due to the changes, though it has been speculated that Kylie Jenner’s influence may have somewhat caused this dip in stocks. It is very possible, with her being one of the most influential celebrities on social media (24.5 million twitter followers). While Snapchat’s stocks had been going down already post-update, the day after Kylie’s tweet (February 22) saw a significant 6% drop, directly after what seemed to be a slow upturn for the company. However, correlation does not always equal causation. Many believe these events are most likely coincidental. Despite this, Kylie Jenner’s influence is undeniable.

In the age of the internet where we are no longer limited in access to media content, ‘ownership’ of the media has changed hands. What we choose to consume is now determined by our attention, and who succeeds best at grabbing our attention? Those who are most influential. So, as Beyoncé notoriously asks her fans: “who run the world?” girls, she does.

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References

ABC News. (2017). Government’s media ownership law changes pass Senate with help from NXT, One Nation.

C Gartenberg. (2018). Snap stock plummets after Kylie Jenner declares Snapchat dead. The Verge.

 

semiotics『media framing』

Semiotics; the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. This ‘science of signs’ is essential to global communication. Symbols convey a message to an audience through the preconceived connotations and widely accepted meanings behind them. However, our interpretation of a visual cue or image may be somewhat dependent on our ideologies or worldview. Many complex images attempt to convey a message in an interesting but more subtle way than a globally recognised symbol would, creating a visual with deeper meaning and nuance than, for example, a road sign. This also leaves multiple ways to read or interpret whats placed before an individual.

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Media Framing. Source

This particular image about media framing uses only visuals without text to critique frame manipulation in television media… or, could it possibly be scrutinising not the media, but passive and naive mass consumers of television programming? Perhaps both. However it’s predominately read by an individual, the interpretation will usually depend on ideology and personal experience.

The denotation of this image; three figures, the first behind a camera watching an altercation, the second holding a knife and pursuing the third, who flees their attacker. However, when observed through the lens of the camera, the cleverly placed silhouettes cause the roles of the two figures to be reversed. The camera is a symbol that is connotative of television media, and the literal ‘framing’ of the camera is a reference to the meaning of the word itself, and how it is used to define the media’s presentation of content to create a common perception in ‘media framing’ theory.

An example of the ‘manipulative framing’ issue that this image brought to mind can be seen for your own amusement below. It’s no wonder audiences have become so critical of current news media practices.

References

Sign Salad. (2018). Semiotics explained.

University of Texas at Austin. (2012). Framing. Youtube

modern media audiences

It’s easy to forget when consuming media on the internet that you make up a fraction of a large audience sharing the same experience worldwide. In the days of ancient Greek theater, Shakespeare, 90’s cinema (before Netflix), an individual would experience live interaction with a tangible, present audience. Now we tend to watch, read, and listen to media from the privacy of our living room or bedroom, because digital media is all directly broadcasting to our multimedia smart devices. However, this shift in consumer behaviour has not created a passive audience; social media continues to facilitate discussion and reactionary creation among media consumers with shared experiences at a larger scale than previously possible.

I first noticed how ever-present these ‘invisible’ media audiences really are when attending an event called ‘EB Games Expo’ in Sydney a few years ago. Tickets were sold in day and night sessions, and were very expensive. I’d only saved up enough for one session, so I had to use my time wisely. Despite this, my heart kept drawing my attention away from the console demo floor and new video games, and instead led me to an afternoon viewing party of the League of Legends world finals. I’d only recently discovered eSports and professional gaming, and to hear that this event was being live streamed to the venue was too exciting for me to pass.

There were rows of eSports fans seated before a big screen, cheering and clapping at each big moment, collectively sharing their joy or disdain. I thought to myself, ‘so this must be how my dad feels when he watches a rugby game!’, I finally understood his enthusiasm. My experience validated eSports as a real spectator game, and I came to realise its niche potential. It had become viable, and continues to grow rapidly as a contemporary industry today. At this event in 2012, I made up one of 32 million viewers worldwide; last year when watching the finals for the same game online, I was one of 60 million. Almost double in just 5 years. Picturing this number of people filling a stadium really puts into perspective how present and thriving consumers of digital media are, even though they aren’t watching, reading, or listening side by side in the real world.

The event ran overtime, but the hype was too real! So, those of us with a half-day pass were allowed to stay past 4pm by the convention staff to watch the rest of the game. Needless to say I went home with no regrets about how I’d used my Expo ticket.

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League of Legends World Finals Viewing Party. Source

References

Dustin “RedBeard” Beck. (2014). One World Championship, 32 million viewers. League of Legends.

Xing Li. (2017). The League of Legends Worlds final reached 60 million unique viewers. Dot eSports.