Week 10 Discussion Questions

How might consolidated ownership of film, TV and other media outlets affect the film industry in particular? What conflicts does film and TV consolidation present; and how might such consolidation impact consumers? Try to present both a positive and negative impact.

The problem for the film industry is that the control is shrinking. When the number of people in charge in film are dwindling that leaves a possibility for good ideas to be lost. But it also could improve the funding for a film too. Studio companies are more prone to putting all their chips into the middle of the table by dishing out tons of cash to hit on a blockbuster. Some times this works and more likely than not the dice rolls snake eyes.  Though Blu-ray sales have done well of late they have not been able to make up for the drastic loss in DVD sales. This is in part to Netflix, OnDemand, and Pay-Per-View. What the industry should do is try to lower the cost of the average movie ticket a couple dollars. In return more people will probably see their movie in the theater, which will make it more likely that they will purchase their movie on Blu-ray or DVD and buy other junk that they assign their brand to.

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[In-Class] Movies & 21st Century Technology

What movie distribution services do you find most useful?

I personally use Netflix more than any other movie distributuion service. It has removed renting and has taken a huge chunk of the time that I would have spent watching television programming. The instant stream for Netflix has been the most useful for myself, since I have the ability to watch a high volume of different things instantly to my televison or computer. I still go to the movie theaters, but only about 5-8 times a year. Nowhere near the trips would I have taken in past years past. Part of that is due to the price, the other is because of Netflix.

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Week 9 Discussion Questions

Most of the revenue in the movie industry comes from ancillary rights, or revenues from non-box office sources. This can include everything from film related merchandise to network TV rights to video rentals. For example, the Harry Potter brand is worth an estimated $25 billion worldwide. Warner Brothers, in turn, has produced related merchandise such as Lego’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle, video games for most platforms developed by EA, and many, many costume pieces and action figures. Universal even developed a section within its theme park dedicated to the brand to increase revenues, and all of this tops off DVD sales and soundtrack CDs.

In what ways do ancillary rights and ancillary products help support a film industry? (Hint: there are 10 categories to discuss) Using another popular film as an example, list specific examples of ancillary rights use.

What started off as a drawing for an idea for a comic book from Bob Kane has exploded into one of the largest franchises we have come to know. Like Harry Potter, Batman started as a book–comic book that is. This spanned out to the silver-screen for a couple of movies in the 1940’s, television series in the 1960’s, along with graphic novels and strips. Except for my fellow nerds kept up with the graphic novels, the Caped Crusader was on hiatus for everyone else for nearly twenty years. All of this changed when Tim Burton and Warner Brothers decided to bring him out of the bat cave and on to the nearest cinema.  Batman (1989) , when released much hyped and highly anticipated. They exploited this with their ancillary rights and products and Michael Keaton. They did advertisements with Diet Coke and Taco Bell.   

DC Comics also decided to pump out the delicious Batman Cereal.

Burton came out with a sequel for Batman with Batman Returns (1992). And with the sequel came more “junk” (I don’t know–that’s what my mother calls it).

The franchise continued in 1995 with a new director in Joel Schumacher and a new Batman in Val Kilmer. To much of the dismay of many fans of The World’s Greatest Detective, the film series took a turn the wrong direction. A direction that made it childish and was caricature of the previous films. The series didn’t suffer. Schumacher’s two films Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) were blockbusters. With the blockbusters came more collectibles.

It also came with it’s first music video from Seal.

In 2005 Christopher Nolan resurrected Bruce Wayne with Batman Begins. Another hit at the box office (a fantastic movie too) and also breathing life back into the great superhero franchise. In 2008 Chris Nolan decided to give the Dark Knight a sequel, The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight recorded the highest grossing opening weekend with $158 million. It is currently the third highest domesticate grossing film of all time, making $533,345,358. The DVD, BluRay, video games and television rights are still pumping out while I type. I could not find an estimate on how much the indivdual Batman brand is actually worth, but one could imagine from the things I have posted. That said, I barely scratched the surface on how much Batman has produced. Batman is evergreen; he has evolved and lasted more than 70 years. And the film franchise will not die with Nolan’s 2012 release of The Dark Knight Returns either. Someone else will pick it up and relive it the next ten to fifteen years. And if not, we’ll still have our comic books.

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Week 8: Discussion Questions

How has the Telecommunications Act of 1996 affected the radio industry? Be sure to include your thoughts on the pros and cons of deregulation, consolidation and radio network programming from both a consumer and provider perspective.

Congress really put a number on the American people when they put the Telecommunications Act of 1996 together. In my opinion I do not see as many “pros” as I do for “cons”. This act allowed conglomerates to overhaul radio. It seems as if Clear Channel  has swallowed every radio station and has become the leader in what they want you to hear. I do not think that is good for anyone. Since they own the radio stations than that means that they own the programming. Since they own the programming they run the programming. That means that there is less radio talent needed in smaller markets. I have seen the effects locally on radio in Tampa. I have seen the parent companies out of Los Angeles lay off people in Tampa because there is no need to keep the people in Tampa if they are controlling everything in Los Angeles. I am personally sick of it. It seems like I hear the same thing on every radio station. All of that would be a con for me and possibly you, but that in return is a pro for the large conglomerates/providers.

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Policing the Airways: Free Speech vs. Indecency

  • How would you define indecency?

I believe everyone has their own interpretations of indecency. I would define indecency as anything that someone would find offensive and since that is open to interpretation it is hard to define. Some people are offended by somethings that other people do not notice.

  • Should the government set decency standards for radio programs? Do you agree with the FCC’s standards on indecency?

I don’t have a problem with the government setting standards for radio. I am an advocate for free speech, but some things need to be regulated. I do not have a huge problem with profanity, as long as it is not used in any type of vulgar way. I do have a problem with hate speech, and I believe that should be heavily screened. For the most part, I do agree with the FCC’s standards on what is and is not indecent.

  • What kind of indecent language do you hear on the radio? What channels and programs seem to have more, and when are these shows on?

The majority of radio I listen to is sports talk and NPR, so I rarely hear indecent language. Occasionally some idiot will call into the sports stations and get the host riled up. He might slip an “ass” or “shit”, but nothing beyond that. I can say I never hear anything on FM that I would consider indecent. They do a good job of censoring everything. There are some people who walk the fine line indecency that I hear about. I know that Rush Limbaugh dances around with racism and sexism every afternoon. My guess would be that the programs that would have more indecency would be the programs where hosts have a platform to speak and they do what they can to drive ratings; mostly talk radio or the morning zoos on FM from 6-10.

  • What is the right balance between free speech and decency standards?

I believe that  there is no such thing as a right balance because you cannot make everyone happy. The way the FCC currently runs is appropriate. I do not see the big deal with them protecting the airwaves.

  • Should the FCC’s indecency rules apply to Internet radio? Why or why not?

I do not think the FCC should bother with Internet radio. It is a lost cause trying to police the Internet since there are constant changes within it. There are new shows every hour, I believe it would be far too difficult for the FCC to catch up. The FCC should stick with terrestrial radio.

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Week 7: Discussion Questions

In 2007, Radiohead shook up music distribution models by allowing fans to name their price (even free!) for .mp3 downloads on their website. Several bands followed suit, posing the question: How much is a music file worth to you? Would you be willing to pay the artist directly for music – and is it enough incentive to stop you from downloading pirated music?

It will not take much to stop me from illegally downloading music, because I don’t. I would definitely pay an artist directly for their music. The music came from them so they deserve it. A music file’s worth fluctuates. It fluctuates with artist, season, and fan. You can also ask this same question about seeing your favorite artist in concert. One artist may charge $200 a seat while another one charges $30 at the same venue for the same time duration of a show. A person may have gone to both of these concerts and enjoyed them both equally. And that person may not have a problem with the difference in price because he or she enjoys the music.

• Do subscription models for unlimited music, such as Pandora or Rhapsody, make more sense if the end goal is to prevent music piracy? Consider the following stakeholders: Artists, recording companies and fans.

Piracy is pretty hard to police over the internet, that is why I believe this will not work. Though something has to be done about the music piracy, and all piracy for that matter.  It may not be a perfect solution, but it is a start. And the subscription model is better than what was planned before that, and that of course was nothing. They are desperate so if it works and it is a success, great. And if it fails, then it fails. The industry was doomed no matter what. But a failure is still an attempt. The industry should not just give in. The industry has made money off records for over 50 years. This subscription model may lose and fold in the long run, but at least the music industry can say they went down swinging.


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Week 6: Discussion Questions

• Explain the term “file sharing” and how it has affected the economy of the music industry.

File sharing is exactly what it sounds like. It is “sharing” or distributing files of digitally stored information. File sharing has really hurt the music industry. Music piracy is now the preferred way of getting music. And it is so easy to do it too. Twenty years ago, if someone liked a song but did not want to buy the record or cassette, they would have to copy it straight from the radio. That was pretty difficult especially if the cassette was not ready to go. Now all someone has to do is download a program and search. Sure you can download the song on iTunes, but that costs money. And why would anyone want to spend money on something when they can get the same thing for free?

• Will digitized music spell the end of the major record labels?

I do believe digitized music is the beginning of the end for major record labels. This was bound to happen. Established artist especially have no reason to be locked up with a record label. People already know who they are, so they do not need the record label’s help. Though recently the major record labels have teamed up and try to compete with digitized music, in specific iTunes. They have come out with a new program called Music Unlimited that. This basically allows them to dictate the price, unlike the set price that iTunes has. Record labels have a heart beat, but it doesn’t look good.

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