Saturday, October 6, 2012

Huei Jun's Stock Portfolio

Is media studies' theoretical toolbox becoming obsolete?

As someone who only started studying media in earnest in 2010, Gauntlett's "Media Studies 2.0" initially felt to me like a fight that was largely settled before my time. Most of his philosophy of widespread digital participation and creation changing the way media should be studying seems to be the standard, "Well, duh" framework for studying media today. Of course this participatory, networked media environment is fundamentally different from the model that's come before and needs to be approached as such. For those of us just coming into the field, that seems to be the starting assumption for our perspective on media studies.

And yet, virtually all of the theories in our field were developed in the age of traditional media. What are the most popular theoretical tools to address this dramatic shift in media structure? Gatekeeping, framing, agenda setting, uses and gratifications - all theories that were initially developed to explain a very different media environment.

It's not that those theories don't apply anymore. I don't think we should throw out all of those theories out just because the media environment has changed, and I think we need to make a concerted effort to tie new concepts to the existing body of theory in our field. But there should be a set of new theoretical concepts that are native to the era of digital media alongside the old ones that help us understand the environment we're in.

And I think some of that is because of the dominance of traditional media-studies thinking that Gauntlett refers to -- the immediate response to some new idea seems to be, "Well, isn't this [gatekeeping/agenda setting/the active audience] in a different setting?" The traditional theories are a very deeply ingrained schema in media scholars' minds, and every new theoretical concept ends up being plugged into that schema in a way that sustains it, rather than challenging or revising it. Academia is a system that makes it very difficult for big ideas that make more than incremental changes to the current ways of thinking to gain acceptance. But if that doesn't happen at some point, we'll eventually end up with a very outdated set of theoretical tools.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mobile and advertising

It could be that things are changing. Here is Mark Zuckerberg saying he's going to make tons of money from mobile ads. Could be a pipe dream, could be a fact, but nobody knows because Facebook is the one figuring out right now what mobile ads should look like. It's a brand new space that we can guess about, or say how it is working now compared to other media, but none of that means that it won't improve or change as the industry adapts.

I got the sense from yesterday's class that mobile is this cast-off, dysfunctional, unprofitable space. All that may be true, but if it is, it is only because media and advertising companies haven't learned what to do with it yet. But as they start to figure it out, look what happens. This report shows that the two most common uses of smartphones and tablets are news and social media. In fact, the report says that mobile users read, on average, more news than desktop web users. If this is true, maybe mobile apps and sites are not inferior products. Actually, the report suggests that they may be complementary, having an "additive" effect on media consumption rather than displacing consumption of other media.

In short, I'm not giving up on mobile yet. I still think it will turn out to be one of the most important arenas for both news and advertising in the coming years.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Stock Portfolio

I've picked out Time Warner Inc. and The New York Times Company for my stock portfolio.
TWX (Time Warner Inc.)


l  One of the leading media and entertainment companies with businesses in television networks, film and TV entertainment and publishing
l  TNT, TBS, CNN, HBO, Cinemax, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, People, Sports Illustrated, and Time
l  Expanding its international operations in key territories, including through acquisitions and other strategic investments

l  Competitors: Walt Disney Co. & News Corp.

Latest News and Analysis

l  Time Warner and News Corp. Score MLB Contracts

l  Time Warner Predicted to Accelerate and 4 Must-See Stock Analyses


 The New York Times Company


l  A leading global, multimedia news and information company with 2011 revenues of $2.3 billion

l  The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and The Boston Globe

l  Facebook page - 2 million fans,  Main Twitter page - 4million followers.

l  Competitors: The Washington Post Company, News Corp., Gannett Co., Inc.

Latest News

l  Former NY Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger dies at 86 (09/29)
    Times won 31 Pulitzers under Sulzberger

l  The New York Times Launches HTML5 Web App for iPad
    The subscriber benefit is the latest addition to NYT everywhere strategy


Angela's $tock portfolio

Lions Gate
  • Industry: Movie production, theaters 
  • Direct competitors: DreamWorks Studios (privately held), Imagine Entertainment (privately held), and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (privately held) 
  • "The Twilight Effect on Short-Term Investment" 
  • Breaking Dawn II comes out November 16th
    1. Twilight 2008:                  $328,133,300
    2. Eclipse 2010:                    $698,491,347
    3. Breaking Dawn I 2011:     $701,989,889
    4. Breaking Dawn II 2012:          ???
  • It's not just the movie revenue, it's the entire franchise.
  • Lions Gate's stock went up drastically after purchasing the studio (Summit Entertainment) that produces Twilight Saga series in January 2012, and it went up in Feb 2012 when they announced that the Part I DVD will be released. 
  • Ever since the Twilight Purchase Lions Gate's stock has performed better when compared to the rest of its competitors in the industry, and it seems like Breaking Dawn II could be a happy finale both plot and revenue wise. :)
Inline image 3

  • Industry: Entertainment 
    • Don't have a separate one for Walt Disney Studio Entertainment, but this could be better.
  • Same logic as Lions Gate (I went through all the upcoming movies in the next three months trying to identify the upcoming "blockbuster movies" 
  • Disney's animations have always been a hit worldwide, appealing to kids and adults:
    1. Tangled (2010):             $590,721,936
    2. Cars 2 (2011):                $191,450,875
    3. Toy Story 3 (2011):       $1,063,171,911
    4. Wreck-It Ralph (2012):           ???
  • Wreck-It Ralph Trailer:
  • Diversity: From its ownership of parks and resorts, consumer products, TV stations, etc., it could be a horizontal victory for Disney all around because of Wreck-It Ralph
    • Disney world
    • Lunch bags
    • Toys
    • T-shirts
    • TV show (e.g., The Emperor's New Groove -> The Emperor's New School)
  • Glad to hear Mary's friend in finance approves!


Upcoming movies include:
  • Mirage
    • Silver Linings Playbook (November 21)
  • FOX
    • Life of Pi (November 21)
  • DreamWorks
    • Rise of Guardians (November 21)
Evidently (or not so evidently), Twilight and Wreck-It Ralph are going to be the winners in the next 3 months. :)

Engaged to Engagement

I think if we are talking about internet audience measuring and engagement, one company to mention is Facebook.

Although Facebook's stock IPO has been unsatisfying, they have a great way of being able to monitor audience engagement. With 11 billion users and half visiting each day, it is interesting to compare those numbers to the 111 million people who watched this years Superbowl.

“Every day on Facebook, we have five Super Bowls, which means you can reach that many people,”-Sheryl Sandburg, Facebook's Operating Chief to CNBC.

The Super Bowl is known for having pricey ad slots because of the huge audience, but if we can now attract 5 times that amount EVERYDAY for cheaper slots, now that is evolution. 

That being said, audiences are evolving and now we know who to target for research--tablet users! IgnitionOne released research that showed people who used tablets spent 30% more time on a site and 20% higher engagement levels than PC users. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What can the traditional media do?

While google, facebook, and lots of “new media” appear to share the advertising market, what can the traditional media do?

Some television, newspaper, and magazine companies start to sell their news.

When I worked in a public affair department that had money to buy media advertisement, some media provided special packages which included advertisements and some “news” to the customers. For instance, a client who buy the package from a television channel can advertise their products or services through the advertisement. The client also can ask the television company to “make” some news. Once the client needs, the television will send their reporters and photographers to gather information, manufacture these information into news, and broadcast the “news” randomly.

As an audience, I think the behavior of the traditional media is like committing suicide. If a media can price their news, then their news should be worthless. However, while facing the challenge of new media, what can the traditional media do?

Is audience engagement media effects studies in disguise?

I somehow get the sense from reading Napoli's discussion on "engagement" that maybe what is really of interest is "media effects" from Communication. Specifically, how effective advertisements or product placements are in leading to purchases (p. 98). 

In the field of Communication, at least in terms of scholarly conception of media effects, we have witnessed the shift from "powerful effects" (i.e., the magic bullet theory), "minimal effects" (i.e., limited effects) to "moderate effects" (i.e., contingency effects). While the debate is on-going, there is general consensus that mass media are not all-powerful, but that their effects depend on many factors such as audience characteristics, environmental influence, medium specificity, etc. 

It sounds like most media professionals still operate under the powerful effects paradigm in their attempt to understand and measure audience behaviors, and perhaps it is in their best interest to believe in such a framework since they've already poured so much money into the business, but what if they are wrong?  What if, like Communication scholars find, powerful effects don't exist? 

Regardless of how advanced audience metrics or how fancy advertisements become, audiences are evolving at the same time too. Such co-evolution will always, at least I'd like to believe, thwart media effects because we learn to adapt to the new environment to minimize unwanted stimuli (e.g., how many of us really "see" pop-up ads these days anymore?). In a way, maybe this suggests that audience metrics will never be satisfactory to advertisers if their ultimate criterion is to be able to perfectly identify and measure factors that influence purchasing behaviors. 

Perhaps I am overly simplistic in making this statement, but on some days I think maybe the only "media effects theory" that really counts is priming (in the sense that some scholars argue agenda-setting is a kind of priming effect, and framing is not a 'theory' per se), and I wonder if advertisers are doing themselves a disservice whenever they deviate too far from the basic principles of priming in their attempt to manipulate human desires and take over the world...

The transformation of readers into revenue.

Response to “The transformation of audience information systems”

In the news media environment, the analytic evolution of audience behaviors has been developed by advertising companies, who are the most sensitive stakeholders for the audience behaviors. Even though many contents providers, such as movie makers, have also been conducting researches on audience behaviors, news contents providers, such as newspapers, have been less sensitive to the audience behaviors than advertising companies as well as entertainment industry.

It is because news contents providers rely on their contents production based on the relationship with news sources, which implies a lack of audience engagement in content production. However, in the new media environment, the audience is not considered as passive consumers any longer. They are involved in the news production by adding their comments and raising their voice online, which affect news stories. Their opinions are even included in the news stories.

Before the advent of new technology, news producers could not figure out how news contents consumers responded to their contents. Maybe, aggregated public polls revealed the behavioral responses of news consumers in the past. However, traits of footprints on any visit to news articles show the interests and behavioral responses of news consumers. Their clicking actions can be tracked down, revealing their interconnected interests beyond the news articles.

The research in the field of Artificial Intelligence tries to figure out how online users’ comments are actually leading to the purchasing behaviors. The accuracy of prediction is approximately beyond 70 percent. Therefore, applying those analytic approaches to the news contents will be beneficial to increase advertising revenues by analyzing how opinions of reader comments are related to certain interest in the products. Since the most active news consumers are those expressing their opinions on the reader comments section, plenty of textual information can lead news media to bring more revenues to link their interest to certain products.

Mobile ad market: The worst of both worlds?

There seem to be competing forces at work with the ever-enhanced online audience information metrics that Napoli writes about: On the one hand, these new opportunities for metrics are letting advertisers and the media companies they buy from to gather more and more information about customers, which should allow the advertisers to more closely target their ads and enable the media companies to charge more for them.

On the other hand, they're also revealing the dirty little secret about advertising -- that people don't pay much attention to it, and they don't do much with it, either. Advertisers are wising up to this, increasingly paying only for performance rather than exposure.

So one of those factors would be driving online ad prices up, and the other one would be driving them down.  As we discussed in class, it seems pretty clear that the latter factor is winning out -- online ad prices remain in the basement, despite every attempt by online media providers to pull them up.

It seems the trend is only more severe in mobile media, as I saw in this Ad Age report. The report focused on a study that found that CPM rates are only one-fifth on mobile ads what they are for desktop web ads. As the article says, mobile media presents a unique set of challenges: smaller screen size, short user sessions, and -- here's the kicker -- "privacy settings restrict targeting."

So not only do mobile media companies have the difficulty of selling advertising on an even more difficult and advertiser-unfriendly medium than the web, but they also lose out on the one big benefit with the online ad transformation -- the ability to target closely defined groups and charge higher rates. It really is the worst of both worlds for them right now.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Logan's Stocks

Apple: Expected to announce a new iPad

Gannett: Redesigned USA Today

Activitions Blizzard: Pioneering video game business models

Online Advertising

Current Advertising Trends

Why the gap between time spent on the Internet and online advertising revenue?

1. advertisers are lagging behind,
2. we haven't found the best online ad design,
Or because the Internet maximizes our choices -- yet when people are given such choices, they choose to avoid ads!

TV Networks File Legal Claims Saying Skipping Commercials Is Copyright Infringement

Mary's Stock Picks

So, I've decided to go with Disney and Sirius XM for the stock portfolio.


  • Diluted earnings per share had a 31% increase from last year's third quarter earnings
  • Increased in multiple segments including Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Consumer Products and Interactive
  • Also, Disney World is expanding, so right now the capital expenditures had an increase, but should have an increase if park capital due to the opening of Fantasyland.

Sirius XM

  • Strong earnings for the remainder of the year (good for our short term project)
  • Unlike Pandora, Sirius XM does have its own content (Shows, etc)
  • The PE Ratio is 4.8, good earnings growth

Links for my media stock portfolio presentation

News Corp.:

The company's impending split

Murdoch discount


Online and server growth

Samsung suit


Fall movie preview

Fisher Communications:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Advertising for Journalism or Journalism for Advertising?

As I was reading the chapter by Bettig & Hall, it’s interesting to find that the “seeds” of objectivity, which has been deemed one of the most important occupational norms in journalism and, thus, evolved into a kind of moral philosophy, is partly (or deeply) associated with advertisers rather than with the purpose of journalism itself in American journalism history. That is, “the journalistic norm of objectivity was actually invented to help wire service stories across the land: to ease owner’s fears of alienating audiences and, increasingly, advertisers.”

Some studies have argued that the border between journalism and advertising in contemporary media is being increasingly blurred as a consequence of rapid commercialization. It seems that the ideology of advertising – selling capitalism – has been steeped in contemporary journalism and media organizations can no longer openly declare an ideology that is contrary to the logic of economics. I believe that advertisers determine not only the structure of media industries but also news contents with their money. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle holds that "the ends of the master arts are to be preferred to all the subordinate ends; for it is for the sake of the former that the latter are pursued." In this context, is it my overanxiety to anticipate that in the near future journalism would be the subordinate activity for advertising – journalism falls under advertising – and unethical journalistic behavior would be becoming more common for advertising revenue?

Agencies will dodge the "Googlanche"

I love a good fairytale. What Jeff Jarvis wrote was a fairytale, which would be titled "A World Without Advertising." Yes, I'm sure it would be all in good fun to not have any consequences to watching Youtube videos. If we took away the agency, and allow the client to advertise themselves, then we would be polluted with even more terrible advertising than we already have.  Pretty much all those terrible ads that make it were preceded by great creative works of art, that were cut by the client. I think that's the most frustrating/depressing thing about being a creative in advertising. School is great because you have that creative freedom. I see so many brilliant advertising, but most of it lies in the pages of Communication Arts or the ADDY'S.

Letting that creative freedom go to the customers? Eh, I don't think so. Yes, some really fun ads have been shown thanks to companies like Doritos, who hold a contest for consumers to create an ad, and have it aired during the Super Bowl. But of the thousands and thousands of entries, how many of those do you think are Super Bowl worthy? Not many. And I hate to tell Jarvis this, but a lot of people who enter that contest are advertising students! Companies love using advertising students, because their ideas are fresh, free, and they have not yet had to nurse their wounds inflicted on them by the client. Customers are the new ad agency, because they are budding advertisers. And when you think about it, customers have always been advertisers because of word of mouth.

Funny how Jarvis wanted to kick off agencies because of its lack of personalization, while predicting Google as the only advertiser of the future. I'd like to see a computer put together a great OOH (Out of Home) piece.

What are we & what do we want?

I am intrigued by exploring the origin of western journalism and its relation to modern journalism and its problems -- In Bettig & Hall, they talk about how journalism really started in the late 15th century in Venice when the printing press found profit in informing political and business elites up-to-date information about the market and political sphere -- in other words, it functioned a lot like the Financial Times today, a niche product that focuses on a particular group of people who derive personal benefits from such consumption -- these elites paid for the news then because the content was of utility to their daily lives...  

But if we fast forward to the 21st century with the new news paradigm and the new targeted audiences (which evidently went from the political and business elites to mass audiences in the era of commercial journalism), it seems hard to argue that the general public would have the same kind of "needs" for what is now considered news to the point that it justifies and necessitates purchase.  Just like what Logan and I discussed in class last week -- the problem, or one of the problems, with the news industry today is that it is trying to make people pay for something without people's knowing exactly "why" they should need the information that they are being asked to pay for.

Can "news needs" be cultivated? I believe so, but I think it would require the news industry to reevaluate what "news" means and what it is that the audiences lack.  This is connected to Jarvis' discussion of Google -- Google listens to its audience's demands in every way possible -- both legitimately and sometimes even seemingly creepily; moreover, Google creates the kinds of demand and dependence that consumers have for its products at the price of zero (e.g., I can't imagine living without gmail nowadays even though I know Google creepily analyzes everything I write and receive in my emails to better figure out how to serve me 'useful ads') that it offers advertisers ample opportunities to reach and seduce us. 

It may not be individual journalists' job to "listen" to what their audiences want, but I think it is the news industry's responsibility to figure out how to offer the kinds of news that is relevant and important enough to their targeted audiences to the point that they will be willing to pay for it --The news industry needs to stop blaming the audiences. Who in their right mind would be willing to pay for something that is not considered "useful?"   

What are we? Product or customer? 
Maybe it's time the news media figure this out...

p.s. Watch this clip that I think epitomizes how well Google "listens":

All the news constraint to the financial structure

Response to : News and Advertising Industries: All the News That Fit

I confess that I did not like the staff at the advertising department when I worked as a reporter. It was not simply for my personal preference, but more by my professional value as a journalist. As the article elaborated the influence of the advertising on the news content, I believed that their direct or indirect influence on news contents exist and they would hurt the core values of journalism, such as objectivity and its role as watchdog. I do still believe that they have negative effect on the high quality of journalism.

While reading the article, ‘News and Advertising Industries: All the News That Fits’, I sensed that the symbiotic relationship between news contents and advertising is more closed related to each other than I expected. Subjective news articles are presented in a name of objectivity. It is because objectivity is a normative rule that nobody can deny even though nobody believes in the existence of objectivity. In terms of objectivity, I am not talking about technical ‘fair and balance’, but more about subjective human nature.

In light of that, the principle of ‘serving for community’ that many local papers claim can be another normative rule that anyone welcomes. But, ‘serving for community’ can be an elusive slogan just like objectivity. As objectivity cannot exist due to the subjective human nature, ‘serving for community’ is constrained to the financial structure of news media. Since geographical boundary is set up for most of local newspapers, more emphasis on local community benefits the advertisers. Advertisers are not only just purchasers of newspapers, but they are also leading business leaders in the local community. Therefore, covering their stories can be closely related to the advertising revenues for the newspapers.

It will be worthy to take a look at the structural constraint to which news media lie in understanding how organizations behave in the market. It is hard to admit that autonomous journalists are bounded to structural limitations. But, better journalism will be achieved by understanding where we are locked in, thinking free from normative rule of thumb.