Archive for the ‘media and entertainment’ Category

The Economic Divide: How Consumer Behavior Differs Across the Economic Spectrum

September 21, 2012 Comments off

The Economic Divide: How Consumer Behavior Differs Across the Economic Spectrum

Source: Nielsen

Lower-income households represent a high growth opportunity sector for retailers and manufacturers. Over the next ten years, more people will move into the lower-income group, which is expected to grow twice as fast as total households. Over the next ten years, the total number of households in the U.S. is expected to grow by eight percent; however, households closer to the poverty level will grow twice as fast, at 17 percent. To better understand consumers across the economic spectrum, Nielsen conducted an analysis of media usage and purchasing behaviors. Results revealed dramatic differences in the media consumption patterns and delivery platforms across income levels. The same differential was found in CPG shopping behavior, alongside notable similarities in some categories.

The American Media’s Reception of the Filicide Cases of Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, and Casey Anthony

September 20, 2012 Comments off

The American Media’s Reception of the Filicide Cases of Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, and Casey Anthony (PDF)

Source: Utrecht University (Master’s Thesis: American Studies; von Salomon)

These discussions also always entail thoughts about motherhood in America, and how women should and should not behave as females and as mothers. In these demarcations and discussions of motherhood, it seems that the female in America is placed in a highly moralized position. Consequently, a rather basic but nonetheless crucial ideological underpinning of American society influences this work’s analysis.

The Short Stories of Playboy and the Crisis of Masculinity

September 16, 2012 Comments off

The Short Stories of Playboy and the Crisis of Masculinity (PDF)
Source: Utrecht University

We look at the world through media. They bring us the news; they bring us entertainment, science, art. They influence the way we view the world. In a way, they influence who we are. This does not mean that they change a person from one day to the next, but they co-determine structures of thought. One specific area in which the role of media becomes clear is gender – perhaps best described as the culturally defined and self-defined aspects of one’s identity relating to being a ‘man,’ a ‘woman,’ or perhaps something else. Different media propagate ideal images of what it means to be a man or a woman, and in our daily lives these ideal images are not often questioned.

This observation lies at the foundation of this thesis. My initial plan was to examine the ways in which media (re-)present gender identity. In particular, I wanted to examine male gender identity. The first ensuing issue was that as a historian, the historicity of gender and media needs to be acknowledged. In other words, media and masculinities are fluid and change over time. The second issue was that ‘media’ was too wide a category. Since this thesis is of a limited scope, I needed to demarcate the research further.

Ultimately, I chose one case-study of a magazine in a specific historical context: Playboy in 1950s America. The American 1950s were interesting given the subject, since a lot of literature discusses some sort of perceived ‘crisis of masculinity’ – it was a time where historical developments caused tensions with contemporary male identities that required a re-thinking of masculinity. Playboy was perhaps one of the most iconic examples of this re-thinking. The magazine offered a specific masculine identity that reacted to the contemporary gender identity crisis.

In a way, a magazine is a patchwork: It consists of differing elements, from articles to pictorials to advertisements. In order to explore male identity in the magazine in more detail, I chose to highlight one element: short stories. One of the features in Playboy that appeared from its start in December 1953 were short works of fiction. Moreover, these appeared on a highly regular basis. Therefore, the short stories made for an ample amount of source material.

The goal of this thesis is thus to answer the following research question: “How do the short stories in Playboy Magazine (re-)present a male identity in the context of the American 1950s?”

The Cross-Platform Report: How and Where Content is Watched

September 11, 2012 Comments off

The Cross-Platform Report: How and Where Content is Watched
Source: Nielsen

According to the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, Americans spend nearly 35 hours per week watching video across screens, and close to another five hours using the Internet on a computer. Consumers are not turning off their devices, and there is no doubt that they are faced with more choices in terms of how they watch video content. Shifts in the distribution of time spent across all screens and devices demonstrate that more consumers are taking advantage of their increased ability to determine what, how and where they view content.

Free registration required to download full report.

TED Reveals Top 20 Most-Watched Talks, Sir Ken Robinson Tops The List

August 28, 2012 Comments off

TED Reveals Top 20 Most-Watched Talks, Sir Ken Robinson Tops The List

Source: TechCrunch

TED tabulated data from its top sources including, YouTube, Hulu, iTunes, and several others. Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 talk about how schools kill creativity tops the list with 13,409,417 views. It’s followed by brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor’s epic story about suffering a stroke — and documenting her body shutting down. Next is Pranav Mistry, David Gallo and then again by Pranav Mistry and Pattie Maes with an astounding demo of SixthSense, a wearable projection computer. Further down the list is Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs, Stephen Hawking, and Mary Roach’s talk on 10 things you didn’t know about an orgasm. It’s an impressive collection of fascinating lectures.

Hat tip: PW

Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations

August 22, 2012 Comments off

Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

For the second time in a decade, the believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines. In the new survey, positive believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested. This follows a similar downturn in positive believability ratings that occurred between 2002 and 2004.

The falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as the New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR.

Across all 13 news organizations included in the survey, the average positive believability rating (3 or 4 on a 4-point scale) is 56%. In 2010, the average positive rating was 62%. A decade ago, the average rating for the news organizations tested was 71%. Since 2002, every news outlet’s believability rating has suffered a double-digit drop, except for local daily newspapers and local TV news. The New York Times was not included in this survey until 2004, but its believability rating has fallen by 13 points since then.

These are among the major findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted July 19-22 among 1,001 adults. The survey asks people to rate individual news organizations on believability using a 4-point scale. A rating of 4 means someone believes “all or most” of what the news organization says; a rating of 1 means someone believes “almost nothing” of what they say.

The believability ratings for individual news organizations – like views of the news media generally – have long been divided along partisan lines. But partisan differences have grown as Republicans’ views of the credibility of news outlets have continued to erode. Today, there are only two news organizations – Fox News and local TV news – that receive positive believability ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. A decade ago, there were only two news organizations that did not get positive ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. By contrast, Democrats generally rate the believability of news organizations positively; majorities of Democrats give all the news organizations tested ratings of 3 or 4 on the 4-point scale, with the exception of Fox News.

FTC Tells Consumers They May Be Due a Refund If They Purchased Disney- or Marvel Hero-themed Children’s Vitamins

August 19, 2012 Comments off

FTC Tells Consumers They May Be Due a Refund If They Purchased Disney- or Marvel Hero-themed Children’s Vitamins
Source: Federal Trade Commission

Have you purchased Disney- or Marvel Hero-themed vitamins for your kids during the last few years – vitamins that featured characters such as the Disney Princesses, Winnie the Pooh, Finding Nemo, and Spider-Man? If so, the Federal Trade Commission wants you to know that you may be due a refund.

The FTC is providing these refunds as a result of a settlement with a vitamin marketer named NBTY Inc. and two subsidiaries, which agreed to pay $2.1 million to settle charges that they made false health claims about their multivitamins.

The vitamins were sold by major retailers such as CVS Pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger, Kmart, Meijer, and Rite Aid, as well as online. The FTC urges consumers who believe they may have purchased them between May 1, 2008 and September 30, 2010, to file a claim online, or call 866-224-4336 and request a paper claim form in the mail. Eligible consumers will have until October 12, 2012 to file their claims.

The Cost of Connectivity

August 13, 2012 Comments off

The Cost of Connectivity

Source: New America Foundation

In this study, we compare high-speed Internet offerings in 22 cities around the world by price, download and upload speed, and bundled services. We have included some of the most relevant findings from our research in the report that follows, as well as a discussion of policy recommendations for the U.S. The report includes:

  • A comparison of "triple play" offerings that bundle Internet, phone, and television services;
  • A survey of the best available Internet plan for approximately $35 USD in each city;
  • A comparison of the fastest Internet available in each city.

The results indicate that U.S. consumers in major cities tend to pay higher prices for slower speeds compared to consumers abroad. For example, when comparing triple play packages in the 22 cities surveyed, consumers in Paris can purchase a 100 Mbps bundle of television, telephone, and high-speed Internet service for the equivalent of approximately $35 (adjusted for PPP). By contrast, in Lafayette, LA, the top American city, the cheapest available package costs around $65 and includes just a 6 Mbps Internet connection. A comparison of Internet plans available for around $35 shows similar results. Residents of Hong Kong have access to Internet service with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 500 Mbps while residents of New York City and Washington, D.C. will pay the equivalent price for Internet service with maximum download speeds that are 20 times slower (up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 2 Mbps).

The results add weight to a growing body of evidence that suggests that the U.S. is lagging behind many of its international counterparts, most of whom have much higher levels of competition and, in turn, offer lower prices and faster Internet service. It suggests that policymakers need to re-evaluate our current policy approaches to increase competition and encourage more affordable high-speed Internet service in the U.S.

A Live Comparison of Methods for Personalized Article Recommendation at

August 12, 2012 Comments off

A Live Comparison of Methods for Personalized Article Recommendation at
Source: HP Labs

We present the results of a multi-phase study to optimize strategies for generating personalized article recommendations at the web site. In the first phase we compared the performance of a variety of recommendation methods on historical data. In the second phase we deployed a live system at for five months on a sample of 82,000 users, each randomly assigned to one of 20 methods. We analyze the live results both in terms of click- through rate (CTR) and user session lengths. The method with the best CTR was a hybrid of collaborative-filtering and a content-based method that leverages Wikipedia-based concept features, post- processed by a novel Bayesian remapping technique that we introduce. It both statistically significantly beat decayed popularity and increased CTR by 37%.

The Association between Online Gaming, Social Phobia, and Depression: an Internet Survey

August 4, 2012 Comments off

The Association between Online Gaming, Social Phobia, and Depression: an Internet Survey

Source: BMC Psychiatry


Online gaming technology has developed rapidly within the past decade, and its related problems have received increasing attention. However, there are few studies on the psychiatric symptoms associated with excessive use of online games. The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of online gamers, and the association between online gaming hours, social phobia, and depression using an internet survey.


An online questionnaire was designed and posted on a popular online game websites, inviting the online gamers to participate the survey. The content of the questionnaire included demographic data, profiles of internet usage and online gaming, and self-rating scales of Depression and Somatic Symptoms Scale (DSSS), Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN), and Chen Internet Addiction Scale (CIAS).


A total of 722 online gamers with a mean age of 21.8 +/- 4.9 years completed the online survey within one month. 601 (83.2 %) participants were male, and 121 (16.8 %) were female. The mean weekly online gaming time was 28.2 +/- 19.7 hours, which positively associated with history of online gaming (r=0.245, p<0.001), total DSSS (r=0.210, p<0.001), SPIN (r=0.150, p<0.001), and CIAS (r=0.290, p<0.001) scores. The female players had a shorter history of online gaming (6.0+/-3.1 vs. 7.2+/-3.6 years, p=0.001) and shorter weekly online gaming hours (23.2+/-17.0 vs. 29.2+/-20.2 hours, p=0.002), but had higher DSSS (13.0+/-9.3 vs. 10.9+/-9.7, p=0.032) and SPIN (22.8+/-14.3 vs. 19.6+/-13.5, p=0.019) scores than the male players. The linear regression model showed that higher DSSS scores were associated with female gender, higher SPIN scores, higher CIAS scores, and longer weekly online gaming hours, with controlling for age and years of education.


The online gamers with longer weekly gaming hours tended to have a longer history of online gaming, and more severe depressive, social phobic, and internet addiction symptoms. Female online gamers had fewer weekly online gaming hours and a shorter previous online gaming history, but tended to have more severe somatic, pain, and social phobic symptoms. The predictors for depression were higher social phobic symptom, higher internet addiction symptoms, longer online gaming hours, and female gender.

World Cities Culture Report 2012

August 2, 2012 Comments off

World Cities Culture Report 2012 (PDF)
Source: Mayor of London (UK)

The Mayor of London’s World Cities Culture Report 2012 is the biggest international survey of its kind. It has collected an unprecedented amount of data on the scope and impact of the cultural assets and activities that are produced and consumed in 12 major cities:
New York
São Paulo
Using 60 indicators and reports from each of the participating cities, the World Cities Culture Report 2012 shows that culture is seen as important as finance and trade and sits at the heart of public policy.

Newspaper and Internet Display Advertising – Co-Existence or Substitution?

July 29, 2012 Comments off

Newspaper and Internet Display Advertising – Co-Existence or Substitution? (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

Newspapers have been experiencing declining circulation figures and diminishing advertising revenues for several years – both effects might pose a threat to the continuing existence of (print) newspapers. In an earlier paper, Lindstädt & Budzinski (2011) argued from a theoretical viewpoint that industry-specific patterns exist that determine substitution or complementation effects between internet and newspaper advertising. It was argued that retail advertising, in particular, may offer a niche for regional/local newspapers that can be expected to present a sustainable segment of complementarity along with the otherwise mostly substitutional advertising markets. This paper empirically tests these hypotheses by analyzing advertising spending data for newspaper and internet display advertising of 13 different industries in the U.S. from 2001-2010. We find evidence for some of the hypotheses. Whereas some industries showed clear substitution effects between internet display and newspaper advertising, the majority of our hypotheses could be only partly rejected: newspaper substi-tution effects could be observed, however, in the direction to traditional media platforms instead of internet display advertising. For two retail-sub-industries, the hypotheses could not be rejected for the analyzed period. The authors would like to thank the College of Communications at the Pennsylvania State University and in particular Anne Hoag and Dennis Davis for hosting Nadine Lindstädt as a Research Visiting Scholar in 2010/2011 which made it possible to access and use the Kantar Media Intelligence Ad$pender™ database for this research.

News Objectivity and Political Conversation: An Experimental Study of Mad Cow Disease and Candlelight Protest

July 27, 2012 Comments off

News Objectivity and Political Conversation: An Experimental Study of Mad Cow Disease and Candlelight Protest (PDF)

Source:  Development and Society

This study examines how journalistic objectivity in relation to interpersonal communication plays a role in democratic development driven by civic engagement. According to public journalists who candidly express their subjective opinions and contentious arguments in news reporting, the journalistic norm of objectivity has been blamed for causing public cynicism because it deteriorates civic participation. Focusing on the 2008 mad cow disease upheaval, an experiment was conducted to determine whether or not objective reporting actually inhibits political participation and whether or not a news article reinforcing a specific position promotes civic engagement in the candlelight protest. College students were recruited and given two types of news articles as experimental stimuli to measure their attitude towards political protest. The result indicates that the impact of news article types on the subjects’ intention to participate depends on their level of conversation with fellow citizens. For subjects who conversed frequently with others on the issue, the objective article enhanced their intention to participate in the protest. The reinforcing article enhanced participation among those who had a low level of conversation with fellow citizens. Therefore, this paper draws implications on the relationship between journalism and participatory democracy.

Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story

July 20, 2012 Comments off

Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story
Source: Social Science Research Network

Copyright has an innovation problem. Judicial decisions, private enforcement, and public dialogue ignore innovation and overemphasize the harms of copyright infringement. Just to pick one example, “piracy,” “theft,” and “rogue websites” were the focus of debate in connection with the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). But such a debate ignores the effect of copyright law and enforcement on innovation. Even though innovation is the most important factor in economic growth, it is difficult to observe, especially in comparison to copyright infringement.

This article addresses this problem. It presents the results of a groundbreaking study of 31 CEOs, company founders, and vice-presidents from technology companies, the recording industry, and venture capital firms. Based on in-depth interviews, the article offers original insights on the relationship between copyright law and innovation. It also analyzes the behavior of the record labels when confronted with the digital music revolution. And it traces innovators’ and investors’ reactions to the district court’s injunction in the case involving peer-to-peer (p2p) service Napster.

The Napster ruling presents an ideal setting for a natural experiment. As the first decision to enjoin a p2p service, it presents a crucial data point from which we can trace effects on innovation and investment. This article concludes that the Napster decision reduced innovation and that it led to a venture capital “wasteland.” The article also explains why the record labels reacted so sluggishly to the distribution of digital music. It points to retailers, lawyers, bonuses, and (consistent with the “Innovator’s Dilemma”) an emphasis on the short term and preservation of existing business models.

The article also steps back to look at copyright litigation more generally. It demonstrates the debilitating effects of lawsuits and statutory damages. It gives numerous examples, in the innovators’ own words, of the effects of personal liability. It traces the possibilities of what we have lost from the Napster decision and from copyright litigation generally. And it points to losses to innovation, venture capital, markets, licensing, and the “magic” of music.

The story of innovation in digital music is a fascinating one that has been ignored for too long. This article aims to fill this gap, ensuring that innovation plays a role in today’s copyright debates.

Increases in Individualistic Words and Phrases in American Books, 1960–2008

July 20, 2012 Comments off

Increases in Individualistic Words and Phrases in American Books, 1960–2008
Source: PLoS ONE

Cultural products such as song lyrics, television shows, and books reveal cultural differences, including cultural change over time. Two studies examine changes in the use of individualistic words (Study 1) and phrases (Study 2) in the Google Books Ngram corpus of millions of books in American English. Current samples from the general population generated and rated lists of individualistic words and phrases (e.g., “unique,” “personalize,” “self,” “all about me,” “I am special,” “I’m the best”). Individualistic words and phrases increased in use between 1960 and 2008, even when controlling for changes in communal words and phrases. Language in American books has become increasingly focused on the self and uniqueness in the decades since 1960.

US advertising expenditure trends : long run effects and structural changes with new media introductions

July 19, 2012 Comments off

US advertising expenditure trends : long run effects and structural changes with new media introductions (PDF)

Source:  Research Papers in Economics

In this paper we examine the historical time series of US advertising  expenditure on different media, using a long-run equilibrium model, and whether the introduction of new media (TV, Yellow Pages, cable and the internet) created a significant structural change in the advertising industry. We use a multivariate vector error  correction model allowing for broken trends. Our results show that internet and cable media cause a substantive shift only on the evolution of newspapers and outdoor, respectively, whereas TV and yellow pages entries create fundamental change in the spending levels of all incumbents, except for direct mail. We also find that the longrun elasticity between total advertising expenditures and the GDP is negative, implying that total advertising has counter-cyclical behavior. Furthermore, in the long-run, an increase in the internet investment results in a decrease in newspapers as well as magazines’ investment.

Proud to Be an American: Perceptions of American Patriotism Portrayed Through Captain America Comic Books, 1941-2009

July 19, 2012 Comments off

Proud to Be an American: Perceptions of American Patriotism Portrayed Through Captain America Comic Books, 1941-2009 (PDF)

Source:  Historia: the Alpha Rho Papers
Patriotism, while easily defined as “love of one’s country” is not easily quantified. Patriotism is neither constant through space nor is it constant through time. Simply put, what constitutes patriotism depends on who is defining it. The United States of America has often been described as being a patriotic country and yet the idea of Patriotism continues to be a divisive and controversial ideal in America. One of the United States of America’s greatest symbols of patriotism in popular culture is Captain America. Created during the World War II, Captain America has defined patriotism for the youth of America, not only reflecting ideas of popular patriotism, but in ways shaping them. This paper seeks to analyze changing perceptions of patriotism since World War II through Captain America comic books. This will not only demonstrate where patriotism has come, but demonstrate the divisiveness of patriotism throughout United States history, how patriotism has be constantly reinvented throughout United States history, and where patriotism may be headed during the post-911 world.

New Media-Same Stereotypes: An Analysis of Social Media Depicitions of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

July 19, 2012 Comments off

New Media-Same Stereotypes: An Analysis of Social Media Depicitions of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

Source: Journal of New Media and Culture

To remain relevant, it is necessary for media scholars to test theories in new media environments. Building on feminist and critical race theory, this textual analysis investigates Facebook photos and pages targeting President Barack and Michelle Obama in 2011-12. Findings indicate Facebook fans build on historical stereotypes and cultural narratives to frame the two negatively. Representations often depict them as evil, animalistic and socially deviant. Study findings demonstrate that historical representations of Blacks are strong and have an impact on modern portrayals. This topic is particularly important today in this age dubbed “post-racial” to depict an era in which U.S. citizens elected the first black president. In addition to identifying the nuances of Facebook hate groups, this study explores historical representations of African Americans, discusses how they transcend to a new media platform and offers implications for future research. To navigate the rapidly changing media climate, students and media scholars must learn how to read and critically dissect Web content. This paper provides a good foundation upon which to build.

See: New media, old messages: Obama and family are target of ‘blackface’ racism on Facebook (EurekAlert!)

YouTube & News: A New Kind of Visual News

July 17, 2012 Comments off

YouTube & News: A New Kind of Visual News
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism (Pew Research Center)

What is the nature of news on YouTube? What types of events “go viral” and attract the most viewers? How does this agenda differ from that of the traditional news media? Do the most popular videos on YouTube tend to be videos produced by professional news organizations, by citizens or by political interest groups or governments? How long does people’s attention seem to last?

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 15 months’ worth of the most popular news videos on the site (January 2011 to March 2012) — some 260 different videos in all-by identifying and tracking the five most-viewed videos each week located in the “news & politics” channel of YouTube, analyzing the nature of the video, the topics that were viewed most often, who produced them and who posted them.

The data reveal that a complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news organizations on YouTube, a relationship that comes close to the continuous journalistic “dialogue” many observers predicted would become the new journalism online. Citizens are creating their own videos about news and posting them. They are also actively sharing news videos produced by journalism professionals. And news organizations are taking advantage of citizen content and incorporating it into their journalism. Consumers, in turn, seem to be embracing the interplay in what they watch and share, creating a new kind of television news.

At the same time, clear ethical standards have not developed on how to attribute the video content moving through the synergistic sharing loop. Even though YouTube offers guidelines on how to attribute content, it’s clear that not everyone follows them, and certain scenarios fall outside those covered by the guidelines. News organizations sometimes post content that was apparently captured by citizen eyewitnesses without any clear attribution as to the original producer. Citizens are posting copyrighted material without permission. And the creator of some material cannot be identified. All this creates the potential for news to be manufactured, or even falsified, without giving audiences much ability to know who produced it or how to verify it.

Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis

July 13, 2012 Comments off

Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis

Source: British Medical Journal (open)


To determine the impact of sitting and television viewing on life expectancy in the USA.


Prevalence-based cause-deleted life table analysis.


Summary RRs of all-cause mortality associated with sitting and television viewing were obtained from a meta-analysis of available prospective cohort studies. Prevalences of sitting and television viewing were obtained from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Primary outcome measure

Life expectancy at birth.


The estimated gains in life expectancy in the US population were 2.00 years for reducing excessive sitting to <3 h/day and a gain of 1.38 years from reducing excessive television viewing to <2 h/day. The lower and upper limits from a sensitivity analysis that involved simultaneously varying the estimates of RR (using the upper and lower bounds of the 95% CI) and the prevalence of television viewing (±20%) were 1.39 and 2.69 years for sitting and 0.48 and 2.51 years for television viewing, respectively.


Reducing sedentary behaviours such as sitting and television viewing may have the potential to increase life expectancy in the USA.


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