Showing posts with label Media Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media Management. Show all posts

Monday, 6 March 2017

Is it important for media content provider to understand its audience? If yes, how do they do it?

three different ways to understand

The most important source of revenue for a media house is through its advertisers. For advertisers, media is the most used and the most important medium for propagating and communicating about their products. But, no media business can exist without content that attracts consumers, or audiences, because audiences are those people to whom a media product is directed. Advertisers are keenly aware that the kinds of content they produce, distribute and exhibit must be attractive to audiences if money is to flow their way instead of to their competitors.

Though advertisers and media outlets are mutually helpful to each other, but their main target audiences are the customers, who depending on the advertisements decide upon their interests and preferences and then respond positively to these advertisements. This generates profits for the advertising company, which in turn is the major source of revenue for the media house.

For example, suppose ‘Pantaloons’ has a deal with the leading English daily ‘ The times of India’, then the readers who subscribe the newspaper will notice the advertisement of that particular brand also. This, as described earlier will be useful for both advertisers and media house.

But there are many difficulties associated while identifying the potential customers. The three main issues of concern for media executives are-
  1. How should we think about our audience? How should we define our audience?
  2. Will the material we are thinking of creating, distributing, or exhibiting to attract that audience generate adequate revenues?
  3. Were the people we thought would be attracted to our products in fact attracted to our products? Why or why not?

Executives who are charting the direction of media firms do not think about the members of their audience in the same way that they think about themselves. Take, for example, Kritika has a number of attributes associated with her, from physical to financial to emotional and many other factors. So, it becomes really difficult for the executives to know her personally. In fact, they are not really thinking specifically about Kritika at all. Instead, the characteristics that describe Kritika for a particular media are those that the media executives can use when they parade clusters of readers in front of potential advertisers as types of people the advertisers can reach through their media. Now, there might be some of her attributes which might make her attractive to a particular brand and certain other attributes to some other brand. These are the attributes that major advertisers consider when they think about buying space in media like newspapers, magazines, television and other medium of broadcasting. Now let’s consider an example, If Kritika is a 21 year old fashion designing student, then her course and her age might be useful for certain clothing lines and if she is a student who is staying alone in a city away from her parents and is financially unstable, then certain ads for educational loans and other financial aid might be useful for her.

But how does the media house identify such characteristics of the audience?
They do it through certain research, surveys and questionnaires. They even get some of their data from lists that are bought from the companies that bring together information about millions of people and sell that information to media firms.
Since , media outlets gets at least half of its revenue from advertising, its executives wants to keep subscribers who are attractive to advertisers, so they use the information they have about their subscribers that they have identified as being attractive to advertisers, to help them decide what kinds of materials in that particular media will keep these people as subscribers. These identified and selected population segments, then become the desired audience for the media vehicle. Once executives have identified the target segments, they try to learn things about them that will lead to increasing sales. That, in turn leads to more research to understand the groups.

For example, suppose Vaishali is a subscriber to a lifestyle magazine and she has some particular interests. Now, if the magazine is unable to produce content that will keep her glued to the magazine, she will cancel her subscription, which is not good for the business of the magazine.
Thinking about the audience, then, means learning to think of people primarily as consumers of media materials and other products. For media professionals, thinking about people in this way requires a combination of intuition and solid knowledge of the marketplace. When advertisers contribute all or part of a firm’s revenue stream, the firm’s executives have two challenges:

  • They have to create content that will attract audiences,
  • And they must also make sure that the content and the audience it brings in will be attractive to advertisers so that money flows its way, instead of to its competitors.

Sometimes, in fact media executives reverse the order of the questions. They first ask which audiences advertisers want to reach, and then look for ways to attract those audiences. For example, a particular channel has a time slot which caters to a particular genre of viewers, let’s take the channel ‘ Colors’ for instance, the 7-10 pm slot is covered by basically housewives and some young girls who prefer watching television serials. Now, the advertisers covet that particular group, so the important job for the production firms that work with the network is to come up with ideas that will be magnet to that age group.

Therefore, many companies spend a lot of energy deciding which audiences they should pursue ,what those audiences’ characteristics are, and what those audiences like and don’t like. Executives try to verify their intuitions and control their risks with research. In conducting this research, they think about the types of people who make up their audience- that is, they construct their audience- in three different ways which will be explained below with greater detail:

DEMOGRAPHICS: It refers to the characteristics by which people are divided into particular social categories. It’s one of the simplest and most common ways to construct audiences. Media executives focus on those characteristics, or factors, which they believe are most relevant to understanding how and why people use their medium. Demographic indicators include such factors as age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, race, and income. There can be various sub-categories or variants in these demographic characteristics.

PSYCHOGRAPHICS: It’s a way to differentiate among people or groups by categorizing them according to their attitudes, personality types, or motivation. It denotes the grouping of people into homogeneous segments on the basis of above said factors. They classify people according to their attitude towards life and their purchasing habits.


LIFESTYLE CATEGORIES: The third broad way to describe media audiences is by using lifestyle categories- finding activities in which potential audiences are involved that mark them as different from others in the audience or in the population at large. This kind of segmentation is determined by a large number of variables that may be categorized as purchase occasions, benefits sought, user status, or user age rate.

Organizational structure of magazine


Organizational structure of magazine

The above layout describes the usual hierarchy of the organization of the magazine.

Creating a successful magazine is a joint team effort. The major two departments of a magazine are editorial department and business and advertising department.

Editorial Department


Functions-
Magazines hire editors to make sure that each issue is completed and released on time. The editors select articles, edit them and arrange them on the page. They generally do not write articles; however, they monitor and revise the content of articles that are written by staff or freelance writers. They may also write headlines and captions and choose photographs to accompany the articles. Editorial assistants are responsible for answering letters, doing research, fact-checking and screening pieces submitted to the magazine. The final approval of the magazine is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief, who also may contribute editorials, short essays that express the magazine's point of view on current subjects of interest.

The following is the structure of the editorial department-

Editor in Chief
The chief editor oversees the whole content and makes sure the flow of the magazine is seamless. As a top editor, this person is responsible for making all the final decisions and is constantly getting reports from the managing editor, creative director and the executive editor.

Managing Editor
The managing editor is second highest to the editor in chief and is usually in charge of enforcing deadlines, following the editorial calendar and making sure daily tasks are being accomplished by each person, though responsibilities differ from publication to publication. Some managing editors also plan the budget for the magazine. The managing editor is in charge of producing each issue of the magazine. Not only does this person need to stay on top of the production of the upcoming issue, but he or she must also think several issues ahead. A Christmas issue, for instance, should be planned during the summer.

Creative Director
The creative director is in charge of the visual aspect of the magazine and is constantly communicating back and forth with the chief editor. His or her main task is in creating cover concepts and directing photo shoots. This vision is then translated into the layout by the art director, who works in conjunction with the photo editor.

Executive Editor
The executive editor selects the writers, assigns them stories and edits their articles. He or she usually writes the larger stories and the cover headlines that must be short, sweet and catchy. However, in larger magazines, the executive editor may have a staff of editors to oversee such as the features editor and a specializing editor (e.g., fashion or technology).

Editor
The editor is in charge of the non-advertising content of the magazine. The editor’s job is to see that the magazine stays true to its vision so that it will continue to appeal to subscribers and advertisers.

Section editor
A section editor is in charge of the staff of a section of the magazine. This editor makes assignments and controls the budget of the section and is responsible for what the section produces. Depending on its content and organization, a magazine may have several sections.

Design editor
The design editor, sometimes called art director, is in charge of the overall look of the magazine. This editor may have several designers or artists working in the section to lay out the magazine. One of the most important jobs of the design editor is to commission the cover of a magazine – often done by a freelance artist.

Online editor
This person is in charge of the web site of the magazine. Magazine web sites are used not only to display a magazine’s editorial content but also to attract and sign up subscribers.

Writers/contributing editors
These people are paid staff members and are expected to produce certain kinds of copy and articles for each issue of the magazine. Most magazines have relatively free writers on staff.

Copy Editor
A copy editor is one of the few who reads the magazine thoroughly from cover to cover. He or she makes sure the publication has no errors in spelling or grammar and that there is no libel. The copyeditor is charged with reading all of the editorial copy that appears in the magazine to make sure it is properly written and factually correct.

Assistants
An editorial assistant writes small sections, answers calls, makes the coffee and does whatever the editor assigns on a day-to-day basis. An assistant editor has more experience, is given more responsibilities and gets paid higher but is still in the assisting role. 

ROLE OF THE EDITOR

1) He decides what will appear in the magazine’s editorial pages.
2) He keeps the words and images in the magazine consistent with the magazine’s editorial mission.
3) His main concern is to satisfy the needs of the magazine’s audience/readers.
4) His basic job is to oversee the editorial direction and content of the magazine.

Business and Advertising Department

The Publisher
A magazine publisher is the “general manager” for a magazine, responsible for ensuring the financial health of the magazine.
He is in charge of the business aspect of the magazine and is in constant communication with the marketing/promotional director and the associate publisher, who oversees the advertising. Some publishers also serve as editors, but it’s common for a publisher  to keep a “hands off” policy regarding editorial to prevent conflict-of-interest—for example, to keep the desire to please certain advertisers from influencing editorial content.

Associate Publisher
The associate publisher heads the advertising team, makes sales strategies and reports the advertising numbers to the publisher.

Advertising Director
The ad director reports to the associate publisher and manages account executives while networking, selling, finding leads and training new recruits.

Account Executives
Account executives sell ad spaces by contacting media buyers and decision makers in different companies and businesses. Their task is to make creative proposals and convincing presentations to close as many deals as possible.

Director of Finance
The director of finance oversees the financial aspect of the magazine business and makes sure that expenses don’t exceed revenue. Budgets are given to each department.

Marketing Director
The marketing director is in charge of creating value beyond the page. He or she handles the market research and reports the trends, gathers statistics and intelligence about the potential advertiser’s brand and plans events and programs.

Circulation Director
The circulation director is in charge of the distribution of the magazine, which includes subscriptions and newsstand management. Part of the circulation department is the planning and fulfillment manager who makes sure that the distribution goals are successfully implemented.

ROLES OF THE PUBLISHER

1) He is the one responsible for all the operations of the magazine.
2) A strategist who sets challenging but achievable goals
3) He knows his readers and his advertisers.
4) Using possible resources(personal experience, market research, current economic and business press)
5) Prime mover in the development of new products that can be developed.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Media Industry as Manufacture of Consent & Content


Media Industry

Media, also known as the fourth pillar of any democracy, plays an important role in keeping the mass aware of what is happening around the world. But is media fulfilling this role objectively? What has been noticed is a trend of agenda setting being done by the media, making the media industry a manufacturer of consent and content in some way or the other.

This concept has been discussed at length by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book ‘Manufacturing Consent’. In this book the authors outline a propaganda model which describes ‘a very important aspect’ of the function of mass media – that is, to serve the dominant hegemonic interests of powerful groups such as governments and global corporations. Of course, media do not overtly disseminate propaganda unless they are state-controlled or controlled by powerful economic interests. On the contrary, Herman and Chomsky endorse Gramsci’s theory of hegemony by claiming that mass media are usually sympathetic to government policies and corporate decisions, and tend to marginalize dissenting voices. Media may appear to be free in democratic societies butthey are by no means neutral or unbiased in the way they represent real events and people. The propaganda model proposed by Herman and Chomsky is made up of five ‘news filters’ that mass media deploy – consciously or unconsciously – when they report on current affairs.

The first filter is the size, ownership and profit orientation of mass media institutions. Nowadays, the huge costs involved in establishing any mass media enterprise capable of achieving long- lasting success mean that smaller companies cannot compete within existing ownership structures. This means that there is little scope for new, alternative media institutions to challenge the giant corporate networks such as Disney and Viacom. Also, the power of media corporations is significant because they tend to have far wider economic interests in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, oil and IT. This is why big corporations are keen for media outlets (some of which they might own or have shareholdings in) to report on political and international affairs in a way that identifies with their point of view. Owning or holding shares in media institutes proves to be profitable for the corporates in many ways. For instance, Reliance industry holds major stakes in TV18 group and ETV, giving it preferential access to content from TV18, which runs television channels and websites including CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18 and Colors. This content can then be distributed through Reliance subsidiary firm Infotel, which is setting up a 4G wireless broadband network across the country, eventually creating huge amount of profits. Also this ownership pattern would create a pressure on these media groups to always abide by Reliance’s point of view and avoiding content that goes against the giant corporate’s wishes. The recent shunting that took place within TV18 channels is also believed to have been a move initiated by the Reliance industries.

A second news filter is the advertising. The dependency on advertising has the effect of forcing mass media institutions to tailor their material to an affluent audience – that is, the ideal audience for advertisers. The ‘mass audience’ as defined by advertising-led mass media is therefore a distinctly middle-class or even upper middle-class one. By contrast, media that aim to cater for working-class or more radical, anti- consumerist audiences are discriminated against because, in this ad-fuelled climate, companies will not invest in advertising space for audiences who lack spending power – or lack the will to spend. Moreover, even mainstream media that cater for affluent audiences can easily lose advertisers unless they avoid programs with serious complexities and disturbing controversies that interfere with the ‘‘buying mood’’.

The third filter is the sourcing of mass media news. Most of the news we receive is derived from ‘official’ news sources such as the PMO, White House, Downing Street, etc. These sources are given special status by media institutions because they are traditional, reliable and accessible providers of news. Of course, these are government sources designed to communicate public information (or propaganda) via mass media to the public at large, and mass media give a privileged voice to government sources in return for a ready supply of news streaming. This factor no longer has as drastic impact in terms of news as it used to have initially because of alternative forms of sources available to the media industries now, but dependence on the government institutes for government advertisements (example- election ads, etc.) has similar effects. Media institutes avoid raising voices against the government in power in order to continue receiving the government ads and respective revenue from those ads. In these ways, official government and corporate sources can manipulate and manage news media for their own ends by privileging their own messages over those of oppositional sources.

The fourth news filter is ‘flak’, meaning negative responses to a media statement or program. Flak is instigated by both businesses and government, thus keeping a check on the media content. The government is a major producer of flak, regularly assailing, threatening, and correcting the media, trying to contain any deviations from the established norm. A popular example of this is that of flak produced by Tony Blair’s government in 2003 against BBC for alleging their public relations personnel – particularly Tony Blair’s Head of Communications, Alistair Campbell – for making last-minute changes to the dossier on Iraq’s so-called ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in order to sensationalize the threat and make the dossier more convincing as a justification for war. The BBC was bombarded with criticism from the British Government, which then led to a legal inquiry – known as the Hutton Report, written by a close ally of Blair and New Labour – that found no malpractice on the part of Government and biased journalism on the part of the BBC. Greg Dyke, then Director-General of the BBC and someone who staked his authority on the principle of journalistic independence in this case, subsequently resigned.

Such instances prevent the media from being objective in turn making it a manufacturer of content that is line with the government’s point of view.

The fifth and final filter (mostly catering to the western media) is the ideology of anticommunism that is wide- spread across American and Western media more generally. Western ideologies of free-market capitalism are implicitly and explicitly regarded by mass media as superior to communist ones.The politics of Western mass media are therefore very much in keeping with the politics of the countries in which they operate.

These five filters contribute to the manufacturing of content by the media industry. They produce certain content keeping in mind all the factors or obstacles and thus create consent among the public regarding a particular issue. For example: The Operation Green Hunt1 implemented by the Indian Government since 2009 has more often than not casted animmovable identity for the Naxalites in as much as the US ‘War on Terror’ did in context to the Muslims. The media has many a times acted in perfect alliance with the state-power in manipulating the ‘Naxal’ not only as a terrorist but a potential national threat without analyzing all sides of the situation. Same is the case with news reportage about states with AFSPA implemented. Fearing government flak, the media avoids criticizing various barbaric actions of Indian military in Jammu and Kashmir and some north-eastern states.

The media was also found creating consent about the victims in the Nirbhaya gang rape case.

Corporate media thus acts as a profit-driven institution, which tends to serve and further the agendas of the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Structure & Functions of Various Department of Newspaper Organization

Newspaper organization has various departments taking care of a variety of tasks. Each department has a specified function with several staff taking care of each function. Various departments that are a part of a newspaper organization include:

1. Editorial department
2. Advertising department
3. Circulation department
4. Printing department
5. Administrative department
6. Stores department
7. IT department

Let us discuss the functions of these departments in brief

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT
The editorial department forms the backbone of any newspaper organization. As the name implies, this department is the one responsible for content creation in any newspaper establishment. The main responsibilities of this department is the gathering of news, selecting which news and features get to be published in the paper, editing the news and features that have been selected for publication and then laying them out for print.  Following chart represents the hierarchy of the department followed by a brief description of the functions performed by various staff members.

Structure of Various Department of Newspaper Organization

Publisher- The publisher is responsible for all of the operations of the newspaper, both editorial and business. The main job of the publisher is to see that the newspaper remains financially healthy.
Editor- The editor is responsible for all of the editorial content of the newspaper and for the budgets and money spent by the editorial side of the newspaper. Often in smaller papers, the publisher and editor is the same person.

Editorial page editor- The editorial page editor is responsible for the editorial page and the "op-ed" page of the newspaper. These pages are where the newspaper's editorials are printed as well as letters to the editor, columns by syndicated columnists and guest columns by local people.
Managing editor- This is the person who is in charge of the day-to-day production of the newspaper.
City Editor- The city editor -sometimes called the metro editor -is in charge of the news coverage of the area in which the newspaper is located. The city editor usually has the largest staff and assigns tasks to most of the local news reporters.

News reporter- A news reporter gathers information about news stories in the local area. There are generally two kinds of reporters: i) a beat reporter, and ii) a general assignment reporter.
A beat reporter covers the same subject or location all the time. The subject is generally of interest to the reporter. Various beats include legal reporting, parliamentary reporting, political reporting, etc. Ageneral assignment reporter, on the other hand, covers any story assigned by the city editor or assistant city editor.

Chief copy editor- The chief copy editor is in charge of the newspaper's copydesk. The people on the copydesk read news stories (and sometimes stories from other sections) to make sure they are written according to the newspaper's standards. The chief copy editor makes final decisions about the copy and is in charge of the staffing of the desk.

Copy editor- A copy editor is specially trained to read the stories that others have written and make sure they conform with the rules of grammar and style. A copy editor also writes headlines and performs other duties that help produce the newspaper every day.

Photo editor- A photo editor is not a photographer, although it is often the case that the photo editor is a former photographer. This editor assigns photographers and helps select the photos that the newspaper prints.

Graphics editor- The graphics editor is the head of the graphics department, sometimes called the "art department." This editor is in charge of all of the graphics and illustrations produced for the newspaper.

Graphics reporter- A graphics reporter researches and designs informational graphics that support news stories the paper. A graphics reporter is an expert in graphic forms and also must be able to local information that can be used to build graphics.

ADVERTISEMENT DEPARTMENT

As an integral mass media vehicle, newspapers are vehicles of advertising meant to appeal to their readers. As such, the advertising department is the one which is critical because it gets in the revenue necessary to sustain the newspaper.Getting in revenue through advertising for the newspaper happens through various means. There can be several sections in this department one to look after local advertising, one for classified ads, one for general / national advertising, one for legal advertising and yet another one for preparing copy and so on. For example, there is a complete sales team in place, whose job it is to push the newspaper as an advertising vehicle of choice to advertising and media buying agencies acting on behalf of clients, as well as clients.
The Advertising department will accept and process orders from advertisers, to book space in the newspapers, as well as create ads, give agencies statistics and information about the circulation and readership of the newspaper as well, as well as work with the editorial teams to createspace, the department carries out a number of functions, including accepting and processing orders from advertisers, creating advertisements, providing media information to advertisers and advertising agencies, helping businesses develop advertising plans and working with editorial teams to develop features that will attract advertisers or help clients place their products with a coordinated editorial write up.

CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT

The circulation department takes care of everything after the newspaper is printed. This includes delivering the publication to homes through their own or third-party carriers, to the post office to be mailed into homes, as well as to newsstands, vending machines, and other places it's circulated.
It is usually headed by a major executive, the circulation manager, since the newspaper ultimately stands or falls on the basis of the number of steady readers that can be enrolled.
The circulation manager may have any or all of the following subdivisions under his supervision:
(i) City Circulation:It involves the maintenance of circulation records for the city of publication; the recruitment, supervision and reimbursement of carrier boys; the: supervision of district men who oversee circulation by subdivisions of the city, taking responsibility for moving papers to the news-stands, relations with news-stand operators, etc.
(ii) Area Circulation:Responsibilities here include getting papers destined for the surrounding area into the mail and operation of a fleet of tempos/taxis to carry the papers into surrounding areas where mail service is not rapid enough.The circulation manager is also in charge of moving the papers into the appropriate distribution channels as they move into the mailing room from the press room.
(iii) Sales Promotion:It involves the direction of an office staff to keep records, notifying subscribers when their subscrip¬tions need renewing, the handling of complaints, new subscriptions and renewals over the counter, by mail, etc.
Promotion is essentially the "public relations" department of the newspaper. Where a separate promotion department exists, it usually is responsible for initiating promotion policies, subject to the approval of the publisher, and usually coordinates the promotional activities of other departments.

PRINTING DEPARTMENT

This is another department in a newspaper establishment whose name simply tells people the job that they perform. This department is responsible for the printing of the newspapers. The department is in charge of everything that has to do with the production and printing of the papers, which includes, transforming journalists’ stories into type and maintaining the printing machines.

ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENT

This department is responsible for the general administration of the entire establishment. The department is in charge of certain very important duties such as planning, organizing and staffing.Thus, the department basically looks after the general administrative work pertaining to personnel their selection, training, promotion, allotment of work, maintaining leave record, liaison with government departments, general facilities and all such work that facilitates working of other departments. In the absence of a separate legal department the administrative department also handles the work pertaining to legal matters. Otherwise there is a separate department for the legal aspects.

STORES DEPARTMENT

This is a department that has one sole responsibility which is to properly store newsprint and all the raw materials used for printing. They also store all other materials that are used in the establishment.

IT DEPARTMENT

This department is in charge of protecting, maintaining, and improving the technical equipment associated with running a media outlet. Engineers/technicians spend some of their time on preventive maintenance and trying to keep equipment from breaking and much more of their time fixing equipment that has already broken. This last job is especially important, considering that the high cost of new technology makes it difficult to replace equipment. Like the production/printing department, this department is not a part of the news department but still plays an important part in the newscast.
This department is mostly headed by the Chief Engineer. He/She is responsible for all operations and maintenance that has to do with any and all engineering equipment used throughout the organization. Chief engineer has to manage and maintain complex integrated systems with minimum supervision and maintain and repair of all technical equipment in the organization. This position requires the ability to troubleshoot, diagnose and handle the tools necessary to repair newsroom equipment and effectively present information and respond to question from managers, clients, customers and public. A solid working knowledge of the latest gadgets, computers, hardware, parts and related software with practical knowledge of electrical, plumbing and basic construction techniques is helpful. Chief Engineer presides over ground-keeping technician.