Saturday, January 27, 2007

Capitalist Media v. Communist Media

Who does it better (or worse?)



[1] Let's start with the overtly disturbing: This week, the Chinese Administration of Radio, Film and TV ordered all domestic networks to dump any prime-time programming that is less than "ethically inspiring."

True to form, the government official offered no further definition of "ethically inspiring."

Also prohibited? Imported cartoons and any content featuring crime, guns, sex, love affairs or divorce. All programming must be vetted and approved by the country's media administration prior to airing.

The restrictions start in February and will last at least until the 17th Party Congress late this year. China's aim is to ... I don't know ... cleanse the national psyche? ... leading up to this major meeting of Party leaders (which happens once every five years).

I'm of the mind that freedom is priceless, so I call this unworkably nasty and despotic ... but are we any better off?



[2] Last night, I watched NBC's new game show, 1 vs. 100, and I was appalled.

It was beyond saturated, you guys, with cross-marketing and intra-promotional advertising. It was a shamelessly ballyhooing plug blitz, through and through.

The game itself was silly and unbelievably slow. In an hour-long show, host Bob Saget spends 5 minutes spewing stupid catch-phrases (the show has like five of 'em), 10 minutes explaining the rules to the contestant and 20 minutes re-capping what's already happened in the game.

About 5 minutes are dedicated to the game itself, ridiculous trivia questions that all include some plug for something you can buy somewhere.

"Which came first: the Chicken McNugget or the Egg McMuffin?"

Some plugs were totally non-germane: "Howard Stern is eating ratatouille with Baba-Booey. What dish are they most likely enjoying?"

And the rest of the time, he's chatting with members of the "100," invariably chiseled actors from minor NBC soaps. Or child stars. Or attractive women in tight sweaters.

The remaining 20 minutes? Commercials, natch! And every commercial break begins and ends with a commercial for the game itself, or some ancillary audience participation thing via cell phone. Only $9.99 per minute!

... It occurred to me that, at some point, "ethically inspiring" starts to sound pretty good.

VLD

8 Comments:

At Saturday, January 27, 2007, Anonymous TD said...

haha that show is ridiculous...it's seriously one giant long-running commercial. So it brings on the question: which would you rather have megaconglomerate monopoly controlled media or government controlled media? I'll pass on both thanks!

~TD

 
At Saturday, January 27, 2007, Anonymous CY said...

i am of the same mind as TD. most stuff on mainstream TV nowadays is garbage. that's probably why i wasn't so heartbroken about never watching TV while i was in college.

but if i had a choice... state-controlled television or garbage television... well, i rather like knowing that we have the freedom to put "better than garbage" quality programming on television if that's what we so choose.

CY

 
At Sunday, January 28, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I'll keep my guns and love affairs, thanks. I don't think any of us would prefer red state media. You gotta throw a couple blue states and a whole lotta green for real, commercial TV.

LT

 
At Sunday, January 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, that show will most likely not last long.

But I have to give NBC and Madison Avenue props. It's becoming increasingly difficult to reach consumers, and entangling the product in content is very effective, i.e. product placement.

This show probably took it too far, but in an age when traditional broadcast television is losing money, the powers that be are trying to make both audience and advertisers happy. They should probably just stick to coke cans on the desks of the characters in The Office. That would be a lot less obvious.

JK

 
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