Neil Postman's framework

Neil Postman’s framework
Paper instructions:

Hope you enjoyed the documentary a couple of days ago
( –>please watch this).

The first part of the semester, all the way up to your assignment on ‘Her’ is for you to be aware of the impact media technologies can have on human relations, on a broad (society) and personal level. We used Neil Postman’s framework as means to interrogate a technology.

In the second part, we move on to looking at media technologies as a business and industry. In our lives, we are encounter media mostly as consumers. Of course we all know that media is an industry (and I’ll assume most of you will want to work in it) but what is the logic behind it? What are the factors that are drive and influence their development and decision? And, going back to the lesson at the beginning of this term – how do these decisions impact people’s lives?

The last lecture on media economics may come across as abstract to some of you, but please bear with me. It is important that you are refreshed on the (extremely) basic economic principles so you have a general idea of what an industry and company is all about. Especially also, as we have discussed before, that media economics are unique in several ways. One of the particular paradox is that its products are intangible, but it relies so heavily on hardware and technology.

So much that major changes in technology – the digitisation and networking of media – are severely disrupting the logic and makeup of the whole industry. (We are going to talk more about digitisation and networking next week)

‘PressPausePlay’ examines the consequences of these changes from the perspective of people in the creative industry, particularly the artists (musician, filmmaker, producer, author). It also asks a more important question – what is creativity and art? What does it mean to be an artist now? What is important? What are the challenges? How can an artist be rewarded – artistically and financially – in this day and age?

But the media industry is comprised not only of producers and consumers (although they have been brought closer by the digital revolution) What the documentary leaves out, are what they call ‘the middlemen’ – the record labels, publishers, distributors. These companies still exist, and they are also facing challenges and opportunities on their own. We will touch on this in next week’s lecture on business models, where we’ll be discussing the case of a few notable companies.


Now – assignment time. It’s an easy one – it’s basically an open book exam. As usual, please demonstrate a bit of thought and ability to form an argument.

I. Please answer these questions:
1. What is media economics and what kind of issues does it address?
2. Describe and explain the competitive market structure of media firms. Why are so many sectors of the media are dominated by large firms? What is the effect of the traditional competitive market structure of the media industry?
3. What is the ‘dual product’ in media industry?
4. What are the key economic characteristics of the media?

II. Please discuss at least three benefits and challenges for the creative industry in the documentary ‘PressPausePlay’.
These three should be related to one another, or are two aspect of the same issue. You should answer something around these lines: “because it is now easier to do X, people are more likely to do Y. But on the other hand, it causes Z.” No mark will be given if you just list it out. I’m getting you to do this so you can link concepts together and follow it through.


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