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Media Industries Essential Economic Forces Essay

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Updated: Mar 4th, 2019

The media industry is a very influential economic force in the modern society. Thus, very paramount to understand how they function in order to appreciate on how they influence and transform people. Media industry has several functions such as source of entertainment, informative and for passing news.

Apart from those functions, the contemporary media has transformed to become a commercial enterprise that is thriving on advertisement. Media play a big role in reproducing information, communicating it and creating consumer society. Media is hence an essential economic force because it assists business in managing customers demand, creating needs and desires via adverts and entertainment.

Media and advertising

The ability of media to advertise and entertain, results in effective promotion of products to customers in a more appealing manner. Furthermore, the media has become the main instruments of political and economical power offering a terrain upon which economic battles are fought and offering tools for economic manipulation and dominion (Durham & Kellner 2006, 67).

As a central force in life, an economic force, media is dominating people’s lives especially their leisure time and plays a vital role in constructing their perception of things around them and the society.

Media industry is the most essential economic force used in advertising because of the impact it causes on the consumer demand. The impact of the effect of advertisement in the total consumer demand is exceedingly complicated.

Several studies have shown that promotional activities do have a significant impact on the aggregate consumption, but they do not have consensus as to what degree (Durham & Kellner 2006, 67).

Many other social and economic forces like the level of education of the clients, the technology advancement, the income of the customers and the change in lifestyle and behaviour are very significant in determining demand size.

For instance the demands for iPods, phones, personal computers and digital music players have increased partly because of the market condition and also due of media advertising. Besides, advertisement has not been able to prevent fall in the demand for fur coats and manual typewriters. Therefore as much as advertisement is crucial in creating or rather stimulating primary demand, it influences selective demand for certain products when that product industry is declining (Durham & Kellner 2006, 67).

Perception of Consumers

Media is crucial in advertising and the intention of advertising is to persuade client to make purchases. This persuasion can change the tastes and preferences of customers hence impacting on demand. When the customers are given a good impression of a certain product, they would tend to like it based on how they understood the advertisement and the perceived value of acquiring that particular product (Durham & Kellner 2006, 69).

Businesses understand that the best way to beat completion is to make unique products. They also understand that consumer’s choices to purchase are influence by their cultural, social and psychological experiences and all these affect preferences (Durham & Kellner 2006, 69). Convenience is also another factor that affects consumer decision and it could be the ultimate factor that the consumer will use to make the final decision.

However, from the long list of products say cars or groceries in a store, advertisement on media create a new impression of certain brands. Advertising increases consumer awareness and therefore when the customers are making a decision, they have basis of making a rational decision based on the information they collected from the advertisement. Advertisement also set apart a certain brand from the numerous products that exist on the market.

Content of Reality TV is affected by Economic force of Media

The contemporary world has seen increased reality TV programs trumping sitcoms and dram and the audience is composed of millions of viewers how feel connected to the ordinary people in the programs as contestants (Andrejevic 2004, 98). Reality TV now appears to be striking the chords and more people feel they have something to connect with because the program are “real” and feature ordinary persons.

The question of how economic force of the media industry has affected the content of reality TV is an intriguing one. First it’s important to appreciate the distinction between general TV and focussing on the reality TV subgenre (Andrejevic 2004, 98). Basically the difference is big considering that the way reality TV program are developed and created is different from normal program and that the target audiences are very different as well.

Reality Ads

Since reality TV integrates marketing of specific products, they target different groups of people who are the potential clients. For instance, programs like ‘Survivor’ and ‘American Idols’ receive greater audience than history programs (Andrejevic 2004, 98).

Even though they are all communicating something to the audience, the actors are extremely different and one can only say that reality TV has stepped into 21st century class. Very few businesses have succeeded today without use of media and reality TV is revolutionising the industry even more.

However, the economic force has influence the content to what can be said as reality drama to reality advertising. The reason is simple and it’s because, there are always audience available (Andrejevic 2004, 99). The intention of the marketer is simplified to making the audience feel that they care about their need as well as their expectations and it’s not all about the business itself or the money.

Business executives understand that if a business does not go to the people, and offer them what they want then the business will lose these customers. Not to mention that a successful TV show entirely focuses on a fully-integrated media drive, but it plays a crucial role in establishing brand names and increasing awareness, drawing interests, and enhancing customer (viewer) participation.

This also highlights the specific models that reality TV is now integrating into programs. The contents are basically things people connect with, like relationships and contests.


It’s very obvious that one cannot really be ‘self’ when they are being filmed and because reality life is based on real life experiences, this is one of the weaknesses of this type of economic force. However developing relationships and competitions attract viewers to keep watching until “season finale”

The MTV’s show ‘The Real World’ has been successful because of the way it depicted the ordinary world. The program draws people from various backgrounds ranging from gender, race, religion, culture, lifestyle, interests and ethnicities. The intention of the TV series was to send positive image of cultures to the people but somehow it failed to do that because it ended up in focusing on sexual relationships that housemates developed and partying all the time.

Reality TV Success

Another reality TV program from NBC, the ‘survivor’ is one of successful series of today and has a great following on facebook and twitter. Reality TV series use games and contests to keep the viewers engaged and feel connected. Basically the people watching these shows feel that they could be like these contestants.

When the actors in reality series as associated with another product, the fans of the show also connect with these products. For instance, when castaway James was called as a guest star on the famous series the young and the restless, the program attracted more viewers.

Simply put, reality TV is on media aspect that viewers never seem to get enough of and provision of content that touches on relationships, love, competition and lifestyle satisfies viewers craving until the next episode. This keeps the programs on their mind for so long and as result it reinforces the brand awareness. TV is highly influential and storylines expose people to images of violence sexual relationships, celebrities and adverts among other things. The media creates something that people want to identify with.

Symbolic order

Symbolic order is simply the usual use of language as fully developed in the community. In a situation that resonates with the original imminent that Derrida expressed, it’s argued that semiotics have the possibility of disrupting symbolic order (Hebdige 1999, 441). The way through which the symbolic order can thus be disrupted offer crucial insights into places that are important for changes in politics and subjectivity.


The Dick Hebdige’s studies on the influence of subcultural trend in advertisement and consumption are critical to the understanding of branding. In his work, Hebdige described style as a vital aspect of cultural trends in modern world (Hebdige 2001, 2449). His studies again took the cultural research to a whole new level and they point out that there are differences between culture and subculture and interpreted the message the word ‘style’ portrays (Hebdige 1999, 441).

Hebdige explored the works of semiology and developed his works on the theories that were postulated by Saussure and Roland Barthes and he attempted to read and interpret the symbols and language that subcultures in Britain developed during the World War II (Hebdige 2001, 2451). For instance, the use of ‘the mods’, the Punks and skinheads were very prevalent and quite notable and it seems that the Levi-Strauss structuralism anthropology were a great inspiration to that understanding of these subcultures (Hebdige 1999, 445).

Symbolic order as in sub-cultural development was already developed by authors before Hebdige and this was a significant factor of his theoretical framework of studies. Hence his works seem to interpret the sign the groups under study were displaying during their interaction beginning from the punks to the skinheads (Hebdige 2001, 2451).

The interpretation also tires to expose the meanings in the social and cultural meaning. Basically, the cloths and hair styles as well as the kind of music they listened to and they way they dance were integral in explaining the meaning of the symbolic order.

Even though the social stratification in terms of class was supposedly said to have disappeared after the World War II, they were in reality just transformed into ideological separation from conventional thought (Hebdige 1999, 445).

The classes that were drawn from this are just identified as subcultures, which is ‘marginal discourses’ and were in opposition to the common inclination of the unidentified culture existing at that moment. Marginal discourse brought back the repressed female notion (Hebdige 2001, 2451). The post structuralism is hence preconceived as a destabilization of language.

Poststructuralist ideas

The poststructuralist feminism is quite different from other insistences of gender roles. The Xena Warrior Princess was a crucial film that its critique and analysis helped explore the poststructuralist feminist belief and odd thinking. In an attempt to create good blending between the production, the audience and the text, hegemony was incorporated into the program (Hebdige 2001, 2451).

As a consequence, the active audience especially those people who take part in fandom are regarded as controversial. Basically because fandom is considered a dominant culture due to the definition which includes the connection between audience and use instead of the production and participation.

Incorporation problem

Due to hegemony’s dependence on the negotiation process and incorporation, there connection between TV producers and fandom is like a feedback cycle as the audience provides particular interpretations of the program through various means (Hebdige 1999, 447). The common mean is the fan fiction and thus enables the program to be redesigned and incorporated into text by the producers so as to attract even more fans and consequently result into more diverse interpretation.

Feminist incorporation into television program is crucial and it can function as a place for struggle and explanation of the meaning of the gender roles and sexuality. The potential to destabilize by the opposing fan analysis is delimited by the media to some degree; however, this is not to mean that there are not oppositional thoughts.

Hebdige noted that the symbiosis where thoughts and social class and production are connected, there is not guarantee (Hebdige 1999, 447). The consensus can be challenged or refuted and the opposition to the dominant group cannot be taken for granted or incorporated automatically.

Hebdige notes that sub-cultural style developed in their own rhetoric way by the way style of living and pretentious appearance, as a reaction to a certain cultural or social situation at that moment (Hebdige 2001, 2451).

In short, it can be conclude that the sub-cultural styles were a type of protest to hegemony or anonymous culture. Though at some time the rhetoric concept like in the example of punks were intentional and baffled meaninglessness to an extent that it was supposed to be working against readers and resisting any authoritative interpretation.


This a very intriguing terminology and perhaps has as many meaning as there are description of the word feminism in most of the feminist literatures available, the definition of postfeminism tends to fall in to two categories (Gill 2007, p. 148).

The first being the referred to as the end or death of feminist ideologies of the 1960s and 1970s which seem to be irrelevant the modern world (McRobbie 1994, 56). The second definition is that, postfeminism refers to the next level of feminist ideologies that intersect with post-philosophy theories like the postmodernist and poststructuralist principles (Lotz 2001, 112).

The popular use of postfeminism is to literally mean ‘after feminism’ and in the media today, its disparagingly used as if to imply that feminism is no longer required (McRobbie 1994, 56). It is proper that the ‘after feminism’ should not be viewed as a negative term because it assists in identifying contemporary feminism as continuation of women’s struggle for identity and power.

Postfeminism can as well be described as an anti-essentialist philosophy that counters the simple use of feminism as a way of describing gender construct of binary antagonism – men and women, to be able to exploit and identify ideas of women besides the mother/whore dichotomy (Lotz 2001, 112). This discourse also evaluates the steady improvement of another kind of binary resistance; that is feminist versus the non-feminists.

The defactionalization of these concepts that were once overtly-delineated is as a result of successful feminist praxis and activist action in advocacy against gender equality as a mainstream culture. Postfeminism is not describing an end of an era feminist activist, but rather it is used to acknowledge that the gender identity of people has changed in the postmodern world partly because of the feminist activism (McRobbie 1994, 56).

The Post Feminist Ideas Driven By Media Advertising

If for a very short period of time in the 1970s and 1980s, the advocacy for equity among men and women and the simple similarity and that people have dominated the media to become a popular culture, then this was determinedly given out with the beginning of 1990s (McRobbie 1994, 58).

A major feature of postmodernity and postfeminist awareness has been resurgence of the ideologies of natural sexual differences advertised across different media. These advertisement ranges from magazines, to television talk shows and to popular fiction (Gill 2003, 101).

Feminist Constructs on Media

The constructions of feminism are critical to the postfeminist sensibility. The major differences between the media of the 1970s and 1980s and the modern television, print media or radio is that feminism is part of the cultural content (Gill 2003, 101). This means that feminist discourses are openly expressed through the media instead of being represented simply by peripheral independent and oppressed critical voices (McRobbie 1994, 58).

There is a burst of post feminist inspired ideas that are communicated through the television, radio and print media on everyday programs. They address things like date rape, sexist comments, and sexualized imagery in newspapers and magazines, experiences of women in war or beauty concerns or domestic violence and anorexia on television and so on. Basically it’s obvious that what counts as postfeminist thoughts does not merely take place as gossip outside but rather it’s discussed on the media (McRobbie 1994, 56).

There has been an increased discussion and airing of feminist success and some people claim that this has been exaggerated so much (Gill 2003, 104). It could be more accurate to state that there has been keen interest by the media on the ideas of female success partly because the media also want to increase their clients to accommodate more women (Lotz 2001, 117).

As feminist values are actually addressed and incorporated in a range of institution like education, healthcare, and law, likewise there have been increased newsworthy achievements by women. To acknowledge them, these successes are discussed on media. The success of women has so far been termed sporadic (Gill 2003, 105).

Increased Media Role

The media has also become the place where codes of sexual conduct are discussed analyzed and advice given. Media persons cast their judgement based on reasoned point of view following contribution by listeners or participants and that they set the rules of play (Gill 2003, 10). Across the many channels and media categories, communication of feminist ideas was usually disparaged and post feminism seeks to show better treatment of the ideas (Gill 2007, p. 148).

Besides it being obvious that the media has played an integral role in advertising the postfeminist idea, it would be blatant false claim to suggest that the media is somehow feminist. Basically it is not true that media has adopted the feminist perspective of the world (McRobbie 2004, p. 234).

It is more accurate to however argue that the media sometime provides paradoxical, but nonetheless patterned, constructions. In the postfeminist society, scholars have claimed that feminist ideas are still incorporated into the societal norms, reassessed and depoliticized and its proper to also add that they equally attacked (Gill 2007, p. 148).

McRobbie referred to this modern world’s entanglement of the neoliberal qualities in relation to sexuality, gender and family values and feminism that its one aspect of commonsense that is greatly dreaded, hated and ferociously rejected (McRobbie 2004, p. 234). The contemporary media culture is distinguished as postfeminist rather than anti-feminist or pre-feminist, specifically because if the entanglement of the feminist and anti-feminist ideologies (McRobbie 2004, p. 234).

The elements of postfeminist cannot be exhaustively discussed against the backdrop in which the ideology has constantly been invoked bit seldom discussed or explicitly explored and specified. Out of necessity, this paper has been brief and schematic briefly highlighting the distinctive postfeminism theory (Gill 2007, p. 148).

Reference List

Andrejevic, Mark. 2004. Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched, Lanham, MD Rowman & Littlefield

Durham, M Meenakshi & Kellner, Douglas. 2006. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, Maiden, MA, Willey Blackwell

Gill, Rosalind 2003. ‘From Sexual Objectification To Sexual Subjectification: The Resexualisation Of Women’s Bodies In The Media’, Feminist Media Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, Pp. 100–106.

Gill, Rosalind. 2007. Postfeminist Media Culture: Elements of A Sensibility, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 10 (2). Pp. 147-166.

Hebdige, Dick. 1999. Function Of Subculture, in The Cultural Studies Reader. Ed. Simon During, 2nd Ed.. New York: Routledge,

Hebdige, Dick. 2001. Subculture: The meaning of style. In V.B. Leitch (Ed.), The Norton Anthology of theory and criticism (pp. 2448-2457). New York: W.W. Norton & Company

Lotz, Amanda. 2001. ‘Postfeminist Television Criticism: Rehabilitating Critical Terms and Identifying Postfeminist Attributes,’ Feminist Media Studies 1(1): 105-21.

McRobbie, Angela 1994. Postmodernism and Popular Culture, London, Routledge,

McRobbie, Angela 2004. Postmodernism and Popular Culture, Feminist Media Studies Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 234

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