IS THIS A “GOOD” BUSINESS MODEL? — PART 1

Since the late 1990s, the MPAA film ratings have been as shown above. (from here)

What does the mass media exist to do?

Consider most of the films, television shows, radio shows, magazines, and newspapers we make use of. What is the attraction? Learning something? Good story? Inspiring performances. Astounding athletics? Humor? Or sex and violence? Don’t we frequent most of the mass media sources we use for their “entertainment” value?

What about the commercials?  Why do the folks who put those commercials out there expect anyone to pay attention? What kind of products do they advertise? Do we watch most commercials because they are informative, funny, shocking, or because there is a sexy enticement?

What does the mass media exist to do? Without commercials most of the mass media would soon cease to exist. Even movies shown in the theaters and pay for view entertainment contain product placement ads. The FDA’s guidance even includes guidance for such ads (see Advertising and Promotion Guidances). So we can be swamped with ads even when there are supposedly no commercials. Hence it seems to me that the mass media exists to provide an audience for advertisers. So how do the people who run the mass media attract an audience? How do they to get us to watch the advertisements that pay the bills?

Is what we watch good for us? How do we define what is good for us? Do the MPAA film ratings help? What about those guidelines from the government, like those from the FDA?

Over thirty years ago I more or less gave up watching TV. I still listen to talk radio, read some newspapers and magazines, make use of the Internet, and watch some some stuff on the TV at the gym. However, by most standards, I suppose I am relatively ignorant of what passes for mass media entertainment these days. So I would like my commenters to tell me what I am missing. Do you watch? What? Do you pay? Why? Is what you watch good for you? Why or why not?

What is Part 2? I don’t know. It is not especially easy to comment on something I gave up over thirty years ago.

19 thoughts on “IS THIS A “GOOD” BUSINESS MODEL? — PART 1

  1. TV is a reflection of our life and times. It keeps one abreast of the latest news, entertainment.. and essentially the current world. While one can espouse all they want about TV content being shallow or ridiculous… it’s all relative to the person. But over the years my watching preferences have changed. I am a news junkie, more than engaging in a lot of entertainment. I like the history and science channels.. the military stuff sometimes. Since I was a kid I’ve always been interested in commercials as a bit of a time capsule.

    In order to separate the wheat from the chaff regarding television or radio you have to develop your own filters for picking out the stuff that means something to you. But just shutting it all out completely is shutting out a part of life. Besides, Tom… how can you accuse the mainstream media of being fakes news when you don’t even watch it? At least Trump watches.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I survey much of the news on the Internet. It is easy enough to find the topical videos online. That’s much less expensive than paying a fee for cable or satellite TV.

      I can read a newspaper, a book, digest a blog and so forth much faster than I can watch a news show, and it is easier to remain objective. If nothing else, I have more time to acquire information from multiple sources.

      Here is an example. Want to know the reason for the Civil War or the Vietnam War. The best thing to do is to look up what people at the time said and wrote. We can do that relatively easily. Why put up with filters, especially government filters? Instead, however, we depend upon “experts” like Ken Burns to tell us, but those “experts” often have their own agenda.

      Does that make Ken Burns wrong or a bad man? No, but if I have a choice instead of using tax payer dollars to pay for his documentaries (something that is ethically suspect) I would rather go to the source.

      Like

    1. Suspicious? No. I know we are sinners.

      Some things are quite predicable. We rationalize bad behavior all the time. That includes misrepresenting the facts.

      Public TV and radio should not exist. Because those giving away and taking other people’s money thought they could justify their theft (which they called taxing and spending) by producing programs better than the private market would produce, they felt justified in abusing the power of government.

      Most of the Federal Budget is in fact unconstitutional. Social Security? Medicare? The Dept. of Education? You can find those in the Constitution? No. Of course you can’t, but people will say the most ridiculous things trying to rationalize those programs and even entire Federal departments.

      What is remarkable is a man who is so good and honest and naive it never occurs to him he should be suspicious of his fellow man. Diogenes is still looking for such a fellow. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes).

      Like

      1. But, Tom… you just cited all these things you find apparently negative about the way our government is operating in general. In fact, even among some of your readers there’s this fear of TV.. and this constant idea that being a Christian means having to constantly judge the world around you, then shield yourself from all things you judge as being somehow counter-Christian. Of course that is all matters of personal choice and while I find it all a version of self-imposed “flogging” because of sin, I prefer my doses of Christianity to not include large doses of guilt… but hope.

        Like

        1. @Doug

          We all judge the actions of those around us. Be stupid not to do so, and you do too. Don’t we all make choices as to what is the best way to spend our time?

          Consider. We become the people we spend our time with. We incorporate the things we let our minds dwell upon not just into our minds but into our souls.

          Philippians 4:8-9 New King James Version (NKJV)
          Meditate on These Things

          8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

          In fact, the Bible tells us to spend our time thinking about what is good. Another verse puts it this way.

          Romans 12:2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

          Thus, contrary to what you are suggesting, we are not talking about a version of self-imposed “flogging”. The opposite is true. We are considering what is more beneficial.

          Like

  2. I watch mainly interesting movies, sports, documentaries, and news.

    Frankly if not interesting, I fall asleep. There is not a lot of interesting movies lately that interest me. Most plots are the same old repeats just like King Solomon said years ago, “nothing new under the sun.”

    If interested, read the following article of why I fall asleep so often with the TV on, other than old age.

    http://www.eruptingmind.com/effects-of-tv-on-brain/

    Regards and good will blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I am not into conspiracy theories. I suppose the people running the country could be trying to program us, but i don’t think they are too terribly smart. I am afraid the technology involved in mass entertainment is just something we are abusing. I also think that article you linked to has enough truth in it to justify real concerns.

      Because I threw the TV out when they were small, my children had relatively little exposure to it. In retrospect, that was a good thing. I am pleased to say that both are more mentally capable and balanced than their father.

      As this article indicates (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-tv-rot-your-brain/), there are studies that indicate that parents should not use TV to babysit their children.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I notice a lot of people use the television as constant background noise.
        My parents did that. The television was always on.
        We’ve gone years without television (four at the last house).
        But, we did watch movies on netflix…so we still had televised entertainment from time to time.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Over the years we’ve whittled down what we watch as so much is now just clutter and vile filler…things that this culture of ours finds funny I find sad, sick, derogatory or blatantly skewed against the teachings of the Gospels.

    The overt use of sex and or violence has lead to a desensitized generation. Agendas have been pushed on the unsuspecting viewer to the point where causal acceptance to issues that are counter to the spirituality of the Christian faith is so common that most folks can no longer discern what is right from wrong….because everything is accepted and everything goes.

    Even the commercials pushing the upcoming releases to movies are so bad, so evil that I have to literally change the channel as I can’t stand to see the evilness of the latest horror show Hollywood is pushing…and we wonder why our youthful generations are so drawn to “darkness”

    Even sports, my beloved football, is no longer enjoyable because it has become a sport of ignorant and bellicose rich young men who have forgotten they are merely playing a game—nothing earth shattering or redeeming there…jus the playing of a sport that has now become some sort of platform for politics and policy…

    We’ve allowed our entertainment to warp our perspectives, change our thinking while making us into mindless sponges….

    The news is no longer a trusted platform for general information because everything has a slant or a spin…There is no longer the black and white delivery and dissemination of information which is in turn left to the viewer to determine but rather it is now all gray. A blending that leaves the viewer looking at events through the mind process of others—of which is unfair as well as wrong….

    It was never truly intended to be like this. It was information delivery and pure entertainment for the sake of enjoyment or to divert a weary war torn nation….but as the years have progressed…the industry saw a way of truly pushing agendas and changing public thought—-a scary notion if you are the recipient….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What we promise each other, and what we can deliver are usually worlds apart. Hence it is a mistake to justify our actions based upon our intentions.

      DEFINING DEVIANCY DOWN: How We’ve Become Accustomed to Alarming Levels Of Crime and Destructive Behavior BY DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN was published in 1993 (https://timemilitary.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/defining-deviancy-down-amereducator.pdf). It is worth reading and then contemplating whether any of the Democratic Senators now in office would even dream of publishing such a document. Yet we are still defining deviancy down.

      In a republic, the people have the responsibility of defining acceptable behavioral standards. When we decide how we will educate our children — what wisdom we will teach them about distinguishing between right and wrong — we each begin the process of defining the behavioral standards that the next generation will use. When we fail either instruct our children or find Godly instructors for our children, they still learn some sort of wisdom, but they learn this wisdom from people who do not love them and care about them. They learn from government bureaucrats who work in the service of politicians or people in mass media seeking an audience for advertisers. They learn from people with agendas that usually have nothing to do with God.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I was still teaching Tom, I can remember lamenting to a colleague over the kids seemingly blatant acceptance of norms that I knew ran counter to both our civility and continuance as a moralistic society— his response was sadly true— what one generation tolerates, the next readily accepts — and so it is

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess for me television is the lazy lady’s equivalent to reading fiction (I do a lot of that too though).
    🙂
    If a story line is compelling I watch it for entertainment value. If it gets too “dark” I stop watching.
    It can be “dark” but must have some levity.

    Is everything I was edifying? I must confess, no.
    If I like a book I might watch the series (examples: Game of Thrones, Outlander, Poldark)
    Never reality shows. I do not understand the attraction to those at all.
    The show Bachelor in Paradise was on a few weeks back at local bar when I went out with my husband for a beer. We took turns guessing what they were saying (it was on mute).
    It was obvious everyone in the bachelor cast on the woman’s side was either a very low end actress or very low end model, trying to “make it” via being on the low end entertainment show. Same for the men, for the most part…and about half were very obviously (I’d say flamboyantly, but the bar has risen so much for that description I’m not sure it fits) homosexual.
    Anyway, it was entertaining (which I guess is the point of entertainment).
    On the negative side, I could actually feel my brain matter floating out my ears while watching it.
    Dumbification process in action.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just to add, I get all my news online.
      I remember coming back from overseas years ago and CNN had completely changed during the couple of years I was away from the CONUS. I was in the food court and I thought a chat show was on. I was with my wee ones at the time, and thought it was a very inappropriate channel to have on in the food court at lunch time.
      Then I realized it was CNN!
      They’ve only gotten worse, but it has happened gradually so people adjust to the “new normal” slowly. Everything is relative, that’s how our brains work.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. When I said I have not been watching television, that gets into the sort of stuff I have heard about, but never watched. So I am no position to comment.

      Homosexuality was just beginning to become topical when Ben Casey (which ran on ABC from 1961 to 1966.), an old medical show was on the air. I vaguely remember some handsome guy painfully trying to explain to an attractive woman why he was not interested. Hurt her feelings, but we were suppose to be more sympathetic for the guy (as in she did not understand).

      As an adolescent, I was confused by that show. Fortunately, I decided this was an irrelevant data point (too far outside the norm to make sense). When Mom and Dad said it was time, I just went to bed and stopped worrying what that was about.

      Like

      1. Yes, there is a lot more overt homosexuality on television now (on Netflix that and/or transgenderism seems a virtual requirement for every series).
        But bachelor in paradise was unusual in that…the plot line revolves around the fiction these are “straight” men looking for potential wives, not homosexuals hoping to add to their show business portfolio.
        Really strange times we live in.

        Liked by 1 person

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