influence of advertisement revenue on programmes and services delivery
1.1 Background of the study
A symbiotic relationship exists between the media and big business who in the final analysis will turn out to be the advertisers. After all it is their products that will be displayed in media. Advertising should be seen as a necessary evil that has its merits. The media industry is in a constantly evolving environment; as the economics of running a media entity become more defined, especially with threats of competition for media revenue, the relationship between the press and advertisers might only blossom.
The role of mass communications and advertising within the institutional structures of contemporary capitalist society has been examined and questioned in substantial literature. However, most of the available literature examines the content and structure of advertisements and note their ability to distort information or the ideological effect that advertisements have on the audience. Bagdikian (1990), Croteau and Hoynes (1997), have attempted to provide a historical basis for advertising and the communications industry, and located them within the history of contemporary capitalism, examining their impact on the socio-political economic structures.
The rising cost of news production and the realisation by the business sector on the relevance of showcasing their products to a wider market, has played a major role in the growth of the advertising industry and the dependence on advertising revenue by the press. Advertising can be seen as an important institution in the consumer society because of its economic benefits; mainly in managing consumer demand and aiding capital accumulation. The modern day media’s dependence on advertising for revenue has reached astronomical heights, although in different segments of the media, the use of advertising revenue may vary. The electronic media ‘which depends solely on advertising’ and thus need to be sensitive to the needs of advertisers, and this impact on their listeners. The bottom line is that the media house have to target a class of audience that is being chased by most advertisers, conventionally that is they have to identify people with disposable income to buy the products of their advertisers.
In order to attract advertisers to a media house, its management must be able to show that they have that specific target market the advertisers need. A quality media house targeted at the right audience, with a high audience figure is definitely a goldmine to its owners as advertisers would clamour for the opportunity to reach their market through that audience.
Advertising and its implications for the political economy of the media has been criticized and defended from many quarters. Hoskins, McFadyen and Finn (2004: 248) however note that “advertising is both attacked as a monopolistic and wasteful practice and defended as promoting competition and lowering cost that consumers pay for goods”.
A major advantage of advertising is that revenue generated empowers the media, consequently providing funding for better facilities for the practise of journalism. While the benefits of advertising seem laudable, studies have shown that this advantage seems to be minimal as the drive for profit often leads to downsizing of newsrooms, overworking of journalists, lack of adequate training and poor remuneration. Critics like Leiss, Khline and Jhally, (1986) have also pointed to what seems to be the impact of advertising on overall media content. The negative impact of advertising includes the avoidance of controversial subjects, banal programme formats, stereotyping of audience segments and ownership concentration in media industries. The concentration of media ownership with its links to advertising has a profound impact on media content. Hoskins, McFadyen, and Finn (2004), note that reliance on advertising, whether as a partial or total revenue source, could affect its content, first as the advertisement being a substantial part of the content could affect its value and secondly as content is often aligned to promote or create a suitable environment for the advertiser.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The reality of the market place makes the press increasingly dependent on sources of revenue that compromises its independence. This is because the media has increasingly had to depend on other sources of revenue generation other than the sales of copy and content. The media has rather become a business entity. Its public service role; a primary one being the provision of information only increases its ratings for audiences, while the major aim seems to be selling the audience to the advertisers for profit. Investors and shareholders whose main interest is the profit margin now control news corporations. According to Herman and Chomsky (1988:7), the drive for profit has, “encouraged the entry of speculators and increased the pressure and temptation to focus more intensely on profitability”. This argument corresponds with Pogash (1995) who, amongst other critics, asserts that publicly-owned companies have lost their journalistic path in pursuit of high profits to please Wall Street analysts and stockholders.
McManus (1994:1) observes that “the news is now a ‘product’, the listenership the ‘customer’, while the circulation or signal area is now a ‘market’”. He notes that, Even though profit-seeking business has been the enabling foundation of journalism here, ever since entrepreneurs succeeded politicians as operators of the press 150 years ago, it has usually been kept in the basement. Now the business of selling news is being invited upstairs, into the temple (ibid).
McManus commented that a few purists like Carl Bernstein23 blamed the market orientation of modern journalism for creating an ‘idiot culture’:
1.3 Aim and objectives of the study
The aim of this study is to assess the influence of advertisement revenue on programme and service delivery in Kaduna State television (K.S.T.V). The objectives of the study are to:
i. Determine the positive effects of advertisement revenue on programme and service delivery in Kaduna State television (K.S.T.V).
ii. Determine the negative effects of advertisement revenue on programme and service delivery in Kaduna State television (K.S.T.V)
iii. Determine the reasons why electronic media houses heavily depend on advertisement revenue.
iv. To proffer ways of reducing the over dependent on advertisement revenue by media houses.
1.4 Significant of the study
Harber (2005) argues that although more media outlets exist, there are fewer that are actually willing to challenge those in power as a greater dependence on advertising favours journalism that is middle-of-the-road, non-controversial and overcautious. This he notes, has resulted in “a triumph of entertainment over journalism, ruthless costcutting that leads, for example, to less international, first-hand or investigative reporting and the abundance of bland, grey, over-processed journalism”(ibid)27. Chambers (2000: 94) notes that “it has led to the reduction in independent media sources, the commodification of media contents and audiences, and the neglect of minority and poorer sections of the audience”.
This study is important as it will address the importance of advertisement revenue generally on consumers, companies and most importantly media houses. The findings of the study will be of benefit to the consumers as it will bring out fact about the commodity the TV is selling to them.
The various media houses will be enlightened more on both the positive effect of advertisement revenue. They will be educated on how to reduce over dependence on this form of revenue and hence be able to effectively manage it.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions will guide this study:
i. What are positive effects of advertisement revenue on programme and service delivery in Kaduna State television (K.S.T.V)?
ii. What are the negative effects of advertisement revenue on programme and service delivery in Kaduna State television (K.S.T.V)?
iii. What are the reasons why electronic media houses heavily depend on advertisement revenue?
iv. What are ways of reducing the over dependent on advertisement revenue by media houses?
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of the study is to assess the influence of advertisement revenue on programme and service delivery in Kaduna State television (K.S.T.V).
1.7 Limitations of Study
The researcher experienced the following problems:
– Lack of co-operation by some of the respondents from the organisations (KSTV).
– Due to time constraints, responses during the interviews were not always substantial.
– The questionnaires were limited by the design and nature of this method of research. However, the researcher attempted to achieve the most accurate results possible
1.8 Definition of terms
Advertising: This an audio or visual form of marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea
Advertisers: They are the people that sponsor advertising, often business who wish to promote their products or services.
Communications: This the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.
Contemporary: A person or thing living or existing at the same time as another
Electronic media; Broadcast media that take advantage of electronic technology.
Influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone or something or the effect itself.
Journalism: Journalism is the work and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas and people that are the news of the day and that informs the society at least to some degree.
KSTV: Kaduna State Television
Mass communications: is the study of how people and entities relay information through mass media to large segments of the population at the same time.
Media: is the collective communication outlets or tools thatn used to store and deliver information.
Revenue: is the income that a business has from its normal business activities, usually from the sales of goods and services to customers
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