Advertising and Society

A. Select any four of the eight characteristics of capitalism identified and explained by the lecture (see Week 4 ppt), and demonstrate how the company you’ve selected for analysis is influenced by and influencing of capitalism. Basically, your analysis of capitalism/selected global media company can mirror the lecture’s analysis of capitalism/Walt Disney Company.

The goal is to demonstrate you understand these characteristics of capitalism and how a global media-entertainment company perpetuates them.

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For example, if you focus on ownership, production for profit, not human need, income/wealth inequality, and class tension and conflict (4 characteristics of capitalism discussed in lecture), you would:

1) demonstrate the ownership structure of the company (is it a conglomerate-convergent company? how? );

2) demonstrate the company’s production for profit, not human need (how much profit did the company make in one year? how much did it make on one hit entertainment product? Does it give its products away for free to everyone? Did it donate to any charities, and what did it ‘get’ by giving in this way?);

3) demonstrate the income/wealth division between the executive class that owns/runs the company (e.g., the CEO or president) and the working class employed by the company (what is the net worth of the CEO? What is the pay ration differential between the CEO and the median worker?);

4) demonstrate tensions and conflicts between the company and its workforce (are there any tensions or conflict between the company and its workforce as related to pay or salary inequities, benefits, workplace safety, sexual or racial discrimination, union campaigns, etc?).

B. What factors motivated Hollywood companies to outsource the production to Canada? (i.e. what pulled Hollywood to the Canadian city? Subsidies? Lower cost labour? Favourable exchange rates? Studio complexes? Weather? All over the above?). What are the benefits and consequences of this specific runaway production to the Canadian entertainment industry? Did the Canadian-based firms retain the intellectual property rights to the entertainment they contributed to making, r were these rights controlled by the U.S. Hollywood studios? Did runaway production strengthen or weaken the Canadian entertainment industry, build it up or reduce it to a subservient and low-cost “entertainment maquiladora” zone? Did Federal and provincial subsidies to the Hollywood runaway production support the prosperity of Hollywood at the expense of Canada? (was this an example of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ or a ‘race to the bottom?)

C. Select any one Canadian TV broadcaster’s station or channel for study, and then look at its “prime time” schedule for any evening of the week (e.g. look at all the TV shows/films scheduled on Thursday night, from 7pm-11pm). Then answer the following questions:

what portion of the scheduled content is “American”?
What portion of the scheduled content is “Canadian”?
If there are any Canadian TV shows scheduled, did these TV shows flow into the United States by any of the major American TV broadcasters?
Based upon your findings, does a largely one-way flow of TV shows from the United States to Canada continue, or has a changed occurred?
Given all of the entertainment policy and regulatory tools the Canadian government has at its disposal, do you think anything should be done in response to the continuing or changing one-way flow of TV from the United States to Canada?

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