Media Studies - Unit 3: Exploring Media Industries

To help those that are doing Unit 3: Exploring Media Industries, small snipets of information that may be in the exam!

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Popular Press

The meanin of Popular Press is Mass Circulation National Newspapers

- The Sun

- Daily Star

- Daily Mirror

- Daily Mail

- Daily Express

- Sunday editions of all these papers

Tabloid - Smaller newspaper - tends to be scandalous about personal lives of celebs/stars

Compact - Broadsheets made smaller for ease and appeal - Papers with a higher standard of journalism

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Audience and Features of Popular Press Newspapers


Uses demographics - A,B,C1,C2,D,E

There is a big difference between The Sun readers and The Daily Mail, the kind of news and the way stories are written reflect this.

Features of Popular Press and Newspapers

  • Easy to handle tabliod format
  • Easy to read news - short paragraphs
  • Emphasis on entertaining stories
  • Plenty of scandals and gossip
  • Pictures and stories about celebs
  • Enticements (Freebies) 
  • Sport 
  • Colourful Photographs 
  • Casual colloquial language - easy to read (8-9 reading age)

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Codes and Conventions

  • Masthead (title of the paper)
  • Date - news is up to date as possible
  • Hard news - almost all fact
  • Soft news - tends to be more opinion
  • Layout grabs audience
  • Headlines
  • Written in columns
  • Subheadings
  • Use of 5 W's - What, who, when, why, where!
  • Quotations
  • Short sentences and paragraphs
  • Bold writing/ capitals for first paragraph
  • Byline - Writers name printed
  • Photographs
  • Captions
  • Advertisments
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What makes something news?

  • Timing - most recent news
  • Unexpected - out of ordinary events
  • Negative - gets priority
  • Personal - human interest
  • Close to home - happen in the UK, international news if national interest
  • Powerful countries
  • Powerful People
  • Conflict
  • Continuity - develop over a few weeks
  • Predicatablity - scheduled events
  • Scale - bigger the event the more newsworthy

MUST be accurate but can offer their own interpretation.

BBC goes to great lengths to be impartial - 'Offer the audience an intelligent and informed account which enables them to form a view'

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Changes in Industry

New Technology and Falling Sales

Digital technology to present the news - websites, mobile apps, 24 hour news channels - free to use and updated regularly. - news in papers is a day old.

Staying competitive

  • Lowering prices
  • Online versions - free
  • RSS feeds for website
  • Incentives - gifts and giveaways
  • Celeb columnists


70-80% revenue - advertising             Remainder - sales and subscriptions

If sales fall paper has advertisement to make money - in recession people cut back on advertisement!


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Who owns newspapers?

Conglomerates - large companies often with global media interests ie. News Corp - owned by Rupert Murdoch

Criticisms of conglomerates

  • Small number of companies own the newspapers
  • Lack of competition
  • Interests of the media becomes commercially driven - making a profit for shareholders
  • Owners have a lot of power to present their political views to large audience
  • Bias can be used easily

Politics - newspapers support political parties which is reflected in the coverage.

1997 - The Sun switched its political allegiance - supported Tony Blair, then claimed it was responsible for the win.

2009 - Switched from New Labour to Conservative.

Readers tend to read papers that reflect their political views.

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Levision Inquirey

Allegations that the News of the World (NoW) had been illicitly hacking into the voicemail messages of prominent people to find stories surfaced in 2006, when NoW royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, were found to have been intercepting the phones of royal aides.

The pair pleaded guilty and were jailed in 2007. The paper said they had "acted alone".

However, during the years that followed, fresh evidence of widespread hacking emerged and the number of alleged victims suing the paper grew.

A turning point came on 26 January 2011, when the Metropolitan Police opened a new investigation into phone hacking, following receipt of "significant new information" from NoW owner, News International.

The phone-hacking scandal has led to the closure of the NoW - its final edition in July 2011 included an apology and signed off with headline "Thank you and goodbye".

It has also left News Corporation with a series of problems, and has raised questions about the Met's relationship with journalists.

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How are newspapers regulated?

There is NO statutory regulator - the laws of the country which includes libel law apply to the press the same as everyone else!

Libel - telling lies to someone - generally written where as slander is spoken

Court look at these criteria:

  • Does it expose a person to hatred?
  • Does it injure the person in his or her profession or trade?
  • Does it cause a person to be shunned or avoided?
  • Does it reduce a person in the eyes of right thinking people?

PPC - Press Complaints Commision

  • Funded by the newspapers acts as an independent regulator
  • If you have a complaint about inaccuracy/misrepresentation you contact the PCC.
  • They will investigate the complaint and can fine and order it to publish a retraction.

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Editor's Code of Practice

Sets out how journalists will behave and how stories will be presented.

  • Stories should be presented accurately
  • People have the opportunity to reply to stories
  • Journalists should not harass or pursue people
  • Journalists should not intrude into grief and shock
  • Children should be kept out of the press, not photographed and allowed to attend school safely
  • Clandestine devices such as bugging equipment should not be used
  • Sources of information have the right to remain confidential.

However this does not always happen... if it did there wouldn't have been the phone hacking leading to the Levision Inquiry.

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Jobs in the Industry

The Editor in Chief

Responsible for all aspects of the news operation - content of the paper, hiring, budgets, etc. 

Editors involvement varies with the size of the paper - small papers, the editor is very involved - on big papers maybe less so.

Managing Editor

Directly oversees day-today operations - responsible for getting the paper out everyday, ensuring it is the best it can be.

Depending on the size of paper - may have a number of assistant managing editors responsible for specific areas of the paper.


Research and write the copy for the articles - may specialise in a certain field.

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The British Television Industry

Key Terminology :

Terrestrial Channels - BBC1, BBC2, ITV, C4, C5, These are available to everyone.

Satellite and Cable Channels - Available through Freeview boxes or monthly subscription packages through providers such as Sky and Virgin Media. 

Public Service Broadcasting - Terrestrial have a range of obligations set out in licenses. BBC has a specific charter outlining the services it should provide.

Prime Time - Between 6pm and 10-30pm - the most popular shows are screened, the highest ratings are achieved. 6pm - 8pm are more popular for families, after is for an older demographic.

Watershed - Time period in which 'adult content' can be shown. Explicit images, strong language, violence or drug use.

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BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

Worlds oldest and biggest broadcaster. 

Funded by the Government - it doesn't carry advertisement. It is financed by the TV License Fee - Households with a TV must pay.

Independent from direct government intervention, with activities overseen by the BBC's Editor in Chief - Kevin Marsh.

The Charter specifies the mission of the corporation is to 'Inform, educate and entertain. It exists to serve the public interest :

  • Sustaining citizenship and civil society
  • Promoting education and learning
  • Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence
  • Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities
  • Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
  • Helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technology and services, and taking a lead role in the switch-over to digital television.
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ITV (Independent Television) and BSkyB (British Sk


The network of fifteen regional and three national commercial television franchises.

Originally founded to provide competition to the BBC in 1955.

First commercial television provider funded by advertisements - most popular commercial channel through most of existence. 


Public company satellite broadcaster operating in the UK and Ireland. 

Largest pay-TV broadcaster - over 10 million subscribers.

News Corp has a large share in Sky - Run by James Murdoch

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Funding in the Television Industry

BBC is partly funded by the license fee (£145.50 per household) - makes money from commercial interest.

Most top ITV shows have sponsors:

  • Coronation Street - by Harvey's
  • Britain's Got Talent -
  • Simpsons - Domino's Pizza

Other ways of making money:

  • Merchandising linked to programme
  • Selling programmes to other countries/channels
  • Selling formats for shows such as Big Brother, Pop Idol etc.

Media Conglomerate - A large international organisation that owns a lot of companies in different media industries.

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Television and Audiences

Monitoring audiences

BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) - responsible for providing the official measurement of UK television audiences. Providing estimates of people watching - includes channels and programmes and types of people watching.

Why is it important to monitor viewing figures?

  • TV companies measure success of programming and scheduling
  • Commercial TV - selling advertisement space
  • PSB (Public Service Broadcasting) - BBC needs to maintain a large audience to justify the license fee
  • Targeting potential programmes for sponsorship opportunities for clients
  • Targeting programmes for product placement

6 reasons for audiences to engage with media:

Inform, educate, entertain, escape, identify, social interaction.

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Audience Fragmentation

More access to satellite and cable services - more channels are available. Means the audiences are becoming more fragmented.

When there were fewer channels most people were watching the same programmes. More channels mean more choice!

Channels are now more specialised to specific audiences ie. CBBC, Sky Sports, Discovery channel.

BBC maintain a large share of the audience to justify the license fee.

Audience research

  • Questionnaires - telemarketing
  • Focus Groups
  • Vox Pops - Talking to people
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Regularly change scheduling to build audiences for new shows, compete with other broadcasters or to retain audience. - Give programmes the best possible chance of attracting and retaining audiences


Diving the day into several parts - programmes appropriate for the time aired.


Having special theme days/weeks (such as for holidays) - Discovery channels' Shark week.


Develop audience flow by grouping together programmes with similar appeals.

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Time period is filled with a programme whose appeal is different from the opponent programme - different genre or appeals to a different demographic.


Unpopular programme is scheduled between two popular ones in the hope that viewers will watch it. Promoting serious but valuable content - news in between programmes.


Eliminate any sort of commercial break when one programme ends and another begins. Immediately hooks the audience into watching the next programme. 

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Most common genres are:

  • Soap operas
  • Reality TV
  • Drama
  • News
  • Light entertainment
  • Sitcom

Why are soap operas so popular?

  • Real life characters and situations - people can identify
  • Regular time slots - often prime time
  • Long running stories
  • Dramatic plots - dramatic irony keeps audiences hooked
  • Popular and well-known actors
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Regulating television

Ofcom! - government approved regulatory authority for telecommunication in UK.

Main duties include making sure:

  • The UK has a wide range of electronic communications services
  • A wide range of high-quality television and radio programmes are provided
  • Television and radio services are provided by a range of different organisations
  • People who watch television and listen to radio are protected from harmful or offensive material
  • People are protected from being treated unfairly - not having privacy invaded

Ofcom investigates complaints from the public about content of programmes:

  • Voting on X Factor - Judges keep unpopular acts in to keep up ratings
  • Jonathon Ross & Russell Brand - leaving offensive answerphone messages
  • Jeremy Clarkson - 'People who go on strike should be lined up and shot in front of their families'
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Jobs in the TV Industry

Script Supervisor

They ensure that the programme/film makes continuous verbal and visual sense. Write every single movement and takes photographs for continuity.


Uses advanced creative and craft skills to create the look of each shot, while the Camera Operator works the camera.


Actors interpret the script and bring it to life, they put flesh and blood on the characters they potray.

Permanent - on staff, full time, long-term

Freelance - short-term, self-employed

Freelance are important because:

  • Short term products - no need for permanent employers
  • Producers need freelance to help with their own films
  • Easier to join the industry.
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Copy Right and Royalties


Exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. 

Copy right protects integrity and helps protect against commercial exploitation.

If there wasn't copyright no one would be able to make a living from their creativity.

The idea behind the work is not copyrighted just the product.

Copyright in the UK is automatic - there is no registration system - no forms or fees.


Royalties are paid for the use of products or media texts - such as songs, television programmes, musicals etc.

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Technology Developments

Changes in the industry:

  • Increased number of channels - makes it more competitive
  • Development of digital services - redbutton, iPlayer, Sky+, On demand
  • Move from analogue to digital
  • High definition
  • 3D

Allows audience to be more interactive:

  • TV voting
  • Chatrooms/websites
  • Social networks
  • Blogging
  • Apps for mobile phones
  • Redbutton

Audiences can create their own media texts on MySpace and Youtube.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Developments


  • Products can reach wider audiences
  • Faster and cheaper distribution of the media
  • Flexibility for audiences - no longer have to follow schedules


  • Illegal downloading and distribution of music and films
  • Falling sales of CDs, DVDs and Newspapers
  • Regulation of the Internet Vs the right to free speech
  • Privacy Vs what is in the public interest to know
  • Increased competition due to the increasing options for audiences.
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