CMS2010 Manufacturing Culture: Culture as Global Industries Semester 2, 2005 Week 5 Module 5
THE CONTEXT OF GLOBALISATION Introduction to Economic Cultural Mass Aspects of Aspects of Globalisation Culture Globalisation Globalisation CASE STUDIES OF CULTURE INDUSTRIES Sony Corporation Popular Music Fashion Industry Industry Cinema International Industry News Agencies THE ROLE OF MARKETING AND ADVERTISING IN GLOBAL CULTURE INDUSTRIES Marketing Advertising Culture Industry
Objectives of this Module • Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which a vertically and horizontally integrated communications company like SONY responds to the processes of globalisation • Critique some of SONY’s responses to globalisation • Critique the notion of “standardisation of culture” • Show that the power and influence of the culture industries is not an automatic given.
Sources of Information • You must read the textbook, DuGay, Chapter 2 pages 83 to 95 • If you wish to read more on SONY Corporation read another book by DuGay et. al. titled Doing Cultural Studies: The story of the SONY Walkman. (for more details see page 103 of your textbook) • If you want to read another attempt by Sony to achieve “synergy” see http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/lawrpt/stories/s639926.htm
Relevance of Horkheimer & Adorno • Horkheimer & Adorno are relevant here because the Sony case study examines some of the arguments which mitigate some of the fears about globalisation. Such as the fears about centralisation, industrialisation and homogenisation of culture expressed by Horkheimer and Adorno.
Rationale -- Fears • Concerns with corporate cultural production have continued well beyond the time of Horkheimer & Adorno’s critique • eg UNESCO (1982) feared marginalisation of cultural messages which were not marketable commodities • eg fears in the 1990s over big mergers of media and culture industries
Fears • Fears about threats which corporatisation posed to cultural diversity • Fears of concentration of the ownership of cultural production • Fears of concentration standardisation & homogenisation • Fears of ‘deregulation’ of the culture industries by governments
Fears • Fears relating to a shift from seeing people as citizens and regulation of culture ‘in the public interest’ to seeing people as ‘customers’ and the public as ‘consumer markets’ (eg Robins) • Fears about the commodification of public expression ( eg Schiller)
Events • During the 1980s media corporations began to expand beyond national borders, aided by new communication technologies • During the 1990s this process intensified and was well publicised (eg Disney/Capital Cities/ABC merger of television network and film studio)
Why study Sony? • Sony is a multinational, multicultural corporation which is involved in many culture industries at various levels • It acquired Columbia/Tri Star (films) and CBS (records) and thus fits the description of concentrated media/culture industry • Its weaknesses became exposed (rare for such a company)
The Sony Case Study: Key Questions • How do the actions of human beings interact with and change social structures? • How do economic relationships involve the production of cultural meanings? • What is the relationship between structures and processes of cultural production and the way in which audiences make cultural meanings?
Synergy • ‘a strategy of synchronising and actively forging connections between directly related areas of entertainment’ (p.85) to maximise profits • (similar to synergistic relationships in nature – insect-eating birds on cattle)
What were the synergies attracting cultural producers in early 1990s? (p.85) • Textual connections (synergies of software) • Connections between technology and text (hardware and software) • Convergence of hardware components • Connections between technologies of distribution
What makes these synergies possible? • Horizontal integration • one company buying and integrating many firms producing the same product (eg EMI owning 65 record companies in 37 countries) • Vertical integration • one company buying companies which operate at all levels in the production of one product (eg Disney owning film studios, distribution chains, cinemas, video companies, rental shops and television channels)
Synergy Examples in Last Action Hero • Film soundtrack used artists from Sony Music Entertainment (eg Alice in Chains) • Other Sony products featured prominently in the film (esp MiniDisk player, Sony cellular phone) • Interactive video game and an amusement ride to be made from footage from the film • VR version of film also made & shown in Sony’s theatre chain • Sony’s digital sound system would be used in making prints of the film & marketing
What else should have helped the synergy? • Use of big name star (Schwarzenegger) • Expensive marketing (name & picture on a NASA rocket) • Aggressive public relations (threats to the press)
Why did the synergy fail? • Human agency impeded ‘ideal’ structures (eg engineers and film producers had geographic, cultural and occupational differences) • Medium-level structural clashes (see Bourdieu’s ‘classification struggles’, pp. 93-94) • Single ownership is no guarantee of unity within the corporation
More information http://www.sonypictures.com/digent/index.html
Module 5 reading: • Du Gay Chapter 2, Pages 83 to 95 • Selected Readings - there are no selected readings for this module