History of Entertainment Education Acompañame ("Come Along With Me") to the Origins of Family Planning Soaps: The Enter‑Educate Movement, 1969‑present Sarah N. Keller, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Health Communication Emerson College
Definitions • Define entertainment education (1 minute short write)
Definitions • Entertainment education—also termed enter‑educate, pro‑social entertainment, pro‑development entertainment, edu‑tainment and infotainment—is defined as: • the process of putting educational content in entertaining formats and messages in order to: • increase knowledge • create favorable attitudes • change overt behavior concerning an educational issue
Overview • History • of broadcast media uses to communicate social goals through entertainment • Mexican television producer Miguel Sabido • produced and aired the first television soap operas to promote specific behavior change or moral values among a national audience • Efforts to promote Third World development • through mass media, which began shortly after World War II • Case study: “Acompaname” • 1977-78 • Mexican soap opera to promote family planning
Question 1 • How do you think entertainment education got it start? When and where? (1 min. short writing assignment)
History • 1951 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): • the British radio soap opera The Archers promoted agricultural innovations and was immensely popular among farmers. • 1959 Jamaican government: • a radio drama, Raymond the Sprayman, to promote mosquito eradication and urban migration. • 1969 television in Peru: • Simplemente María, a Cinderella story of a young woman who emigratesfrom the Andes to take a job as a maid in Lima • not designed intentionally to impact viewers' behavior • watershed event in the history of pro‑social mass media • immense popularity throughout Latin America • impact on human behavior
Televisa & Miguel Sabido • 1975-81 Televisa aired six pro-social soap operas • 1975 Ven Conmigo (Come with Me), a soap opera to promote literacy • 1977 Acompañame to promote family planning • 1984 Indian government and Population Communication International • launched HumLog (We People) to teach people the dangers of uncontrolled population growth • 50 million viewers • 1986 Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs • enlisted two popular music singers, Tatiana and Johnny, to promote family planning in 12 Latin American countries
History • Today • entertainment education has been used to promote reproductive health in more than 20 countries • 6 U.S.‑funded agencies use entertainment‑education strategies: • Academy for Educational Development (AED) • Johns Hopkins University/Population Communication Services (JHU/PCS) • Population Communications International (PCI) • Population Services International (PSI) • Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Question 2 • Summarize the history of entertainment education in a brief list. (1 min. exercise – pair-share)
Televisa • Although privately owned, Televisa was legally obligated to promote social responsibility messages • Mexican government 1960 TV access law • required commercial companies to give the government direct access to 12.5% of airtime • defined responsibilities of broadcast companies as affirming: • respect for moral principles • human dignity • family relationships • preventing negative disturbances for the harmonious development of children • exalting the values of Mexican nationality
Question 3 • A) Do you think it is the government’s responsibility to mandate media companies to promote “social responsibility goals?” • B) If so, what should these goals be? • C) Do you think the United States currently holds a socially responsible policy with regards to the mass media? If so, what is it? • (group brainstorm)
U.S. TV access laws • U.S. Hutchins Commission in 1947 • Five demands for an ideal role of communication in society: • 1) a truthful, comprehensive account of the day's events • 2) a forum for the exchange of comment and criticism • 3) a representative picture of diverse social groups • 4) clarification of goals and values of society • 5) full access to the day's intelligence • 1934 Federal Communication Commission • mandated ad revenue as the source of funding for TV stations (eclipsed non-profit voices on the air) • Big Four networks resisted any government attempt to enforce media content
Miguel Sabido, TV Producer • Sabido is attributed with developing the genre of pro‑social soap operas • He drew from psychology and communication theories • Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory • Jung's theory about the archetypes of collective unconscious • Peru's experience with Simplemente María
Entertainment Education Methodology • 1) the determination of a central educational value which all parties involved could agree on • 2) an integrated multi‑disciplinary theoretical framework • 3) a well‑defined telenovela production system
Entertainment-ed Methodology • Each of Sabido's soap operas contained • characters who support the central values (positive role models) • characters who reject those values (negative role models) • those who waiver in between (doubters) • The doubters represent different sociodemographic categories of audience and different stages along a continuum of behavior change • Gradually, each doubter shifts toward the new values and begins to adopt the corresponding socially desirable behavior • Each episode is reinforced by a 30‑40‑second epilogue, an advertisement for that day's educational message delivered by a national celebrity
Question 4 • What do you think the political social context was at the time that entertainment education was developing? (1950s-70s) • What major events were occurring with regard to international development and media that may have affected it? • (Break up into pairs and discuss for 5 minutes)
Political-historical context • 1950s • strong optimism in media as the great multiplier of knowledge • emergence of new mass media technologies • use of film and radio for propaganda during World War II • newly independent nations of the post‑war period were severely “underdeveloped”
Political-historical context • 1972 New World Information Order • UNESCO called for mass media companies to assume a positive responsibility in assisting the creation of a new global order • Treaty so bold that it prompted nations to withdraw • Western media organizations, the "Big Four" network companies in the United States • Only willing to lend limited technical support to developing countries • Refused to promise assistance in developing pro‑social media campaigns • Objected most strongly to manipulation of program content
Context (cont’d) • 1976 • Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo adopted the UNESCO rhetoric supporting the "right to information" • applied it to domestic programming, requiring broadcast content to serve as an instrument of political and socialdevelopment • U.S. federal agencies willing to support pro‑social mass media campaigns ‑‑ • as long as they were conducted by independent non‑profit agencies or local media companies in the Third World
Discussion • What motivated a successful television producer to dedicate his life's talent to promoting pro-social goals? • Why was such an altruistic endeavor blocked in the United States?
Case study • Acompañame • Story of a young married woman who decides she wants to stop having more children. • She has severe modesty and embarrassment about discussing sexual matters • Nonetheless, she visits a doctor seeking family planning advice.
Case study (cont’d) • Her husband doesn't know she is there. • Her friend, Marta, has told her some contraceptive information, but she is "very ignorant about these things" and fears that the "pill causes cancer”….
Case study (cont’d) • Doctor agrees that five children (the number of children she has already had) are enough • He points out that her husband will likely appreciate the cost savings of limiting one's offspring
Effects • Acompañame broadcast in Mexico by Televisa August 1977-April 1978 • 180 episodes achieved average audience viewing ratings of 29% • Not as high as the 35% audience ratings of the most popular telenovelas in Mexico • 562,464 women visited clinics and adopted contraceptives while show was on the air, up 33% over previous year • 2,500 women volunteered with Mexican National Plan for Family Planning -- promoted by the show
Evaluation questions • Why was Acompañame as popular as it was, and why was it not more popular? • What about the programming made it successful, and what limited its success? • Why did it become a model for similar programming around the world?
Key elements • timing • degree of audience identification • quality of acting • viewing context • novelty of the programming • to what extent the product was culturally shareable
Question 5 • Brainstorm in small groups for 5 minutes on what cultural/economic aspects affected the popularity of shows like Acompaname from 1969-78?
Timing: Decade that both Simplemente María and Acompañame aired, 1969-1978 • television audiences expanding rapidly • urban migration, class struggle salient • women were entering workforce • popular culture changing • changing structure of the family • shifting gender roles • birth control was becoming popular • divorce more acceptable • single motherhood
Acompañame • But… • What aspects of the storyline might not have fit with the culture?
Acompañame • Personal and social appeals were missing • Lead character was not socially mobile
Simplemente María • A content analysis shows the advancement of women to be the single most common theme in the series. • 18 episodes of the series classified according to: • immigration, marriage, differences between social classes, the advancementof women, definitions of love, sons as vehicles of promotion, the personality of Maria, the personality of Esteben, the personality of Teresa, the mystique of money, and suffering. • The central themes, in order of prevalence, were: • the advancement of women, class differences, the personality of Maria, marriage and definitions of love.
Advancement of women • Possibly, Maria held wider appeal because she confronted social as well as personal conflicts ‑‑ • romantic frustrations, • abandonment by a man, • raising a child alone, • poverty, • struggle to move up the social ladder.
Future research • Saruchi Sood outlined various recommendations for future research: • Research on audience involvement could refine the elements of audience involvement (e. g., researchers could hypothesize about the relationship between identification with characters and the prosocial and antisocial qualities exhibited by the characters in a media program) • Because the process of audience involvement is important to understand, the antecedents and consequences should also be analysed (e. g., exposure to a media program). • Research is also needed on the affective nature of messages and the responses they generate, as well as the cognitive process through which information is processed by audiences. • Research efforts should focus on the influence of culture on patterns of behavior
Reading • http://www.jhuccp.org/pubs/sp/21/chp6.shtml • Research Panel: "Challenges in Entertainment-Education Theory" • Monkey See, Monkey Do • Lawrence Kincaid • Peter Vaughan • Saruchi Sood