Chapter 2- Role of Advertising Agencies

Chapter 2- Role of Advertising Agencies




Swati Mishra,; PhD , (2014), SGVU, Jaipur Page 1




Thestudyofrelevantliterature isanessentialstep togetaclearideaofwhathasbeendone,withregardtotheproblemunderstudy.Suchareviewbringsaboutadeep andclearperspective oftheoverallfield.

Aseriousandscholarlyattempthasbeenmadeby thescholartogothroughtherelatedliteratureandabriefreviewofthestudiesrelatedtothepresentproblemisdescribedinthis chapter.

Thereviews havebeenclassifiedintothefollowingSub-Sections.

Review Related to Indian Media Industry

Review Related to Innovations in Media Industry

2.1 Literature Related To Indian Media Industry:

Randal (2003) defines market driven or market orientedjournalism as ‘an organization which selects targetmarkets for its product, identifies the wants and needs ofpotential customers in its target markets, and seeks tosatisfy those wants and needs as efficiently as possible’(2003). For a news organization, a strong market orientationimplies that the newspaper, magazine, or televisionstation will aggressively seek to determine the kinds ofinformation that readers or viewers say they want or needand will provide it, says Randal (2003).

“Market Driven Journalism-Let theCitizen be aware”, Manus (1994) writes, ‘adoptingsensitivity to audience ratings similar to that of localtelevision news, news papers has diminished thetraditional role of ‘professional’ journalists as arbiters ofwhich events and issues are news worthy’. He statesfurther, ‘managers are telling journalists to let the publicdecide what becomes news by paying attention to whatkinds of reports are most highly valued in the marketplace. Citing the present market driven corporate modelof print media in operation, Manus says, ‘this marketdriven journalism may lead to four social impacts: theconsumers are likely to learn less from the news,consumers may be misled, news may becomemanipulative, and viewers may become apathetic aboutpolitics (1994).

Stepp (1991) wrote that news papers are now moving‘to embrace such topics as parenting or hobbies orshopping, and willingness to billboard such subjects onthe front page-often at the expense of the governmentnews papers have diminished. (1991).Bogart (1982),former executive vice-president of the NewspapersAdvertising Bureau, wrote, ‘many editors appear to havebeen convinced that more and bigger photographs andmore ‘features’ and ‘personality journalism’ were necessarycounters to the visual and entertainment elements ofTV (1982).

Nash (1998), a former journalist, argues thatcompetition for audiences is driving a trend toward trivialnews. He argues further, ‘by chasing the passing whimsof focus groups and surveys, most news papers haveshrivelled coverage of major political, economic and socialissues in favour of soft features, personality profiles, howto advice and a focus on the process rather than thesubstance of governance’.

Thussu (2007, 2005 and 2000)too concurs with the same definitions of Randal. Themedia scape of the South, writes Thussu (2007) hasbeen transformed in the 1990s under the impact of‘neo-liberal, market-oriented economic policies’ that encourage privatization and deregulation. In India, theincreasing marketization of news, Thussu (2005) argues,has created a façade of media plurality when in fact it is‘contributing to a democratic deficit in the world’s largestdemocracy’ (2005).

Croteau and Hoynes (2001) also address that theme:‘’…crude market-oriented media systems do not allow forany distinction between people’s roles as consumers,which are private and individual, and their roles ascitizens, which are public and collective. This is whymarket-oriented media have a tendency to produceeconomic benefits while simultaneously creatingdemocratic deficits.’

In his latest book, ‘News as Entertainment’, Thussu(2007) argues, ‘fierce competition between proliferatingnews networks for ratings and advertising has promptedthem to provide news in an entertaining manner andbroadcasters have adapted their news operations toretain their viewers or to acquire them anew’. ‘In theprocess, symbiotic relationship between the news andnews formats of current affairs and factual entertainmentgenres, such as reality TV has developed, blurring theboundaries between news, documentary andentertainment’, says Thussu (2007).

Such policies include opening up the media industriesto profit-seeking transnational corporations who are moreinterested in entertainment than public service(Shakuntala and Navjit, 2007).

“With post cold–war globalization, the US inspired newsand entertainment programs made up of game, chat, andreality shows; programming that Clausen (2004) calls ‘the transnational genre conventions’ has come todominate the mediascape of the South, including thecontent of the Indian media” (Shakuntala and Johal,2007).

Today, the Indian media are passing through dramaticshift in favor of consumerism and the content of themedia is becoming more and more market driven(Sharma, 2002).Randal (2000) points out that a similarsituation in the US has caused the market drivenjournalism in print media in the post 1990s. Randal(2000), in his extensive studies, quoting the works ofAlbers (1995), Kohli and Jaworski (1990), and Doug andKeith Stamm (1992) on the US print media market-drivenjournalism, including content analysis, found that thereare two types of market driven journalisms: Strongmarket orientation and Weak market orientation. Strongmarket orientation media had lesser content of publicsphere or public service and public affairs than weakmarket orientation.

Randal (2003) observed that despite marketdriven journalism of the strong market oriented media,the latter retained the accountability to the public and itsadversarial role. One more assumption about the marketdriven journalism of strong market oriented print media is,‘they devote excessive resources to the publication’s appearance and to providing readers with devices thatallow easy processing of information’ (Randal, 2000;Manus, 1996).Nash (1998), for example argues that the ‘editors arespending less time considering content and much moreon layout, graphics, typefaces, pictures or photos andgrabby headlines”. Randal (2003) applied hismethodology of content analysis only to analyze twothings broadly: i.) content differences among strong andweak newspapers, ii.) lay out differences.

Robin (2000) in his exhaustive study on Indiannews paper revolution placed much of the emphasis onthe strategies the strong corporate houses adopted,which got Indian print media in treating the localization ofnews as a saleable commodity. He observed thatcommercialization of local news in the form of colorsupplements on a variety of subjects has been thesingular strategy for increasing advertisements andrevenues, besides expanding the readership zones stateand district wise (2000).

Sevanti (2007) traced that theupsurge in the post 1990s was due to the synchronousworking of several factors such as increased literacy andpolitical awareness among the rural people due to theBJP and Mandal politics, besides the tilt of the biggercorporate media from the elitist class to literacy class.Secondly, she also noted that the rural revolution in theHindi heart land was also a post television phenomenon.People who happened to access the television gotexcited at the developments and the reportings seen onthe small screen and liked to curiously know more aboutthem in the print media next day (Ninan, 2007). Thirdly,there was a phenomenal localization of news in the formof additional supplements which placed emphasis on thelocal crime, politics, entertainment and life styles. All thisadded to the growing popularity of Hindi news papersregion wise and by 2006, the Hindi news papersoccupied the top 5 positions among the top 10 positionsthrowing English news papers like the Times of India togo for 11th position (Ninan, 2007).

Robin (2000), Thussu (1995 -2007) and Ninan (2007) indicated the existence of thecharacteristics of market driven journalism in the Indianprint and TV media, they are based more on observationsthan any systematic study. We, however, found that inNinan’s latest work (2007), she had indeed collectedsamples of regional editions and examined the itemsagainst the characteristics of market driven journalism, achapter which she had exclusively done under the title‘The Universe of the Local News’ on the Hindi papers.But such a study was not done against the English newsdailies such as what we have taken in our study.

Randal Beam (2003) argued that the strong marketoriented media players still retained the grit for theaccountability and not pandered to the audience interests totally. Randal Beam defined ‘accountability’ in a differentway in his study. He observed that the US media and itsnews rooms retained the freedom of editorial decisionswith regard to offering information on issues of publicimportance despite the overriding effect of market drivenjournalistic characteristics appearing in the pages ofnews papers.

The present study therefore endeavours to examine theapplicability of Randal (2003) observations of marketdriven journalism to the Indian English print media,comprising four major English news dailies-Times ofIndia, Hindustan Times, The Hindu and Indian Express interms of content differences and lay out design. Wefurther seek to establish how this transition to marketdriven journalism, which started in India in the 1990s asan offshoot of liberalization and as an US driven marketoriented global journalism, has to come to stay andstabilize in Indian print media with reference to selectedleading English news dailies published from Lucknowregion and Delhi (in the case of The Hindu), besidesexploring some of the consequences of such a deviation.

Shakuntala and Navjit (2007) found that ‘accountability’ is the abilityof media to arouse public opinion regarding an issue and to makethe government respond to it as happened in the case of JessicaLal murder case in 1999. But, in a different study of electronicmedia’s content analysis, Shakuntala (2008) argued that the Indianbroadcast media, despite being market driven, retained theaccountability by demanding explanation from the government withregard to corruption, crime and legal issues. She defined theaccountability as 1.) Revealing information after extensiveand close scrutiny of the conditions in which people live; 2.) Locatingtheir problems; 3.) Reporting criticisms of the government; and 4.)Reporting positive results.

The media relations ‘industry’ within Australian government and politics is a large but underresearchedfield. Ward has chronicled the growth of the government media relations sector overrecent decades and the mechanics of Labor and Coalition government media units and publicitymachines. While no certain figure has been put on it, as Ward (2007 pp 8 - 17) and Tiffen (1989)showed, it is a major strategic element of modern government and politics, costing taxpayershundreds of millions of dollars each year. There has been some important research into particularaspects of government media relations in Australia, including Tiffen and Ward as well as Butler(1998) and Ester (2007). There has also been a large amount of commentary and analysis including(Burton, 2007; Hamilton & Maddison, 2007; Tuchman, 1978; Ian Ward, 2002; Ian Ward, 2003)and several substantial overseas studies (Franklin, 2004; Norris, Curtice, Sanders, Scammell, &Semetko, 1999; VanSlyke Turk, 1986). But no recent research project has been undertaken todiscover and theorise upon empirical data on the interface between government and the media inAustralia.

Researchers from disciplines including sociology, history, politics, communication, mediastudies and cultural studies have studied government media relations and political communication.They have been influenced by a range of theoretical perspectives, including postmodernist, theoriesof public sphere, and political economy [see Watts (1997, pp. 24-25) for a useful survey of suchapproaches]. Others noted political influence on the news agenda Ward’s (1995) seminal text, Politics of the Media, devoted a chapter to ‘public relations, politicsand the news’, citing Australian empirical data from Wilson (1989), a Queensland GovernmentElectoral and Administrative Review Commission report (EARC, 1993), and Tiffen’s (1989)landmark News and Power. Although he did not set out to measure of government media relations,Tiffen’s (1989) interviews with 223 journalists combined with a small content analysis and ananalysis of news stories in a ‘comparative case study’ approach, formed the basis of Australia’s firstsignificant research project on the relationship between news and politics.

Many studies both in Australia and overseas have addressed elements of the relationship betweennews organisations and government media relations staff, including Van Slyke Turk (1986), Butler(1998), Phillipps (2002) and Zawawi (1994), no single study has tackled the topic comprehensively.It is important area for study to ensure that key stakeholders – including the public, journalists,parliamentarians and public relations practitioners – have empirical evidence by which they cancompare and discuss this phenomenon and take appropriate decisions.

Barbara-Ann Butler (1998) covered much more than government media relations,but included substantial sections dealing with it. She recorded the four evening free-to-air newsbulletins in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne during the second week of November 1991 duringparliamentary sittings and again during the second last week of the 1993 federal election campaign.She also gathered metropolitan daily newspapers from the same three cities and the national dailyThe Australian for the same two weeks. The main aim was to identify the production origins of thetelevision news stories. Other sources included media releases and bulletin rundowns. Butler foundthat during the parliamentary sitting period (1991) journalists gained most of their material fromofficial proceedings and press releases, followed by press conferences and other staged events.However, during the campaign period (1993) the prime source of news was other staged events,followed by press releases and press conferences.

The idea of the media as agenda-setter was hardly new. In the late 1960s, Maxwell E. McCombs and Donald L. Shaw began studying the agenda-setting capacity of the news media in American presidential elections. They were especially interested in the question of information transmission — what people actually learn from news stories, rather than attitudinal changes, the subject of earlier research. Their research precipitated a stream of empirical studies that underscored the media's critical role as vehicles of political information.

In their 1977 book, The Emergence of American Political Issues, McCombs and Shaw argued that the most important effect of the mass media was "its ability to mentally order and organize our world for us." The news media "may not be successful in telling us what to think," the authors declared, "but they are stunningly successful in telling us what to think about."

McCombs and Shaw also note that the media's tendency to structure voters' perceptions of political reality in effect constitutes a bias: "to a considerable degree the art of politics in a democracy is the art of determining which issue dimensions are of major interest to the public or can be made salient in order to win public support."

The presidential observer Theodore White arrived at the same conclusion in his landmark book, The Making of a President: "The power of the press in America is a primordial one. It sets the agenda of public discussion; and this sweeping political power is unrestrained by any law. It determines what people will talk and think about — an authority that in other nations is reserved for tyrants, priests, parties and mandarins."

The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University recently published a report titled "Restoring the Bond: Connecting Campaign Coverage to Voters." One of the lessons learned from the 1988 presidential campaign, the report finds, is that journalists have contributed to the alienation and anger among voters. "If a single overriding theme emerges from this work, it is a concern that campaigns have become distant from the concerns of voters, that a 'disconnect' has developed between the electorate and their prospective leaders — and that journalism, rather than bridging the gap, has helped create and sustain it." The Center's report also criticized the prevailing "insider" approach to campaign coverage; the media's focus on political strategy and advertising over substance; and the tendency for the production demands of television to determine the way candidates and issues are presented and discussed during presidential campaigns. "In practice," the report concludes, "this means that the public is losing its grip on the democratic process.

The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University recently published a report titled "Restoring the Bond: Connecting Campaign Coverage to Voters." One of the lessons learned from the 1988 presidential campaign, the report finds, is that journalists have contributed to the alienation and anger among voters. "If a single overriding theme emerges from this work, it is a concern that campaigns have become distant from the concerns of voters, that a 'disconnect' has developed between the electorate and their prospective leaders — and that journalism, rather than bridging the gap, has helped create and sustain it."

New York University's Robert Karl Manoff in the March/April 1987 issue of Center Magazine. He maintains that one of the major problems of today's journalism is that the press is allied with the state. "The press," he writes, "is actually a handmaiden of power and American politics." It reports governmental conflict only when conflict exists within the state itself. Journalists and officials share a "managerial ethos" in which both agree that national security, for instance, is best handled without the public's knowledge.

Arthur J. Heise, associate professor at Florida International University in Miami, sees the role of the media as a "public management function," one he sees as essential to a healthy democracy. The erosion of public confidence in government can be at least partially attributed to the media's failure "in its role as a free and independent press . . . to live up to its constitutional responsibilities. Many in the news media could agree, at least in large measure, that they are not covering the affairs of the state as fully, as penetratingly and as aggressively as they might."

Columbia Journalism Review, James Boylan reflects on "voter alienation and the challenge it poses to the press." He writes that "information, the raw material of news, usually turns out to be the peculiar property of those in power and their attendant experts and publicists." The conclusion he draws from this is that "political reporting, like other reporting, is defined largely by its sources."

Karp, Heise, and Iyengar and Kinder all cite a landmark study conducted by media critic Leon V. Sigal who analyzed nearly 3,000 news stories that appeared in New York Times and Washington Post between 1949 and 1969. He found that nearly four out of five of the stories involved official sources. The significance of media sources becomes immediately apparent in the context of media framing. As Iyengar writes in the September 1987 issue of American Political Science Review, "the invoking of different reference points triggers completely different strategies of choice or judgment.