We know that public media systems and the content they distribute create value for audiences, and that they create social value. While commercial markets for media products can provide estimates for some of these sources of value, they largely fail to fully consider and evaluate “free media” and noncommercial sources of value, particularly the social value arising from public media news and information services. The failure to measure, much less capture, these alternative sources of value has contributed to the problems facing public media. Perhaps the biggest problem in determining and measuring the value of public media and its content is their complexity as goods and services. Public media and content are consumed as bundles – of content and distribution form, of multiple component pieces of content, of product and affiliated value-added aspects. These bundles may be involved in multiple markets, each contributing potential value to individuals as well as making contributions to social and public welfare over time. All this has contributed to the failure to develop adequate measured of the full range of values, much less look at the comparative contributions of individual factor and attributes within the bundled local news product. Long used as a tool in market research, conjoint analysis provides a way to differentiate the relative values placed on different aspects and features of products and services. However, early implementation of the analytical tools became cumbersome when dealing with more than a couple of levels of a couple of factors, as it required separate evaluation of all possible combinations of levels and factors. More recent analytical techniques can significantly reduce the operational complexity of conjoint analyses, allowing the examination of relative value across a wider range of factors, and more levels or options within each factor. With the new methods, a means of soliciting indicators of the perceived value of a wider range of the private and social value of a range of public media types, contents, and services exists. The proposed paper will discuss early results from an U.S. convenience sample of young adults that will utilize conjoint analysis to measure the comparative personal, and perceived social, value of local news and information outlets. The analysis should be able to isolate the relative contribution of local news outlet, type of news/information, source expertise/credibility, and availability of additional related content (including audience interactions and contributions). We’ve had interest from possible collaborators around the world in terms of administering the survey to local samples, and hopefully, by the time of the conference, we will also be able to show some cross-cultural comparisons. Developing better estimates of the relative value and importance of various aspects of local news operations has important implications for public media – providing a better basis for arguing for public financing and support (reflecting the perceived public and social value of public media), and providing public media with improved information on what their audiences do and do not value in their content and services.
The WIPO has been working on a proposed Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting for more than a decade. After a long delay and the completion of commissioned research on the problem and impact of signal piracy, interest in passing a revised Treaty resurfaced. At the time of the last major revision, there had been a number of scholarly studies and NGO position papers that questioned whether treaty would be able to eliminate signal piracy and generate significant new revenue streams for broadcasters, and at what cost to the greater public and social welfare. Almost all of that discussion has focused on the consideration of the implications for television (video) broadcast content and signals, arguably the more valuable of the various types of broadcast signals. There has been little specific consideration of the implications for radio broadcasting generally, and public service radio broadcasting in particular. Public service, and other noncommercial, radio broadcasting often serves functions well beyond revenue maximization, functions that generally involve seeking to maximize the availability and use of broadcast signals and content. Since many of the treaty provisions focus on being able to limit access and use, they would appear to be in conflict with public service goals and mandates. This paper will address the implications of the proposed WIPO Broadcast Treaty for public service radio broadcasting, other noncommercial forms of radio broadcasting, as well as commercial radio broadcasting. Using a law & economics / media economics perspective, we will consider how each major provision is likely to impact on radio markets, audience behaviors, and radio broadcaster operations, with specific focus on implications regarding the level of signal piracy, the potential to generate additional revenues, and most critically, the ability of public service and other radio broadcasters to achieve their public service, public welfare, and social welfare goals. Should there be any further revisions or action regarding the Treaty prior to the conference data, we’ll update the study to reflect the most recent versions.
China’s attitude towards freedom of speech, and their various attempts to control information flows, has long been the topic of scholarship. This literature has primarily focused on examining the direct application of coercive power and regulation by the state. Few studies have examined the exercise of “soft power” - efforts to influence and shape coverage by framing news coverage. Framing has a long history in media and journalism studies; Entman (1993) defined framing as the process of selecting salient aspects of reality “in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation.”(52) Framing would thus seem to be one way in which “soft power” may be manifest. Most research on news framing in China involves examining the content of Chinese domestic media outlets (often in comparison to outlets in other countries), or the foreign press’ coverage of China. Little research has been done on the process of influencing the development of frames, on the application of “soft power” on foreign media bureaus in China. As of December 2006, 616 journalists were accredited in China, representing 320 media organizations from 49 countries. Their stories create and present to the world an image of China that often guides how people in the other countries form their own attitudes and beliefs towards China. The 2008 Olympic Games provided China a world stage on which to brand herself. This paper will study the process in which the Chinese government sought to use “soft power” during the Olympic Games to focus coverage and manipulate how the stories were written by the journalists working for foreign media outlets. Entman, Robert M. 1993. "Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm." Journal of Communication 43 (4): 51-8.
While the literature abounds with scholarship examining the relationship between cultural power and political economics, there are far fewer studies utilizing more traditional economic theories and perspectives. Further, those tend to focus more on the structure and operation of “cultural industries” – and on the sources and impacts of the commercial value they produce – than considering the full range of values generated by the concept of culture as information. While commercial value predominates for many economic goods and services, it often fails to capture a variety of noncommercial sources of value commonly found in information goods and services (broader social value, ancillary value, secondary value) (Bates, 1988). Social economics theory was developed as a mechanism to address and identify the non-commercial values generated in economic behaviors. Culture, as both a general concept and in the form of cultural goods, is a form of information that, by definition, carries a significant degree of social value potential. The notion of cultural power also infers the potential for significant ancillary and secondary value effects (the consequences of the creation and consumption of culture in other areas or beyond the initial market). Since these values and effects largely occur outside of the traditional commercial marketplace (demonstrating “market failure”), they provide motivation and incentive for policy and/or state intervention. In other words, a mechanism for the projection of “soft power” through media, information, and cultural policy (cf. Bates, 2008, 2009). This paper will use social economics theory to examine how China could project “soft power” through cultural policy. Bates, Benjamin J. (1988). Information as an Economic Good: Sources of Individual and Social Value. (Mosco V., Wasko J., Ed.).The Political Economy of Information. 76-94. Bates, Benjamin J. (2008). Commentary: Value and Digital Rights Management: A Social Economics Approach. Journal of Media Economics. 21(1), 53-77. Bates, Benjamin J. (2009). Framing Media Economic Policy: A Social Economics Approach.. (Albarran A., Faustino P., Santos R., Ed.).The Media as Driver of the Information Society: Economics, Management, Policies and Technologies. 559-574.