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September 04, 2008
Preferred Meaning / Preferred Reading
In media and cultural studies the idea of a preferred meaning that is embedded within a media text came from Stuart Hall then director of Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCS) at Birmngham University.
Media studies recognises that no media text is just "neutral", instead it is recognised that each media text carries a range of meanings that have been encoded into the text either deliberately or at a more unconscious level. The meanings are embedded by using a range of technical codes such as camera angles which can often imply power relationships. Freqently low angle angle shots of a person speaking to a superior come from an 'over the shoulder shot' where the audience is literally looking up at the superior person from the perspective of the inferior person.
The BBC Newsroom in News 24 usually has two presenters one male one female which signifies gender equality. Sports and busioness reporters, editors and correspondents are a roughly equal mixture of men and women. Women who are pregnant often appear as presenters. This never happened on TV at all until the 1980s and even then very rarely. Before that pregnancy was pretty much a taboo subject despite the fact that over 50 % of the population is female and a large proportion of this 50+ % become pregnant at some time in their lives. This reinforces the message of gender equality through re-presentation of people in what can be considered as a normal balance of life. The newsroom also has a good range of different ethnicities represented. Where there is a single anchor person presenting the news the balance is kept between male and female.
BBC iPlayer has a range of different News programmes available. Check them out to see what the representational balance is between male and female.
- News at One
- News at Six
- News at Ten
The BBC newsroom can be understood by viewers as a representation of a media institution that values equality of opportunity and meritocracy (people getting into a job on the basis of their abilities) in a society that is cosmopolitan and heterogeneous (mixed). Because the media institution is the British Broadcasting Corporation and is funded from millions of licence fee payers viewers and also has a global reach it conveys a prefferred meaning about the nature of British Society itself. The BBC intends that a viewer whether British or not will form an impression of Britain being a liberal mixed society and egalitarian society. Whether the viewers "reads" the text this way is another matter. Media and Cultural Studies have developed anothe idea called a negotiated reading.
The mise en scene of the Newsroom and the way the presenters are lit and dressed all underpin these re-presentations. We can therefore think of a media text being encoded with certain messages.
March 19, 2008
Glossary of Magazine Terms
Ad-get Features: These are closely linked to advertorials. This involves a special theme being proposed in order to sell advertising space in the magazine. This is a slightly murky field. For example the Times Higher Educational supplement might tell publishers when it is going to carry features and revews on a particular subject area such as ‘Media’ for example. Obviously this is likely to attract more buyers than usual from University media departments. But the publishers of Media textbooks will have no say in exactly what is written in the features or the reviews. With ‘lifestyle’ magazines this relationship breaks down rapidly and there is likely to be close collaboration between advertisers and the magazine.
Advertorials: sometimes known as ‘special features’ these are pages for which the advertiser pays but the pages are designed and written in the style of the magazine’s editorial. They are either done by the magazine’s own staff or else they are freelance writers working to the magazines style sheets. They help to ‘deliver the reader to the advertisers’ by deliberately blurring the difference between the editorial content and the adverts. In many ways they can be seen as an attempt to fool readers into thinking that the content is in some way ‘objective’. Certainly the net effect is - except to the exceptionally alert reader - to provide an underpinning of the product concerned. Researching 1966 for IPC (a magazine company) showed that readers assume that the editor has in some way been involved in the selection of the product shown in the advertisement feature. The closer the match between the advertisement feature and the editorial style of the magazine the more readers are likely to believe that the editor is endorsing the product. The brand values of the magazine will feed into the product being featured. The December 2004 GQ ‘GQ Promotion’ of a Volvo 4 wheel drive estate which lends an air of excitement to the product is effectively part of a campaign to reposition in the car market as something more ‘lifestyle’ linked to adrenalin rather than as in Britain an image of staidness and safety features. Clearly primarily aimed at younger men. These features are meant to carry a truth ‘warning’ indicating that it is some kind of advertisement.
AIDA. Advertisers have worked for many years trying develop models of consumer behaviour. Many work to a behavioural model called AIDA = Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. In this model the purpose of advertising is to raise awareness, then stimulate interest which leads to the creation of desire and subsequently action. Action wouldn’t necessarily take place for some time especially in the case of something big like car adverts for example. This meant that advertisers had to multiply the number of messages to reinforce their sales force. This model is dependent upon a ‘rational’ consumer acting in a linear way. Also many adverts failed to stimulate action or desire. Now most advertising strategies rely upon 2 main behavioural responses: raising awareness and stimulating interest.
AIR: see Average Issue Readership.
Average Issue Readership
Burst Advertising (also see Drip Advertising). Burst advertising concentrates on a range of vehicles with high frequency. This can be targeted at crucial times of year. For example the expensive Swiss watches advertised before Xmas (Cartier / Breitling) in GQ will also be present in the quality Newspapers (Financial Times, Independent, Telegraph, Times, Sunday Times etc). They will also be in magazines such as The Economist. GQ is the sort of magazine often consumed whilst waiting for business meetings or travelling to them and can be bought more for the adverts than the editorial content.
Circulation: Circulation differs from readership. A magazine will almost certainly have more readers than it has buyers. Each magazine generates figures which suggest the actual multiple involved. In other words whether it is 2 or 10 times the number of readers to buyers. Let us take GQ. It has a circulation of around 100,000 if its index comes out as 10 then it will have 1 million people reading it.
Consumer Magazines: These aim at leisure interest giving readers , advice information and entertainment relating to the reader’s leisure time. Magazines on cars, boats, bycycles, windsurfing, cinema etc. The actual quality of the writing and the target audience will of course vary. What links all these magazines is the fact that they will carry adverts to encourage the reader to consume relevant products in some way. Buying a car or a DVD or going to a film.
Coverage (Advertising). Coverage is the number of the target market reached. Coverage is usually measured in Average Issue Readership (AIR) for print media.
Cover lines : Information about major articles given on the front page of a magazine
Drip Advertising. (also see Burst Advertising). Drip advertising tends to focus on keeping up an awareness of a brand. You might see a a body product being advertised in a drip way after an initial Burst campaign to create awareness. Because perfumes etc are relatively cheap and regularly consumed it is important to keep brand awareness up. Buyers are likely to consume several times a year so it is important to try and maintain brand loyalty.
Frequency (advertising) is the number of times the target market is reached.
Left-side third: A lot of important information designed to attract potential readers is placed in the left-hand side vertical third of the front cover page. This is in case the magazine is displayed in a horizontal shelving system rather than a vertical one.
Lifestyle Magazines: a sub-genre of consumer magazines. Where titles are not clearly about one activity or interest they are likely to be about lifestyle. Most of these are for women and girls but since the 1990s several new ones have been aimed at men such as FHM, Loaded, Front and GQ. These have so far been very successful. A critic Cynthia White as far back as the 1970s asked of women’s magazines how far they supported acquisition as a primary goal of life thereby relegating or downgrading other goals in life. This can now be asked of men’s ‘Lifestyle Magazines’.
Magazines / Technology and Ads: For many years magazines benefited from having full colour reproduction. This kept key advertisers such as food, drinks, fashion and cosmetics. As technologies changed and colour became more available for newspapers so magazines had to develop new arguments. They have to convince Media Buyers that it is ‘common sense’ that women’s monthlies have more loyal readers than say newspaper colour supplements. They convince media buyers by going out and doing ‘qualitative research’.
Market Penetration: This term refers to the % of potential readers who actually buy the publication.
GQ would be looking at all males in the UK between say 18-30.
Masthead: The title of the magazine or newspaper. It is usually placed at the top of the front cover for display purposes
Media Planner (Advertising). Media plans are usually constructed to cover a year-long campaign. They are made with the client to discuss timing (Xmas for perfumes Feb/ Mar for new fashions etc). The planner makes sure that the campaign fits in with the rest of the marketing mix. It is important to ensure that outlets have sufficient stocks. Media planner is given information on who uses the brand, who uses competitors brands, who buys it who influences the purchasing decision. (Parents / Friends / work colleagues / experts etc. This influences the ‘creative’ brief. The media planner then draws a map of media audiences which would achieve the greatest coverage of the advertising target at the lowest price based upon media research. Usually several different plans are drawn up. Contingencies are also built in. If an economic recession takes places then sometimes one area of media will be dropped. This is often newspapers and magazines as for many (not al products TV exposure is more important). Please note for a magazine like GQ for example this might affect car and perfume ads but not high fashion which doesn’t tend to use TV precisely because they are targeting exclusivity and status not mass markets. Media planning has to create a balance in each plan between the number and frequency of the target audience reached set against the budget. Media planners traditionally compare the relative costs of delivering audience on the basis of its cost per thousand members of the target audience. This approach works best where delivering the greatest volume of the target market is important. It is calculated on the basis of the Rate Card price divided by projected numbers, divided by 1000. In 1992 the cost in women’s lifestyle magazines varied between £7.93 for Cosmopolitan to £18.67 for Harpers and Queen. This isn’t the real cost and is also based upon the readership rather than the precise target audience (that would differ considerably between Harpers and Cosmopolitan for example). Harpers is aimed at the A/B income level whilst Cosmopolitan is primarily C1 /B / A .
Advertising planners also build in other factors such as quality of editorial content. All these extra values are when factored in to produce a Valued Impressions per Pound (VIP) rating. Quality f editorial, production etc is multiplied by the audience and divided by the cost. On this basis the Financial Times is ahead of the Sun.
With magazines the editorial will be made to fit the space created by the adverts. Ads pay for more pages to be printed.
Plug: Information about the contents of a magazine or newspaper given on the front cover
Puff: Words or phrases on the cover of a magazine used to boost status
Product / Brand Awareness. ( Analysing the Adverts)
Raising Awareness. Adverts have to compete with other adverts, often with editorial content and with general consumer resistance. Because of the this the ‘creatives’ see the most important job of an advert as grabbing the reader’s attention. Some make assumptions that because interests and social life are so heavily gendered the best way to reach the attention of women is to use animals, royalty, weddings, babies fashion and astrology. For men it’s sports, sex, cars, politics, wars and disasters. In this way advertisers can help to create gendered stereotyping for example. Involving readers or providing shocks are common ways of raising awareness.
‘News’ stories become a powerful advertising discourse. Constant product modifications, re-launches and redesigns reflect a need to be constantly be seen to be modern. ‘New improved’ maintains brand loyalty. Features on luxury cars are introduced lower down the market range. By revamping a product it also allows the possibility of creating more editorial comment in reviews / interviews etc.
Prominence involves using a personality, event or object that the target market collectively recognises and understands. It is part of a shared cultural knowledge. (Madonna in Versace spring 2005 GQ) for example.
Co-option an advertiser uses a major news or media event or other advertising campaigns for their own advertising. With food for example a government health recommendation of five pieces of fruit and veg per day can be used in diet adverts for example. Pollution can get body product makers inventing new protective creams etc.
Arousing curiosity. Ask the question ‘Why’. For example ‘Why our moisturiser has red hot chillies in it ‘. In women’s magazines especially the ‘how to...’ Construction. - How to get a boyfriend / Lose weight while eating even more ice cream / how to find out if he’s cheating on you.
Showmanship. When you have nothing to say use showmanship. Is there anything new to say about shampoos for example? The brand therefore needs high production values to give a sense of something ‘added value’ elevating the product.
Sustaining Interest. The existence of editorial content is paradoxical because although mass media provide coverage it is difficult to grab interest and attention for products. Advertisers believe hat the consumers are often in the wrong frame of mind to receive advertising messages. ‘Creatives’ therefore try and make ads stand out by having better production values than the editorial. Sometimes humour and other devices can be used to break down consumer resistance.
Getting around the media-wise consumer. The use of parody is becoming common to try and get around the sceptical consumer. The point is often not to be appearing to sell at all. The point being to allow the consume space to make up their own mind rather than feel that they are being manipulated. This leads to try it out , make up your own mind, we think you’ll agree with us ,if you do be careful! you might be seriously tempted.... type of advert.
Distraction. This is used to break down the resistance of the consumer. Look for strong visuals and graphics in the magazines. Haagen Daas co-opted greater discussion in the media about ‘adventurous sex’ as a way to keep your partner suddenly linking ice-cream to sex. Erotic imagery distracted the consumer as well as being suggestive.
Creating Consumer Pride. Much advertising is meant to assure existing users that they have made a wise choice encouraging to return to that brand which is still the best.
Fear, Guilt and Insecurity. Problems with spots, keeping boyfriend / girlfriend, career failure, not fitting in, loss of status and esteem, loss of face, loss of wealth. Creatives create the fear and then answer these with ads such as tension - relax with our ...., distrust of business - caring capitalism / corporate charity.
Fantasy and escapism. The Bounty Bar on a tropical island is to associate myths, metaphors and associations with a Brand.
Consistency, familiarity and authority. People like to do business with people they know so advertisers try to establish their brands as trustworthy and familiar. How do advertisers make their claims credible? One way is by sheer dominance of the market-place. Getting a famous / neutral person to endorse the product. Science especially with body products for example. Words such as ‘Hydra Renewal’ (there is water content in the product)give an air of a laboratory. Use of ‘Experts’.
Memory and action. Much of the advertising in lifestyle magazines such as GQ uses an indirect form of selling associated with an emotional experience or a value ‘ Pernod :Free the Spirit’ for example. ‘Carlsberg. The best lager in the world, probably’. There is a positive emotional response. When it comes to buying this is likely to differentiate the brand from say 5 other different lagers at the bar. Nike’s ‘ Just do it ‘ ads.
‘Surrogate’ Advertising. Traditional media such as radio, TV newspapers generally consume these media for the editorial content. For this reason the media audience for these surrogate media will always be distinct from the brand’s target audience. This will give an advantage to the specialist magazine.
Time of Consumption. Monthly magazines consumed over a month give a more protracted exposure than a daily paper.
March 15, 2007
This glossary was originally created for the AS New Media Technologies Unit.
Please note that this glossary is updated and expanded fairly regularly. It is intended that this will give you access to a wide range of terms that are conceptual as well as technical. You don’t have to learn all the terms just use the glossary as a point of reference to help you out if you get stuck. Hope you find it useful.
The development of Web 2.0 with the ability to gain feeds about new media technologies should make it easier to keep updated.
Students are strongly advised to add in feeds from sources such as the BBC Technology pages onto their own blogs in order to keep abreast of any changes.
Advertising. Any new mass media has enormous advertising potential as it can bring together audiences and advertisers in new and more effective ways. See paid for search and online advertising.
Analogue. Non digital form of recording and reproduction. Standard terrestrial TV is still fed from analogue transmissions however these are gradually being replaced by digital free-to-air services transmitted by the BBC. See linear editing.
ASDL. A broadband digital transmission technology which can send far more data down existing domestic phone lines than either conventional modems or ISDN. BT’s system offers half a megabyte per second. In Japan the latest in ASDL technology is offering Megabytes per second. This is more than adequate to use full-frame video streaming. Even faster FTTH technology is being pushed in Japan. Being cheaper to install it is now the major competitor to digital cable links provided by companies such as NTL. It requires special equipment at the exchange. ASDL is likely to be available to 90% of the population by mid-2005.
BT are also experimenting with mid-band.
Bandwidth. The amount of digitally encoded data which can be transmitted by particular systems.
Blogs. User generated material on specially created programmes that require no knowledge of coding and mark-up language. Now used for a variety of purposes from personal to political and company driven. A core part of Web 2 (2.0) if you like. Here is the Wikipedia entry
Blueray. See Format wars
Bluetooth. This is a wireless system which allows different products to communicate with each other using a common protocol. It is able to transmit large amounts of data. Portable computers can link to desktop computers or mobile phones via Bluetooth. You may well have a mobile phone with a Bluetooth wireless earpiece for example.
Broadband. The digital Holy Grail is having all homes linked to broadband networks which can handle huge amounts of digitally encoded data. It should be possible to be engaged in such things as video-conferencing and downloading films in real-time simultaneously in the same household. Likely to take several years to be fully developed and installed in a significant number of households. An important feature is the ability to have two of more computers from the same household linked to the internet. Currently it costs about £30 per month. Rumoured that the latest hard-disc recorders will add broadband internet access and be able to stream video and audio to TV, See also digital set-top boxes. Since writing this not so long ago the scenario has changed dramatically in the UK. This January 2007 story from the BBC shows "BT as having signed up 10 million broadband users".
CD Rewritable. This is a CD which can be recorded and then recorded over rather like an audiocassette. Not all CD-Players can replay these however as the system works on different laser frequencies. See also Rewritable digital media.
CD-Rom. These are CDs which are Read Only Memory (ROM). These are used for selling computer programmes. The data on them cannot be changed.
Citizenship. This concept builds on earlier ideas of citizenship which focused upon economic, political and social concerns. Economic citizenship gave people the right to trade, political citizenship gave people the rights to vote and have representative electable governments with powers limited by law. Social citizenship gave people the right to health care, education and pensions. See also cultural citizenship.
CMS. see Content Management Software.
Content Management Software. Content management software helps users organise their download materials. iTunes is probably the best known of these. It can be used to subsribe to podcast services for example as well a place where music or video content may be purchased. You can click this link to go to the free iTunes downloads site. (This should not be deemed as an endoresment of Apple's CMS above any other ones.). News from the BBC 12th of Jan 07 says that iTunes has made a deal with the Sundance film festival to make films available for download.
Convergence. You must know this term for the OCR AS exam*. This is the current process whereby new media and communications technologies are changing not only our media equipment but changing the ways old media institutions have worked. It is also globalising and changing our systems of gaining knowledge. The process is still in transition with new developments rapidly emerging. In a few years these processes will have matured and will be less dynamic. The way that mobile phones are now turning into multi-player gaming machines or able to provide location based information and send back images by wireless technology is a good example of convergent technologies creating new markets. See iPhone for a good example of this.
Cultural Citizenship. Cultural citizenship is about access to systems of representation within the arts and media to ensure that all have the knowledge and capabilities to represent themselves.
Cybersquatters. These are companies or individuals individuals who have registered variations or misspellings of its key brands, such as “Xbox”. They can make a lot of money out of this and also get respectable brands bad reputations. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6449363.stm
Device for digitally storing still images. Whilst still unable to achieve the levels of image definition of conventional film higher capacity chips and storage systems are continuously eroding the quality difference. With the correct devices an image can be transmitted over the web instantaneously.
Desktop Recording Studio. The growth of podcasting has seen a growth of available desktop recording studios with some being USB powered and others having separate power supplies. Often small but flexible units they provide an interface with analogue microphones and computers. They can be combined with powerful software to create different effects and they can also have inputs from devices such as CD players and electronic instruments. empowering users to podcast onto the internet they are powerful tools in the collaborative and user generated world of Web 2.0. Below an early model the Lexicon Omega and the more recent Digidesign MBox2.
Digital Distribution. It is necessary to differentiate between models of 'Business to Business' distribution and 'Business to Consumer' distribution. Digital forms of distribution can be advantageous to both small-scale ‘cottage’ industry sized companies and large media corporations. Digital videos can be distributed globally by specialist we-sites globally when users have high speed connections. They are only likely to find individuals often with little purchasing power. Large film companies can distribute to points of mass exhibition such as cinemas or outdoor arenas by high speed optic fibre cable or else via digital satellite links. With encrypted technologies it is now possible to release a film globally in cinemas if necessary in different versions for different markets on the same day. This will reduce piracy and maximise marketing opportunities whilst reducing significantly distribution costs. The ability to respond instantly to audience demand by downloading onto servers instead of relying on expensive and relatively slow multiple copy distribution will help increase profits and retain and develop audiences.
Digital divide. A very important social and cultural concept of the ‘information age’. This term refers to those who have access to a wide range of digital communications systems in terms of cost and knowledge and those who are excluded from this. It is becoming a serious problem of citizenship.
Digital set-top box. These boxes can receive digitally transmitted TV and Radio transmissions via satellite ( typically in Britain Sky), cable ( typically in Britain NTL and Telewest) and a standard TV aerial ( Freeview). Pace in conjunction with Sky + and others with hard disc-based digital recorders. Sky + has a 40 Gigabyte hard disc. A similar box is now being offered to Freeview viewers. It has a twin tuner and a 20 gigabyte hard disc. With a twin tuner it is possible to watch one programme or listen to radio whilst recording another.
Digital storage medium. Generic term for a wide range of storage media such as mini-disc, CD, CD-ROM, Hard disc, floppy-disc etc. These media may sometimes be designed by a company to only fit their products. Others will be generic. Some will be read only such as a CD or DVD game or film. Others are random access and as such can be totally or partially used many times.
Digital Versatile Disc / DVD. A disc which although the same size as a CD can hold many times the amount of data due to a combination of more sophisticated data compression systems, the ability to store and retrieve data from different levels of the disc. This means that moving images can be stored in a way which is more permanent than tape and maintains its quality over time, whereas tape particles lose their magnetism and lose details. Research is going on to more than double the storage capacity of the current DVD’s by using different laser technologies. The ‘versatility’ referred to in the name means that the equipment incorporates technical standards which means that digital information relating to images - static or moving sounds or text can be stored and retrieved.
DRM. (Meaning 1) Digital Rights Management. This is a major concern for companies and individuals dependent upon traditional copyright legislation to protect their intellectual rights. Within the the world of the web the Napster free downloding company became renowned for breaking these copyright rules in the USA. It was eventually forced to concede by the big record companies. 'Pirate downloading' is still seen as a major problem by many media comapnies. At the time of writing Viacom was taking Google to court with a $1 billion law suit relating to the copyrighted material availble on YouTube which was bought buy Google in 2006. The Wikipedia entry states:
Digital Rights Management (generally abbreviated to DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to any of several technologies used by publishers or copyright owners to control access to and usage of digital data or hardware, and to restrictions associated with a specific instance of a digital work or device. The term is often confused with copy protection and technical protection measures; these two terms refer to technologies that control or restrict the use and access of digital content on electronic devices with such technologies installed, acting as components of a DRM design.
DRM. (Meaning 2) DRM or Digital Radio Mondiale is the world's only, open standard digital radio system for short-wave, AM/medium-wave and long-wave. It has been endorsed by the ITU, IEC and ETSI. DRM is the only universal, open standard digital AM radio system with near-FM quality sound available to markets worldwide. Unlike digital systems that require a new frequency allocation, DRM uses existing AM broadcast frequency bands. The DRM signal is designed to fit in with the existing AM broadcast band plan. Below a Morphy richards DRM Radio.
DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds). At 2007 CEBIT Nokia showed off its N92, which is due to launch later this year, which has a DVB-H tuner built in as well as access to an electronic programme guide so you can plan what you watch on your handset.
DVD-Audio. A music format which by having a higher sampling rate than conventional CDs can create more ‘natural sounding’ music.
DVD-HD. This is a new high definition format which Toshiba and its backers including Microsoft launched in 2006. It is one side of a format war with Sony who along with many consumer electronics heavyweights such as Philips and Panasonic have now launched Bluray. This is also supported by many Hollywood Studios.
DVD Recordable. A new breed of domestic machines has now appeared which can record TV or films in DVD format. Whilst currently still very expensive it is probable that they will replace the VCR in most households in 5 years time. They will be able to record digital radio signals as well. There is not currently a standardised format which makes things difficult for consumers.
Digital Video. Often called DV as an abbreviation. The ability to 'capture' moving images without the use of film on a digital storage format. The data can be edited ( post-production) digitally and streamed onto the web or put on a DVD or CD.
Dolby surround sound. This is a digital sound decoding system which provides the surround sound features now standard in cinemas. It is also a feature of domestic audio visual surround-sound systems and can disperse the sound around up to 7 ordinary loudspeakers and a sub-woofer to deal with very deep bass sounds known as a 7.1 system.
Download. The expression for taking things from the Internet and putting them onto your computer either temporarily or permanently.
E-commerce B2C. ( business-to-consumer): IdTV and mobile are likely to be the devices which dominate this sector by volume rather than by commercial value. ( see also T-commerce )
Encryption. This makes it impossible to use media texts without having specialist software able to read the security encryption. This is to reduce software piracy and will enable large companies to retain more effective control over their products. Digitised products can be kept in high security systems and downloaded in encrypted form by cinemas for example. See digital distribution
Entertainment Phones. The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer is producing a new product clled Ngage. Containing on-board memory cards it will be able to play high speed games. The phone will be expensive and currently the possibilities of multi-player gaming on-line are perceived of as very limited. It requires the development of the youth market who are least able to afford this level of sophistication.
Firewalls. This is security software which stops unwanted e.mails or hackers getting into your computer when it is online. As such it is much more sophisticated than straight-forward anti-virus software. It is becoming increasingly important to have this software installed as the internet grows in size and complexity.
Flash Memory. Flash memory is solid state memory. It exists on cards such as Secure Digital cards commonly used in digital cameras and also as USB Flash Drives It is fast, versatile and more resilient to damage by dropping than conventional hard drives. The technology is advancing quickly and for high small computers which firms like "Samsung envisage as 'Super-Blackberries' it will be the first choice over conventional hard drives. For those wishing to conduct electronic warfare the Swiss Army USB drive knife seems like a perfect solution. Doubtless they will be found on Chanel lipsticks soon!
New memory for 2007 is going to be HHD or Hybrid Hard Drives. Vista the new Microsoft operating system is supporting them and Apple is also in the game. See HDD for more info.
Format Wars. "HD-DVD / Blueray Hybrid."
Free-to-Air. Digitally transmitted TV and radio services which cost the viewer no more than the standard licence fee.
FTTH. Fibre to the home technologies currently being pushed as the next big thing in Japan. This would enable a home to be watching several films in different parts of the house.
Global Positioning System ( GPS ). The ability to find out where you are in the world through special equipment including expensive mobile phones. These link with a satellite to give a precise position. See also Location-based services. Latest gizmo ‘The Hoppy’. Aimed at tourists this device monitors GPS satellites and gives an commentary stored on mini CD using MP3 data compression technology. When triggered by the GPS signals. It can be connected to the car stereo giving information to the driver in real time.
Google. An example of an internet search engine. It became a member of the American stock market in 2004 and first started in 1998. Its founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were worth an estimated $10 billion each in August 2005.
GPS. See Global Positioning Systems.
HHD. 2007 will see the first Hybrid Hard Drives appear on production models of computers. This is likely to be particularly relevant to the "high end laptop market. However Sandisc has already announced a flash memory card which is claims is superior to HHD (see below). Whatever else the effect on small devices which demand high storage such as HD-video are likely to see these appearing.
Hard-disc recorder. A digital recording machine which records other digital sources on a hard disc similar to the ones found in computers. The advantage over a CD or DVD recorder is that material can be more easily edited before being recorded on another more permanent medium such as a recordable CD. (See also under Broadband).
HD-TV. High definition TVs came on sale in Britain in a big way in 2006 in the run up to the World Cup. whilst the quality is undoubtedly excellent when you see one with a live HD feed there is a problem in the UK of a lack of available programme material in HD. Rumour has it that many people are happily watching their HD TV not realising that the images are not being broadcast in HD. HD-DVDs also became available in 2006 led by Toshiba who have also brought out an HD-DVD Recordable. See also format wars. For a technical break down of the superior definition see "Wikipedia definition".
Hype Cycle. The Hype Cycle, used by Gartner to track the adoption of new technologies, has five distinct phases: “Technology Trigger,” “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” “Trough of Disillusionment,” “Slope of Enlightenment,” and “Plateau of Productivity.” "Link to debate between Gartner and Second Life reported by Reuters Jan 04 / 07 ."
Hypertext. The new aesthetic of the digital era. Originally perceived as the ability to move around a text through links making a medium non-linear and allowing a viewer to make some narrative decisions interactively. Dan Fleming (2000) suggests that there will be hyperlinking across media forms to produce metaforms.
IdTV. Interactive digital television. Currently at a simple level of development. Press red button to vote yes/no on an issue on the programme, or to get a brochure if it is an advert. 32 million households in Europe were expected to have this by end of 2003. This is likely to develop into a way of buying which means that media companies will gain transaction fees as well as advertising. In 2003 interactive games were the most successful market development in interactive TV. The rapid growth of the internet as an important vehicle for buying goods and services may well have made this technology semi-redundant since the time of writing and up-to-date sales figures havn't been seen. Certainly along with mainstream TV this seems to be a technological dinosaur.
Immersive environments. see Virtual Reality
Information filters. Media products which review various media outputs and industrial activities to synthesize and perhaps analyse these products and processes. These are necessary to cope with information overload.
Information gateways. A service, programme etc which provides access to media filtering and media metaforms.
Information inequality. Sometimes described as the ‘Digital Divide’. This expresses the concern that society will become polarised between the ‘digital haves’ and ‘have-nots’ forming another division in society. The lack of availability of information or else low quality information will directly impact upon citizenship.
Information Society. Many sociologists and media commentators are now suggesting that advanced western societies are increasingly becoming societies based upon the use of digitally stored information or data. This is increasingly affecting all our social cultural and scientific systems. Leadeing commentators on this such as Manual Castells have changed their ideas to calling contemporary society the Networked Society.
Interactive. This is an essential term to understand. Digital technologies are provide a wide range of interactivity which allow audiences to interact with the media product such as a TV show requiring some input or the ability to access certain stories stored on news programmes. Audiences can also provide feedback to media institutions large or small about their needs desires and criticisms of a media text in real time. This means that the man of the difficulties of creating and retaining an audience can be facilitated through these interactive monitoring systems. With mobile phone systems location based services can be accessed and information sent received such as booking a hotel or finding out what is on.
Interactive TV. The ability to feedback information into the TV system. This requires digital technology. Typically the flow of information from the receiver
Interface. Interfacing is the way in which people use technologies. A mouse or keyboard is the way we usually interface with computers. For games machines and consoles a range of joysticks were developed. The latest ways of interfacing are through digital imaging where a digital camera can image a subject and store this in the machine in ways that link to icons on the screen. The person can trigger these icons remotely via the camera link. This is the next technological step towards a more immersive environment. Both gamers and various sorts of artists such as dancers are beginning to exploit this technology which will become increasingly common. For one of the leading places to investigate human computer interfacing check out the MIT Media Lab. Wacky stuff including intelligent clothing.
Internet history of: See BBC History of the Internet
Internet Search Engine. To navigate the internet effectively it became necessary to invent new software to make a rapid search of the millions of domain names which mushroomed on after the start of the World Wide Web in the mid 1990s. These include search engines such as Yahoo and MSN. The most successful to date is Google. The way in which the companies who run these make money is by selling advertising space. See Paid for search.
iPhone. January 2007 CES saw the awaited launch of Apple's iPhone. This is a fine example of convergent technology in which a phone is able to download both music and video. The screen is a widescreen. The phone is also controlled via a touch screen rather than conventional buttons. Steve Jobs is claiming to have reinvented the phone. Some find Apple less than tempting however...
The Financial Times editorial comment found time to poke fun at iPhone at the weekend (Jan 13th 2007).
iPod. An MP3 style music player which has been produced by Apple and has rapidly become a design icon much as the Sony Walkman did in the 1980s. At the time of writing (Aug 2005) Nokia the mobile phone company has planned a phone camera which will also be able to store s much music as a mini-iPod which it considers will rapidly outsell iPods. These phones are now comonplace but iPod is still ahead of the game. See also iTunes / podcasting.
Below iPod Nanos:
IPTV. IPTV is the current holy grail for the giants of the new media industries which is "delivery of video content via the net". Ideally this should be accessible in all rooms being streamed from a computer. Various industry linkups are being made between Microsoft and BT for example. Apple too is very interested. Another company on the scene is Sony who wish to use their long awaited Play-Station 3 to provide Blueray streaming to well Sony TVs of course1.
ISDN. This is a high-speed data-link for computer communications. In Britain BT kept the price too high and people used conventional modems. It runs at 128 Kilobits per second twice as fast as an ordinary modem and it is possible to use the phone at the same time. It is now being superseded by ASDL and broadband technologies. At time of writing in 2007 it is now dead in the water as Broadband has taken off.
LAN. This is a local area network in which two or more computers are connected together. In the past this has been done by installing special cards and cables to connect to computers together physically. This is likely to change very soon with the commercialisation of Wi-Fi.
Linear editing. Video-recorders are examples of this technology. Unable to immediately access any of the date unlike data on a hard drive. This kind of editing is very slow and there is a loss of quality involved. To reproduce the text on the internet, via digital satellite or on DVDs the text must be digitally re-mastered. See also non-linear editing.
Local area Network. See under LAN and Wi-Fi
Location-based Services. The ability to be able to locate a person’s mobile phone handset, by working out which cell it is nearest to. Information can be passed to the emergency services for example. The new mobile network ‘3’ uses GPS to provide more accurate positioning. This information can be updated as a person moves.
Long Tail The. At its heart the idea of the long tail is straightforward. Online distirutors are able to carry much larger stocks or else can order instantly from small suppliers who are prepared to keep their publications / music available for enthusiasts. It is now much easier for consumers to access these products instead of being limited to what any particualr high street shop chooses to carry on its shelves.
Below representation of the long tail in the media through an analysis of Rhapsody an online store.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. MMRPG’s for short. They are pervasive ( diffusing ) virtual environments populated by human-controlled digital people from around the globe. Players develop characters, work towards goals, solve puzzles. They are the visual marriage of text-based adventures and chat rooms. They are proving particularly attractive to women. Below image from the popular World of Warcraft.
Media ‘metaforms'. This is (1) the growth of television programmes, print media, websites devoted to other media. Some consider these programmes as just a case of self-absorption and a loss of contact from ‘the real’ ( wars, disasters, politics and policy etc.) Others argue that this is a sign of a growing need for data to make sense of other data leading to new relationships between audience and ‘text’. The metaforms which comprised the ‘Blairwitch Project’ can be seen as an example of an aesthetic life of its own being created which is not secondary to an original product. There was a movie, book and websites which became ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ all of which were self-referential but also blurred the distinctions between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’.. See also hypertext. See metadata gateways. (2) Growth of cross-media marketing strategies see total marketing.
Metadata gateways. These are currently being developed perhaps most successfully on the web and are likely to transfer to other media forms with the increasing convergence of technologies.
Metaforms. See media metaforms.
Midband. This offers 128 kilobits per second internet connection which is three times faster than a standard connection. Calls can be made simultaneously but will halve the net connection speed. This speed is still only 25% of an ASDL connection. The system is likely to appeal to those in rural locations without access to cable or ASDL. This is rapidly being made redundant.
Mini-disc. A rewritable digital recording system which can comfortably work when mobile. It records at half the data rate of conventional CDs and therefore quality is compromised. The rapid rise of MP3 and iPods is rapidly making this redunant technology.
MPEG. A data compression system which allows the recording and transmission of images using relatively small amounts of memory.
MMRPG. See Massively Multiplayer Online role Playing Game.
MP3. A digital compression system for transmitting music over the internet with short download times. The rate of sampling is only about half as much as on conventional CDs therefore quality is compromised. It is claimed that psychoacoustically people effectively notice little or no difference.
Narrowband. This is a standard internet connection via a dial-up modem. Maximum speed of these is 56 Kilobits of data per second. In reality depending upon line conditions these modems connect at about 40 kilobits per second. This is fine for basic e.mail and text-based websites. Audio, video and software downloads require broadband connections. A disadvantage of narrowband is that the phone cannot be used at the same time.
Non-linear editing. This is using hard discs on computers or now dedicated hard-disc digital recorders to edit sound and images. It is non-linear because any part of the information can be easily accessed unlike videotape which has to be dealt with on liner editing suites. This form of editing is especially useful for Digital Video enabling small-scale film makers to create and place their products on the internet fast and cheaply. See also linear editing.