Formal And Informal Media Economy

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In “Emergent Innovation through the Coevolution of Informal and Formal Media Economies,” Stuart Cunningham explores the relationship between the formal and the informal media economies, specifically in the way they constitute “as sources of innovation and renewal in media ecologies,” ecologies of exchange and production (416). The formal media economy focuses on the “market-based” work of the professionals (ie.producers) and how they obtain interest and support for their product (418). On the other hand, the informal media economy focuses on how non-professionals (ie. amateurs) engage with a product through “secondary markets, household-level peer to peer exchange” (416). The line between the formal and the informal have become blurred because producers are cultivating and exploiting the informal media economies for their own benefit, a key understanding about today’s media industries. The “socialization of professional production strategies” can be depicted by transmedia, “a new aesthetic” where a story “unfolds across multiple media platforms” (416, 422). The ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars pursues strategies of socialization through informal media economies by building audience engagement and putting fans to work by promoting their product. The show uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube; the latter providing a “freemium model” for the purpose of alternative profit (423). Transmedia producers pursue socialization strategies because social media particularly allows fans to direct people toward the producer’s product (416). Formal media economies are essentially getting informal media economies to do the work of engaging audiences for them. The Pretty Little Liars (PLL) official twitter page, @AB... ... middle of paper ... ...ntent” (McChesney, 73). Whereas Robert McChesney’s approach on political economy of communication in his essay “How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy” concentrates on the “structural and institutional factors and assess what types of pressures exist that will shape the content” (73). For instance, McChesney focuses on how media content is affected by the government in how they “condone and encourage” advertising which shapes an “ever greater commercialism in our culture” (78). Cunningham’s approach is essentially observational and is limited in that he fails to provide a critical edge to his argument as McChesney, who urges a critical impulse for “institutional and structural” change within these media industries. An approach that encompasses both Cunningham and McChesney’s arguments would provide a well-rounded understanding of media industries.

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