Research Project Proposal

For our third and final BCM240 assignment we are required to create a digital research project for a real stakeholder organisation. We can choose any topic and any stakeholder we like, as long as they relate to media audience and it will explore the ways that media audience research and spatial research interact. The data found will then be presented through a creative platform.

After a recent trip to the movies, I began thinking about the change of cinema experience due to technology. As I hadn’t planned what I was going to see, I lined up in the regular line, but I was the only one in it. Next to me was the online booking line, which was filled with about 10 people. 12 months earlier I was in the opposite situation, I had booked online and was grateful, as the regular line was full and I was the only person waiting in mine. Not only had we discussed the Australian film industry in the BCM240 lecture and tutorial this week but this change interested me, and it is something I would like to explore. Therefore, I propose the following research question:

Should Australian cinemas, such as Greater Union introduce self-serve movie check in machines?

As movies becoming easily accessible online, there is a significant decrease in movie attendance. To combat this issue, cinemas need to ensure they are using a fast and easy system for customers, whist maintaining a profit. Airports, supermarkets and department stores are among the first organisations in Australia to take on this idea of ‘self-serve’. I would like to propose the idea that ‘self-serve’ check in machines be introduced to cinemas. Greater Union, Australia’s leading cinema company, would be an appropriate and likely interested stakeholder.

I would suggest conducting focus groups as a qualitative research method. I would be interested in speaking to people who go to the movies, to see whether they prefer booking their tickets in person or online. It would also be worthwhile interviewing people who do and don’t already use ‘self-serve’ checkout machines, to see whether they like the system or not, and whether they would be interested in seeing these machines at cinemas.

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. They use a variety of elements such as colour, shapes, fonts, sizes, and maps to convey information quickly and clearly. As there is likely to be a large amount of information, an infographic would be a perfect medium for presenting the research.

Here is a video by Fast Company explaining the benefits of creating an infographic.

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Australians want Game of Thrones episodes BEFORE winter comes

The average person consumes approximately 15 hours of media each day. We are consumed by it; it is how we receive news, communicate, and are entertained, as well as many other things. But what if there was someone controlling what we see, and when we see it? This is known as media regulation and it is causing quite a stir.

Media regulation is defined, as is the control of mass media by governments and other bodies. It serves as a modern debate topic for the entire world, as it affects the majority of us. Strengths and weaknesses of media regulation can be argued, however it is very difficult to determine who is right.

Like many others I am a Game of Thrones fan, however I only joined the phenomena this year. I caught up on the first three seasons very quickly as a friend of mine had bought the box sets. I was extremely disappointed when I found out that she didn’t have the fourth season, as I wasn’t being released on DVD for another several months. I definitely couldn’t wait that long, so I asked around and eventually got my hands on a copy that had been downloaded online. The same friend that lent me the DVDs has never watched a downloaded episode. I would like to say that it’s because she’s against the illegal act and likes to stick by the law, but truthfully she doesn’t know where to find the episodes and feels that working with a disc is a lot easier. So even though she’s been a fan a lot longer than me, I’m up to date before her; this doesn’t really seem fair.

When you live in Australia, you’re not only far away from the rest of the world but you’re behind in a lot of media. If you have pay TV you will eventually get the latest episode of Game of Thrones, nonetheless after the US. For those who only have access to free to air TV, there is no way to watch the series until it is released on DVD, usually 6 months after the TV finale. Media analyst Steve Allen believes that piracy in Australia is likely to continue as 25 to 27 per cent, 2014). With Australia holding the highest capita of downloading the season 3 Game of Thrones finale, ahead of the US and UK, it is no wonder Australia has taken the lead in online piracy.

According to a study by the Australian Federal Against Copyright Theft, online piracy costs the Australian economy $1.37 billion in lost revenue in a year (Freri, 2011). In an attempt to control and fight online piracy, the Australian Government has recently put forward a discussion paper for public comments on the proposal of legislation, forcing Internet providers to block downloading website. According to the Governments plan, Pirate downloaders could receive warning letters followed later by access restrictions or fines” (2014). While this policy is generally opposed by Internet service providers and consumers groups, copyright holders would have the right to force ISPSs to block downloading sites under court order (Taylor, 2014).

While the Government is definitely trying, these are only plans and ideas. The problem is only getting bigger and more out of control; there seems no immediate solution. While I can see why online piracy is damaging and problematic, it feels as though we are left with no other choice, other than to remain constantly behind. An option many are not okay with. So as long as Australia remains at the back of the line, it seems we will continue to do (almost) anything to jump ahead.

NOTE: While the comic below takes place in the US it represents the struggle of Game of Thrones fane very well.

Sources

Freri, Marina 2011, ‘Piracy costs Australia $1.37 billion a year, claims AFACT’, Delimiter, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://delimiter.com.au/2011/02/17/piracy-costs-australia-1-37-billion-a-year-claims-afact/>.

Reynolds, Megan 2014, ‘Piracy: Australians lead the world for illegal downloads of Game of Thrones’, Mumbrella, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://mumbrella.com.au/australia-leads-way-illegal-downloads-game-thrones-219249>.

Shingles, Marlon 2013, ‘Internet Piracy: Why Australia Leads the Pack’, The Artifice, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://the-artifice.com/internet-piracy-australia/>.

Taylor, Rob 2014, ‘Australia Steps Up Fight Against Online Piracy’, The Wall Street Journal, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://online.wsj.com/articles/australia-steps-up-fight-against-online-piracy-1406800646>.

98% of Us Are Multi-failing

As I sit doing my uni assignments, I have a ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ marathon going on the TV, Instagram is open on my phone, and my iPad is next to me, midway through level 125 (the most impossible level) on Candy Crush.

Multitasking at it’s finest…or maybe not as fine as I think.

I will admit, I’ve written about 3 sentences in the word document, I can’t remember any of the photos I’ve liked on Instagram, and I have no idea why Kim is crying. I’m clearly not completing any of my activities well, yet I continue to do it day after day. According to studies by the University of Utah, only 2% of people can successfully multitask (2012). So while you might like to think you can juggle your life will sipping a Martini, chances are you probably can’t.

Here is a multitasking test:

1) Spell aloud, letter by letter, “Jewelry is shiny” at the same time as you write your full name.

2) Spell aloud, letter-by-letter, “Jewelry is shiny” and then, after you are done with that, write your name.

If like me, you found this quite difficult then I’m sorry but you are not a multitasker. If you found it surprisingly easy then congratulations, you’re in the 2%! Maybe you can make a Facebook status about it while making a coffee and learning to juggle?!

If multitasking is “a person’s ability to do more than one thing at a time” and I clearly cannot do that, I began to wonder what was I doing earlier. After reading many articles, a statement by Aza Raskin stuck with me, “we cycle through tasks in quick succession” (2011). The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I wasn’t really doing any of those activities at once; I was just focusing on each individually for a very short amount of time.

The Multi-tasking Test, a research project by ABC Science and the University of Queensland, stated that the human brain cannot perform tasks at lightning speed like a computer, therefore it needs time to switch between tasks, comparing multitasking to channel surfing between television stations (2011). Multitasking gives the impression that you are completing a larger amount of activities in a shorter amount of time. The appeal is obvious. But as the researches and studies on multitasking are increasing, so is the idea that it may be more harmful than beneficial. A study by HP found that when a person was distracted by incoming calls or emails, their IQ dropped by 10 points, which is double the effects of smoking marijuana. By studying brain activity, researchers have found that we are unable to successfully focus when multitasking. While you may be doing lots of things, you aren’t doing any of them well. Some studies showed productivity dropping by 40% when multitasking.

It seems that focusing could reduce stress and make you more productive; therefore I am setting up my own multitasking or ‘speed swapping’ experiment. Next week I will write my next BCM240 blog post without multitasking. I will switch off all other distracting devices and set myself a deadline and compare it to my process this week. While I’m sure next weeks post will be completed a lot faster, there’s nothing like an inspirational (but cringe worthy) Instagram post to keep you going when you’re ready to give up! #motivation

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Sources

ABC Science, University of Queensland, 2011, What is multi-tasking?, Multitasking Test, viewed 11 September 2014, <http://www.multitaskingtest.net.au&gt;.

BBC News UK 2005, ‘Infomania’ worse than marijuana’, BBC News, 22 April, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4471607.stm&gt;.

Naish, John 2009, ‘Is multi-tasking bad for your brain? Experts reveal the hidden perils of juggling too many jobs’, Daily Mail Australia, 11 August, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1205669/Is-multi-tasking-bad-brain-Experts-reveal-hidden-perils-juggling-jobs.html&gt;.

Raskin, Aza 2011, Think You’re Good At Multitasking? Take These Tests, Fast Company, weblog post, 4 January, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662976/think-youre-good-at-multitasking-take-these-tests&gt;.

Sundem, Garth 2012, ‘This Is Your Brain On Multitasking’, Psychology Today, 24 February, viewed 12 September 2014, <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-trust/201202/is-your-brain-multitasking&gt;.

The sneaky pic will make you or break you

I don’t know about you but one of my biggest and more ridiculous fears is being caught taking a sneaky pic. You know, when you see something hilarious and you HAVE to send a picture of it to your friend. So you take your phone out and pretend you its normal for you to be text holding your phone up in the air and after it’s too late and everyone is staring at you, you realise the flash was on.

While I’m sure I share this fear with many others, it is certainly one that has only existed in modern times. The smartphone has allowed us to capture a moment and send it to others in a matter of seconds and it seems we believe we can take pictures of anything and anyone. Everyone with a smartphone is a paparazzi and it seems we all go by the motto, “What they don’t know can’t hurt them.”

Child star, Cole Spouse has created an Instagram account @camera_ duels dedicated to catching people trying to capture a subtle pic of the ex-actor and obviously failing. So chances are if you think you’ve nailed the art of the sneaky pic, you’re probably wrong.

There are many debates on what constitutes as a ‘public space as there is no clear definition. An overall understanding is a place that is generally open and accessible by the public. “In Australia it is permitted to take a photo in any public place and use that photo or video for any non-commercial purpose” (White Hat, 2014). Technically you can photograph anyone as long as they are in a public space, but it still doesn’t seem ethical. It seems that the more we use our phones, the less ‘private space’ we truly have.

I picture it as everyone in his or her own individual bubble. While everyone has their own space, and uses their own device, our bubbles are clear. Therefore, everyone can see what each other’s doing. A ‘private space’ is identified as “the region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs”. At the click of a finger, our phones are intruding these spaces. Smartphones have blurred the line between private and public spaces; under a false pretence that everyone is just anti-social. We might be hiding behind our phones, but we’re looking out at everyone.

Better Screens But Bigger Prices

I love watching movies and I usually watch one or two a week. As much as I enjoy the experience of going into a cinema to see the most recent flick to hit the screens, I only go about once every two months. With our access to movies online, it is much easier and cheaper for me to watch a movie on my laptop. Though with this week’s task asking us to go to a cinema to watch a movie, I was more than happy to participate. Myself and three other friends have been waiting to see ‘If I Stay’ since we saw the trailer on Facebook a few months ago, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to mix business and pleasure.

Urban planner Torsten Hägerstrand’s, established three categories of limitations that changed social planning. I reflected on these in my account of going to the movies. They include:

Capability – can I get there?

Coupling – can I get there at the right time?

Authority – am I allowed to be there?

Our initial decision was what type of cinema we wanted to see the movie in. None of us had been to gold class before and we all agreed to spend $28.00 for the extra comfort rather than the standard $16.50. We are all from the Sutherland shire and the closest gold class cinema is in Bondi Junction, so this made choosing the location easy. Gold class sessions are less frequent, therefore we only had three viewing times to choose from. We chose the 10am session rather than the 4pm or 7:15pm session as two of the girls had work in the afternoon. We decided one of us would drive; to save time and ensure we wouldn’t be late in case there were any delays with public transport.

As gold class has its own menu and bar with alcoholic beverages available, you must be 18+ or be accompanied by an adult to enter the gold class section. As all of us are over 18 this was not an issue. We opted to buy food from the regular movie stand, as it was significantly cheaper.

[Screen shot of seat selection at Events Cinema Gold Class, Bondi Junction]

[Screen shot of seat selection at Events Cinema Gold Class, Bondi Junction

As you can see in the picture above we chose the second last row in the middle section. As the seats are separated in twos, our group had to split up. Apart from us there were only 5 other people in the cinema. There are significantly less seats in gold class and the tickets cost more, therefore this was not very surprising. Nevertheless, we didn’t see anyone going into other cinemas. While Saturday morning may not be a popular time, there were still a lot of people shopping in the Bondi Westfield where the cinema is. Many articles agree that with the increase of online pirating, people are not even considering going to the movies. Movie ticket prices have increased so people are happier to see the same film for free if possible

As much as I enjoyed going to the movies, it is certainly more of a special occasion activity. As much as I prefer a movie screen to a laptop screen, it is too expensive to see movies regularly. I think for now, I will be sticking to movies at home. But on the rare chance I win the lotto, you’ll find me in gold class, once a week.

The Hare Wins the Race When it Runs Through the Web

A home is a place of comfort, safety and love. However, the values associated with a home are changing with the technological tide we are being swept up in. A modern phrase is “home is where the Wi-Fi automatically connects” and it is true. Technology is becoming bigger and better and we rely on it for almost all aspects of our lives. While technology has certainly had its benefits, many worry our extreme dependency is potentially detrimental to our society.

I have reflected on my family’s interaction with technology and the Internet, in the digital age. Until you take a step back and analyse the situation, it is easy to underestimate the power technology has. Many lives of families such as my own revolve around and rely on the Internet to function. The fact that we argue more over the iPad than the television remote is definitely saying something. From paying bills, to doing assignments, to watching movies, every member of my family ranging from ages 8 to 50, use the Internet daily. 

National Broadband Network otherwise known as NBN is the new network for phone and Internet services, being brought into Australia. It is to be rolled out over the next 10 years and is said to bring faster, more reliable and affordable services to all of Australia. According to NBN Co Limited, NBN will allow more people the ability to work from home, make video conferencing faster, allow multiple devices to be one the same broadband connection at once, improve the education system, and improve the medical gap between urban and regional areas (2014).

The Australian Government has mapped out its plans for introducing NBN, allocating numbers to areas. These numbers will determine how many years it will take for NBN to be installed in that particular area. I live in Engadine in the Sutherland Shire. While Miranda, a suburb only 15 minutes away will have access to NBN this year, Engadine is a ‘3’ area. While construction will begin in approximately 3 years it may still be 5 years before we can utilise it.

Internet speed in my house has fluctuated over the years between “wow look how quick this video has loaded” to “OMG I’M GOING TO THROW MY LAPTOP INTO THE POOL”. Living with five people who all use the Internet has meant we have needed to upgrade our broadband package multiple times to one that can handle constant use. NBN will definitely be appreciated in my household. The ability to all use our devices at the same time with no affect to the speed will be helpful in a busy household.

Nevertheless, is this ‘super internet’ really necessary? I had a thought while we were discussing this question in our tutorial. When I was younger, we only had a single computer where we could play one game, a radio, a Walkman and a television. My family would spend most of our time together and a time would be allocated to using technology. Nowadays, there are 4 laptops, 2 televisions, 3 iPods, 4 iPhones and 3 iPads in our house. While the increase in technology is not surprising, what I thought interesting was that it seems like we spend all our time on these devices and then allocate ‘family time’. While we are all socially connecting trough cyberspace our face-to-face interactions have undeniably lessened. In a TED talk by Sherry Turkle, she discusses the negative effects technology is having on social interaction. Her theory is that we have become accustomed to a “new way of being together alone” (2012). While we may all be in the same room, we are all using separate electronic devices, and not necessarily interacting with one-another. Having quicker and more available Internet could possibly mean this time ‘together but apart’ could increase.

According to research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2012-2013, 83% of Australian households had access to the Internet with more than ¾ through a broadband connection (2014). With such a large part of Australia on the Internet, I would be very surprised to find people that would say no to it being faster. I wonder, if we did have faster Internet would that give families the opportunity to get there work done faster therefore have more time to spend together or would it just allow people to look up more cat videos in a shorter amount of time?

Technology is showing no signs of slowing down, so it is up to families to make sure they allow for time to spend together. Because let’s face it, if the Internet is not going anywhere, you’d rather it be fast like the hare than take the tortoises slow steady pace.

Sources

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, Australian Bureau of Statistics, viewed 24 August 2014,
<http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/D0DD505F12749281CA257C89000E3F5E?opendocument&gt;

NBN Co Limited 2014, The NBN In Your Home, NBNCo, viewed 24 August 2014,
<http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/information-for-home.html#.U_nGpxaIXwI&gt;

Turkle, S. 2012, Connected, but alone?, TED, viewed 24 August 2014, <http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript&gt;

Williams, D. 2012, The National Broadband Network In The Sutherland Shire, Newton, viewed 23 August 2014, <http://www.davewilliams.com.au/the-national-broadband-network-in-the-sutherland-shire/&gt;

Peoplemeter Is Swinging The Axe

Have you ever gone to watch the latest television series you’ve invested your life into for the past 4 episodes only to find it has been cancelled? Well you can thank its lack of ratings for that.

The Oxford Dictionary online defines ratings as an estimation of a television programmes audience size (2010). Australia’s main source of television audience measurement is OzTAM. Created in 1999, OzTAM collects data for over 100 Australian channels. This information is then analysed by media industries to understand viewer behaviour, plan advertising, and measure the performance of television programmes.

OzTAM relies on Nielsen a service provider, to collect these measurements. Through a large-scale survey, various households are chosen that represent the population being measured. The televisions in these homes are then connected to a ‘Peoplemeter’, a small black box, which records the electronic transmission signals being received by the TV. The ‘Peoplemeter’ can identify the programmes watched on the television, how long it is being watched for, if it is fast-forwarded, and who is watching it. This information is stored and collated for a daily report.

Recently Channel 10 axed morning breakfast show Wake Up after a fast decline in ratings. According to blogging team Mammamia, “[The show]…struggled in ratings against breakfast regulars Today and Sunrise. It’s had about one tenth of Channels 9 and 7′s audience.” Comparing numbers, Wake Up was receiving 35,000 viewers a day, while Sunrise attracts approximately 350,000 viewers and Today about 300,000 (Mammamia, 2014).

While some people argue TV ratings isn’t an accurate measurement of television audiences, companies such as Nielsen and OzTAM are continuously expanding, using social media to collect more ratings than ever before. Television networks and advertisers rely on these numbers to be successful therefore it would be unlikely to see ratings go. So if you love a TV show you better find someone with a Peoplemeter and be very nice to them as they control the fate of your programme in the palm of their hand.

Sources

2014, Australian Breakfast Show Axes, Mammamia, weblog post, 21 May, viewed 16 August 2014, <http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/wake-up-on-ten-axed/&gt;.

Welcome to the 50’s

This week we were asked to speak to someone older than ourselves about their experience of television when they were younger. My grandmother is always telling me about all the TV shows she loves to watch so I thought, whom better to ask than her!

My grandmother was born in Sydney in 1942. She grew up in Hurstville with her older brother, her younger sister, and her parents in a one story brick house. Her family was quite well off and her father always had to have the latest and greatest item on the market.

She was 14 (1956) when her father bought their first television home. My great-grandmother was apparently very against the idea of buying a television, as it would take the focus off the family interacting with one another. Nevertheless, everyone else was very excited about the newest addition to the household. My grandmother was one of the first to own a television out of all her friends and was therefore always hosting ‘TV viewing sessions’.

Their television lived in the lounge room, along with a lounge, piano, coffee table, fireplace and ashtray. She described the black and white Kreisler as a large cube on four legs, which was “quite fancy at the time” and the “centre piece of the room”.

My grandmother remembers watching many detective and cowboy movies with her family, however their favourites were the variety shows like the ‘Bobby Limb Show’. If like me, you’ve never heard of it, here’s a short promo to the show.

I asked my grandmother why she thought the introduction of television was so exciting and she said she felt that it was because it was a “universal experience”. People all over the world, were seeing just how amazing technology truly was. Entertainment was no longer a single sensory experience and people were able to directly see events that were happening all over the planet. Australians felt as though they were no longer disconnected from everyone else on the other side of the world.

Back to the Blog

After a long break from blogging, I am finally back!

For the newbies to Procrastination Place…Welcome! My name is Emily, and I am in my second year of a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies at UOW. I am majoring in digital media and international communications.

This semester I will be blogging for BCM240 – Media, Audience and Place. During the first lecture we explored audiences and what they do with media and more importantly where they access media. There are two types of audiences, those that are visible, e.g. a crowd watching a theatre performance and those that are invisible. The latter was explained as people connecting with media individually. By using your phone on a train you are an audience of media but your engagement is not necessarily shared with others.

As I live in Sydney, I watch the majority of my lecture online. While listening to lecturers Kate and Sue explain a media space, I realised I was currently in one. It is the space in which an audience connects with media, and for me, it is in bed with my laptop on my lap.

Laptop in bed is the only way to do it

I will start watching a tv show on my laptop, then I will pick up my phone and check instagram, and then unlock my iPad to see if I’ve gained any lives in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (embarrassing I know, but too addictive to stop). My room is where I can connect with media, a social space in a personal space.

This semester by bedroom will become my workspace for the BCM240 blog posts. I hope to see you back and that I can provide you with some procrastination worthy posts to distract you from your own work!