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Action Day & Night (Social Experiment) October 21, 2007

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We have now conducted our social experiment (also our third research method).

Last week we pasted up our false news headlines in a busy melbourne street (over night of course!) as well as plastering stickers around the location directing people to our website (see link below). Many thanks to the friends who helped us out with this task, it is much appreciated.

The following day we returned to the location to observe and interview members of the public viewing and interacting with our posters. In addition, we placed several more news headlines into ‘cages’ (used by newsagencies and stands) and placed them outside a bust train station to determine peoples responses. We found that many members of the public did stop and look at the cages, and that some believed them to be true. Others claimed that they wished some of the more serious headlines were true (‘Australia signs Kyoto Protocol’ and ‘Australia withdraws all troops from Iraq’). The issue we chose to cover are very topical, and generated interest despite the untrue nature.

Following this (and a spot of shopping and lunch!) we managed to ‘borrow’ 300 newspapers and insert our own fabricated articles in them. We proceeded to hand these out to unsuspecting members of the public. The inserts contained a link to our website, and the hope is that at lease some of those people who read the article will go online and complete the survey.

More results to follow.

Hit the website


For more information and to take part in the survey.


website *update October 8, 2007

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ABOUTabout.jpgWORKwork.jpgIN ACTIONinaction.jpg SURVEYsurvey.jpg

website UI October 8, 2007

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hola!!have had a go at the website, we’ll have 3 main sections to go in it.after the intro page we’ll get to the 1st section which will be this:web011.jpgjust a bit of an intro about why we’re doing this and other text grabbed off from our proposal.(will need help in writing ^^)2nd section:web02.jpgwe might have little thumbnails there instead of the arrows.about the 3rd section.. well.. i still need to discuss that with sammy whether that be possible or not.——–from todays meeting with shell and reading bec’s email as well, we’ve all sort of agreed to have 3 main colors throughout.grey, lime green and blue. basically to keep it together with the logo.will work on it + post again later.

website October 7, 2007

Posted by Disti in RESEARCH, WEBSITE.
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hi all.did a research on domain prices and names we can use.$36 for .org.au (2years)$69 for .net.au (2years)$28 for .org (1year)$28 for .net (1year)prices are from this websiteboth truthmanipulation and truthmanipulator are available in all variants.

print costings October 7, 2007

Posted by Bec in RESEARCH.
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Here is the quotation for your print job:

A2 b/w poster (bond 80gsm)
Qty: 50 – $90

A3 b/w document printing (bond 80gsm) – Printed duplex
Qty: 50 – $12
Qty: 100 –$24

A6 white label – 4up
Qty: 50 – $31.20

from eplot

Media mogul boardgame October 1, 2007

Posted by Disti in RESEARCH, THOUGHTS.
1 comment so far

Media mogul boardgame


it exists!! from the looks of it, its a bit of an old game that’s been revamped in order to stay relevant. from the first link you can see caricatures(how does one spell this?!) of murdoch, richard branson and i think the other one is simon cowell.. quite the moguls. anyway we can test the game online. so to figure out how this thing actually works. might inspire.

this is how the old one looks like:


A Machiavellian game of media rivalry, Media Mogul thrusts players into the role of international tycoons seeking to spread their own operations over the globe.
Winning over audiences with your television, radio and newspaper media with quality content is a key element, but it won’t directly bring you victory. Lucrative advertising contracts are needed for you to profit from your media operations, but they bore and repel your audiences, requiring you to balance profit and sustainability at all times.

more details here

The Mongrel Election September 30, 2007

Posted by shell in RESEARCH.
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Another Age article about election campaigns using fear mongering to sway votes…



Fear is a great weapon in politics, mainly because it works. Jason Koutsoukis reports on the advertising dogfight about to break out.

THE one thing all political strategists agree on when it comes to negative advertising is that it works. “If it is rooted in the truth then it is probably the most compelling form of persuasion there is,” says former federal Liberal MP Ross Cameron.

He was the target of intense personal attacks on his character during the 2004 election campaign, having confessed to an extramarital affair in Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine just before the campaign started.

But he says it’s not the negative messages in politics that upset him.

“What sickens me is the extent to which the electorate tut-tuts about it, then rewards everyone who practises it absolutely ruthlessly and systematically. It’s pure humbug.”

With what is tipped to be the most vitriolic election campaign in over a decade on the way, voters have weeks of malevolence to look forward to.

Health Minister Tony Abbott said last week that this campaign “will be about policies, it will be about people’s character and capacity to govern, nothing else”.

But with so many accusations flying about dirt files, dirt sheets and dirt units, voters could be forgiven for thinking they were already knee-deep in mud.

Even a bit of sex too, with one newspaper report last week suggesting the Federal Government had a closet gay in its ranks.

Seasoned pollster and campaign watcher Gary Morgan says that, as the incumbent, the Coalition’s best weapon will always be fear.

“Why do you think political parties spend the most money in their last week? Because they know it can tweak the vote. It’s very effective,” says Morgan.

“Bash away with fear, create the doubt in people’s minds. Years of experience tells you that is what works.”

From the pre-campaign shadow boxing we already know what those messages will be: fear of unions, fear of wall-to-wall Labor governments, and fear of Labor’s inexperience in government.

For Labor, the negative messages are equally well defined. Fear of John Howard’s hated WorkChoices laws, neglect on climate change, and forbidding portents of a Costello prime ministership.

Ross Cameron sees negative advertising as a simple reflection of people’s wish to feel above someone else.

“I think one of the flaws of the human condition is this incredibly persistent, deep-seated desire to feel that some other bastard is worse than you are,” says Cameron.

“And people prop up their sense of vulnerability by drawing a circle around themselves and saying, ‘I am one of the good guys and everyone outside are the bad guys’.

“That’s the instinct that the negative campaign and the personal attack appeal to. It’s almost a reflexive satisfaction because that other person or party is morally worse than I am.”

Negative advertising will backfire if the basis is not true, he says, because voters can see through it.

“Take some of Labor’s negative campaigns, like the schools funding debate last time around. It couldn’t mobilise the old feelings of class warfare because I don’t think they exist much any more.”

Cameron says the ultimate testimony to the power of negative advertising is the last messages that parties put to the voters as they walk into the polling booth.

‘It is always negative,” says Cameron. “It’s ‘Don’t trust Labor’, or ‘Don’t sell Telstra’, or ‘A vote for Howard is a vote for Costello’. It’s never ‘Join our vision to take Australia into the sunlit uplands’.

The reason negative ads work in politics, says Cameron, goes to the heart of the science of persuasion.

“The most persuasive element of any pitch, or any bid for a tender, is the part when you present an incontrovertible fact. Something that is proven, not debatable.

“But in politics, when you’re talking about the future, there is nothing about your future vision that can be based on an incontrovertible fact. It’s only the past that gives you these messages, and when you focus on someone’s past the only option is to criticise.”

Cameron also sees a parallel between negative advertising and the sorts of stories covered by the tabloid media in particular.

“The instinct they are appealing to is the capacity to make people feel better about their shitty lives, by feeling like ‘I am better than that trailer trash’.

“There is no doubt that if you give someone the opportunity to feel that they are better than someone else, it works. My only complaint is that I wish people were more honest about what changes their minds.”

What can we really expect from both sides in the run-up to this year’s election, widely tipped to be held on either November 10 or November 17?

Veteran advertising executive Greg Daniel, who has worked on several major political campaigns, says that with the economy strong and the Government perceived as competent, Labor is the more exposed side.

“The real ground Labor has chosen to fight on is Rudd. That’s their message,” says Daniel.

“Lots of stuff about the Government having run out of ideas and having been in power too long, but essentially Rudd is their key point of difference. Undermine Rudd, and Labor’s campaign starts to falter badly.”

Daniel also compares this campaign with the one in 1996, the last time the Government changed hands.

“The Coalition didn’t have to worry about selling Howard, because they had Paul Keating front and centre,” he says.

Nearly 12 years later and the Coalition’s 1996 advertising campaign is still fresh in the minds of many political pundits.

One ad featured Keating repeating his line about the ‘recession we had to have’; another showed him telling a protester to ‘get a job’; and who could forget the ad seen to epitomise the Keating government’s arrogance: a slow motion shot of then foreign minister Gareth Evans staggering around the dance floor celebrating Labor’s 1993 election victory.

The Coalition’s advertising campaigns have lost none of their potency since then.

The 2001 campaign will be remembered for the Tampa-inspired tagline — “We decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” — and 2004 for its devastating L-plate spelling of then Labor leader Mark Latham’s surname.

In his Flinders Lane office this week, the Coalition’s creative advertising genius, Ted Horton, will no doubt be putting the final touches on a new round of ads aimed at Kevin Rudd.

The ALP has sharpened its act since the last election, when critics said its campaign failed to make an impact.

With a team led by Neil Lawrence and Luke Dunkerley — the creative leaders of former Labor adman John Singleton’s STW Village — Labor has aired several ads throughout the year.

They included the largely positive ad selling Rudd himself, but they have been replaced with wholly negative ones attacking the Government and its personnel.

Up and down the east coast, Labor has been running a “Perfect One Day, Nuclear the Next” campaign, and a few weeks ago it released an ad showing John Howard sleeping through the climate change alarm bells at Kirribilli House.

Within 24 hours of Howard declaring that he would hand over to Costello if he won the election, Labor put to air a catty ad warning of the perils of letting this Treasurer turn prime minister.

“Both the creative teams working for the major parties are very experienced and very good, so I think we’ll see some excellent work on both sides. The major new factor is in the online area. I think that’s where we’ll see some real innovations compared with the previous campaigns,” says Greg Daniel.

Even more important, he says, is the use of the final 24 hours.

“I think it’s now around 10 per cent of people who make up their minds at that moment.

“So whether it’s through text messaging, multimedia messaging, these last-minute efforts to touch voters and plant the seed of doubt on the day itself are going to be critical.”

Already feeling overwhelmed and a touch soiled by the thought of what’s to come?

A final word from Gary Morgan, who cautions politicians not to get too carried away with the negative.

“Policies actually matter, you know. People are concerned about how much tax they pay. They want a good health system. They want to know that their children will be able to get a good education,” Morgan says.

“So fear works, we know that, but you have to make sure your policies stand up to scrutiny.”

Positive or negative, you’re going to hear a lot of it, from both sides.

Rumour has it that the Coalition has amassed a war chest of about $25 million to fund its campaign, while Labor and union allies are said to have even more.

With direct spending during the campaign last time around estimated to have reached only $20 million for both sides together, that gives some idea of the avalanche set to fall upon us.

Around the world in 8000 channels September 30, 2007

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Hi guys, found this article in the Age the day before we handed in our proposal.

Was too late to include it in the lit review, but i thought I would post it anyways as it has some really good stats about the media in several countries.


Correspondents from every corner of the globe find out what’s on telly.

Lucy Beaumont

BE IT BORDER SECURITY, SEA PATROL or Surf Patrol – Australia’s TV viewing preferences befit our island nation status and hint at our fears. Then there’s our love of fish-out-of-water scenarios, foxy ladies and men with balls.

Providing a sticky beak into others’ lives and luggage, customs documentary series Border Security is among the most watched regular shows with about 1.8 million viewers. Thank God You’re Here is also a hit, with a similar audience. Dancing with the Stars was an imported success that followed more straightforward talent quests such as Australian Idol. We love to see someone pushed to their creative, emotional or physical limits on screen – perhaps in preference to pushing ourselves off the couch.

In the ’80s, animated character Norm was created as the typical beer-bellied Australian TV viewer. Today, our average time spent in front of the box (three hours and seven minutes a day; pay TV viewers spend 26 minutes more) suggests he is still the norm. Now he has several flat screens to choose from, downloads the latest US shows and increasingly regards pay TV as a necessity – but it’s still sport that has him glued.

A list of the most watched programs since 2001 is topped by the 2005 Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin Australian Open tennis final (4.04 million viewers), 2003 World Cup final (4.01 million) and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony (3.56 million).

The Chaser’s war on – among other things – APEC security has proved extraordinarily popular, with an average 2.3 million viewers on Wednesdays, making it the fifth most popular show this year. It is the second-highest rating ABC program since the introduction of the people-meter rating system, with top place going to the final episode of Seachange in 2000.

More than 99 per cent of Australian houses have a TV – 67 per cent have two or more and 28 per cent have three or more. A 10-year average indicates ratings for the commercial networks are evenly split (Channel Nine has 31.2 per cent of viewers, Channel Seven 28.4 per cent and Channel Ten 21.3 per cent) with the ABC capturing about 15 per cent of the national audience and SBS 4 per cent. But free-to-air networks are losing their stranglehold. About a quarter of houses subscribe to pay TV and more than a third of Australian broadband internet users regularly download episodes, usually pirated.

And though it often seems that our screens are awash with American programs, ratings tell a different story. Australians celebrated 50 years of their own images last year. Cue the exploding Number 96 apartment building and clips of Graham “The King” Kennedy, roll out Bert Newton. Play the 1987 Neighbours wedding of Scott and Charlene, drool over David Wenham in SeaChange and cringe at Kath & Kim. The foxy ladies’ recent season premiere attracted 2,521,335 viewers nationally, the highest first-episode figures for any program, according to Seven.

Big Brother, Australian Idol and The Block round out the most watched shows in recent years but some suspect our love affair with reality television may be waning. ACNielsen reports that four out of five Australians say there is too much reality on our screens. But then those customs beagles sniff something suspect and we’re hooked again.

Randeep Ramesh

INDIAN TELEVISION’S DEFINING moment arrived in July 1990 when a serial version of the epic Hindu poem The Mahabharata finished. It had entranced 300 million viewers every Sunday for 20 months on the country’s only TV station – the state-owned broadcaster Doordarshan.

No program has matched that – partly because there are now 160 channels – and today’s viewers prefer pop idols to ones found in temples: 30 million tuned in to Indian Idol when it launched a couple years ago.

In a country of more than 1 billion people, just over 110 million Indian homes have TVs – more than half are connected by cable and about 7 million have satellite.

The most popular shows are soap operas, especially those that revolve around the tensions between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law.

Ed Pilkington

FOR A NATION SPOILT WITH hundreds of channels, it’s amazing that Americans still have so much in common in their viewing habits. They just can’t get enough of reality TV. Of the top 10 places for most popular shows, as rated by Nielsen Media Research, six are occupied by American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, with up to 30 million people watching them live or recorded that day.

But the delightful communion of veging out in front of the TV knowing that millions are doing the same is fading as greater choice – not least YouTube – fragments the audience. The top four networks recently recorded plummeting ratings, with 2.5 million fewer people watching their shows at prime time than last year.

You can see the drift over time. For instance, the most watched show of 1983 (a MASH special) had 60 per cent of the US TV audience – that’s 50 million homes. The show-stopper this year was the Super Bowl, which had 48 million viewers but attracted only 43 per cent of America’s by now much larger audience of 111 million TV homes.

The three main networks, CBS, ABC and NBC, are important players in that order but the big change was the growing threat of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox that as the provider of American Idol broadcasts the most popular show in US television and whose average audience has overtaken the ailing NBC.

The appalling frequency of advertisements in US TV drives people to TiVo and gloriously ad-free pay television and notably HBO, which had the water-cooler moment of the year – the final episode of The Sopranos.

Jo Tuckman

MEXICAN TELEVISION IS DOMINATED by two private networks – Televisa and TV Azteca – although there is growing pressure for competition.

Some 10 per cent of viewers watch the two state-owned educational channels; cable and satellite services are too expensive for most, while digital competition (and developments) are limited by lack of internet access in most houses. Traditional timeslot TV is the main entertainment and news for most Mexicans, despite frequent complaints about quality.

The prime-time backbone is the telenovela. Classic formats involve largely white and one-dimensional villains and heroes, accompanied by loyal, dark-skinned servants.

More complex plots are creeping in. One of these – the Mexican version of Ugly Betty, screened last year – was phenomenally successful, with the finale garnering the country’s third-biggest audience ever (after an international football final involving Mexico, and a celebrity wedding).

Also last year, presidential elections triggered a popular and unprecedented political satire on Televisa, The Privilege of Governing. This year, the same network has launched a line in home-grown series modelled on US successes such as Desperate Housewives.

Jonathan Watts

WHEN IT COMES TO THE WORLD’S biggest TV ratings phenomena, you can forget Big Brother and The Apprentice. The World Cup final, the Olympics and the Super Bowl may briefly blip into the global consciousness but they have no staying power.

Coronation Street has longevity but its numbers don’t compare. No, the real ratings champion of global television is surely the 7.30pm weather forecast on China Central Television’s (CCTV) channel one: rain or shine, the show claims an average daily audience of 300 million – equal to America’s population.

That is the boast of CCTV, the state-run broadcaster that, in terms of market share and political clout, dominates the world’s most populous nation. CCTV is a propaganda arm of the ruling Communist Party.

The weather follows the 7pm news, which is compulsorily relayed by every provincial station because it sets the national agenda. Most broadcasts start with the activities of senior Communist officials – the order of their appearance strictly determined by their rank in the party.

But while that aspect of TV in China still fits the old-fashioned stereotype of communism, there are developments in viewing habits that better reflect this changing nation.

The hottest program in 2005 was Super Girl Voice, in which viewers were able to vote for their favourite performers via text messaging. This was a revelation in a nation where people do not have the chance to choose their political leaders.

In the early ’80s, just 20 per cent of houses had TV – so families would gather in one place to watch popular shows. By 2005, there were 30 per cent more sets than families, so such shared viewing is a thing of the past.

Content is heavily censored but network bosses are under commercial pressure to be bolder because information is more freely available in other forms of media. Since 1997, the number of TV viewers has remained flat, despite an increase of tens of millions in the population. Internet penetration has surged to more than 150 million.

Giles Tremlett

FOR MOROCCANS, THE PAN-ARAB Super Star talent show was, if not this year’s water-cooler moment, then at least the hottest thing to discuss over a glass of green tea. It was already a hit in Morocco before a tearful Iraqi, Shada Hassoun, won in March. Moroccans eagerly watch not just the finals but also the regional preliminary competitions. This year they are sending three finalists, led by Saad Al Mjarad, to the show produced in Beirut.

Although Morocco has two state-controlled channels, TVM and 2M, it is satellite TV that has revolutionised viewing habits. Be they free-to-air Arab channels such as Al Jazeera and Saudi Arabia’s Iqra, or Spanish channels decoded by pirated cards, satellite is increasingly watched at home or at the open-air cafes where men gather to smoke and chat.

Spanish football, Egyptian soaps and TV preachers and Lebanese game shows are part of the regular Moroccan viewing diet. Al Jazeera’s 10pm Maghreb news show – refreshingly free of saturation coverage of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI – has knocked the rankings of local royal-kowtowing news shows.

Ian Traynor

MANTAS WAS THE TV SENSATION OF the year in Lithuania. The pop singer won Lithuania Dancing Ten, the Baltic version of Celebrity Come Dancing, and then morphed into the country’s heart-throb.

The post-communist country of 3.5 million has one to two TV sets in each of its 1.5 million houses. Satellite dishes are sprouting from the sides of the Soviet housing blocks and the lovely Hanseatic apartments of the capital, Vilnius.

Cable packages are also popular. So, as everywhere in Europe, viewing is more fractured than it used to be as people watch non-terrestrial Russian or Scandinavian channels and BBC World, CNN and Discovery.

The dancing spectacular was a triumph for the national public broadcaster, which has two channels competing fiercely with three commercial channels.

The reality TV epidemic and Big Brother copycats attract most viewers, as does the local Pop Idol. But for the one-off TV event the Eurovision Song Contest is supreme.

Chris McGreal

THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT WOULD prefer that the tens of millions who crowd in front of televisions to watch the fourth-largest network in the world every evening were drawing cultural lessons from the official programs about the common values of Africa’s most populous but divided nation.

But, as in much of the continent, Nigerians rely on a diet of football, religion and soap operas for most of their entertainment – although the order of preference is determined by geography.

Saucy soap operas are kept off many of the local stations in the overwhelmingly Muslim north, where religious broadcasts from the Koran and preachers acceptable to the Government are a staple. In the mostly Christian south, the tangled pursuit of sex, money and power in the soaps – local and Latin American – sits comfortably alongside the praising of God.

Television in the south is packed with Pentecostal services and preachers promising to cure the sick or make the poor rich. Three years ago the Government banned religious broadcasters from showing miracles that are not “provable and believable”. Religious broadcasting is popular also with the local stations that rely on its income.

Football unifies where other popular programs divide. The vicissitudes of Nigeria’s football team provide sporadic hope in a country where it is often in short supply. But it is the English Premiership league that has many on the edge of their seats each week.

Mark Lawson

WHEN I MADE A DOCUMENTARY looking at British television from the ’60s, greying witnesses recalled eerie evening silences on city streets, occasionally broken by the footsteps of a last tardy commuter rushing home to be in front of the set in time for The Prisoner, The Morecambe and Wise Show or The Wednesday Play.

Time romanticises memories but that vision of viewing holds some truth. With two channels and no video recorders, watching TV was a shared experience. Now, the reception of even a hit show is fragmented and elongated.

You won’t see workers dashing through empty streets to catch Little Britain because a section of the audience has recorded it, another is waiting for the DVD box set and a third may be watching it on a notebook PC or mobile phone.

A useful symbol of how consumption has changed is the relationship between the TV industry and the pub. Forty years ago, a standard expression of a show’s success was that it emptied the bars.

Now, a big England football or rugby game is more likely to fill the bars, as games migrate to non-terrestrial channels, forcing old-technology viewers against all historical instinct to leave the house when there’s something good on TV.

Jon Henley

THE ODD THING ABOUT FRENCH TV is that it is so awful. Inane game shows, insipid documentaries, unincisive interviews, irrelevant dramas, incredibly lame cop series that the French have known since (literally) 1976, unbelievably dreadful Saturday night song-and-dance spectaculars presented by a bloke called Arthur and composed of cringe-worthy covers of Gallic hits of the ’70s – c’est un vrai festival.

The problem is that the medium is not considered suitable for serious endeavour. It’s a historical thing: TV was a state monopoly and often its mouthpiece until the mid-’80s. And in France the talent has always headed for the cinema. Once every couple of years there’s a halfway decent drama but the French would never dare, for example, take on a docudrama about contemporary political figures and events.

Last year’s top show was France versus Italy in the World Cup final, which drew 22.2 million. Outside football, the most-watched shows last year were films (headed by ’70s cult French comedy classics Les Bronzes and Les Bronzes Font du Ski, Pirates of the Caribbean, Les Choristes and Asterix), each pulling about 12 million.