2005年02月27日

现在的官员一谈到数字化,眉飞色舞,好象一切模拟时代的问题都会因为数字电视而改变。似乎不是机制有问题,而是技术有问题,而这技术有问题不是政府不推动,而是老百姓不接受。一谈到数字化,就跟市场化扯在一起,好象数字电视就一定要赚钱,一定要让老百姓掏钱不可。不信,请看国家广电总局新闻发言人朱虹的话:最初,我们在推行数字电视时,百姓认为是政府的变向收费。其实,数字电视服务类似国外的付费电视,数字电视服务采用有偿服务的原则,是我国广电行业走向市场化经营的改革举措。新华网 2003-12-02 10:06:02,来源:光明日报)

 

现在搞宣传,有一种观点也让人惊奇,同上述来源一样,文章说:“据技术人员介绍,用户只要在家中加装一台数字电视机顶盒,就可以用现在的电视机接收数字电视节目。机顶盒输出的数字电视节目不再有模拟电视节目中经常看到的雪花”“斜纹等干扰信号,电视画面特别清晰、逼真,电视画面质量达到500线。不仅如此,观众每天还可以收看到500多套电视节目,从根本上解决了模拟电视节目不好看的问题。”用这种不太负责任的语言来描述数字化的未来恐怕有点不象传媒的立场,倒象是广告。

 

还有一种宣传就非常不负责任了,他们宣称:“数字电视频道不插播广告”(新华网 2003-09-02 08:47:21),来源:北京青年报

 

笔记想就本人在英国对数字电视发展的观察谈一些个人的想法,也就中国的数字电视发展提出自己的一些意见。希望大家不要对数字电视误会了。

 

首先,我要声明,数字电视一定要发展,而且他也正在发展。在中国,更要快快地发展。我们的现代化发展有时候需要一些机遇来实现起飞,数字电视就是一个机遇,中国人不能在这个机遇面前掉队,必要的话应该全民努力,共同实现这次事关民族发展的难得机遇。

 

但是,凡事的发展也有它的规律,如果破坏了规律我们得到的也许是和我们的初衷并不一致的结果。适逢我国数字化时间表制订,各项标准正在出台之时,有必要再把目光投向一些数字化发展进程比较不错的国家。

 

非常有幸能在这个机遇期里在英国这个全球数字电视发展最好的国家里学习传媒。也愿意就我的观察和大家作一个分享。事实上关于英国数字电视发展的中文综述性文章是有的,如果大家有兴趣也可以阅读,我在这里更多地想理清一些大家误会的观点。

 

数字电视=付费电视。

 

这个观点在现在的媒体宣传中比较普遍,我们的广电官员们也好象比较热衷于此。广电总局的政策也明确地指出:发展数字电视要围绕寻求广告之外新的经济增长点,由一元化经营向多元化发展的思路,即把开展付费电视业务作为推动数字电视发展的主要方向。在实际推动中,我国广电的政策执行者也确实是在把数字电视当付费电视看待和推动的。这体现在我国对有线数字电视的发展上。这项政策的出台引来了消费者的强烈不满,这确实是不出所料的事情,政府来推动传媒市场化并用行政性的东西来保证这种市场化,对于传媒这样的双重产品来讲确实是不公平,更不用说我国广大观众早已习惯了低收费的所谓“免费电视”模式。

 

在英国,数字电视的推动来源于墨多克的新闻集团。当然这话说得有点过,但是新闻集团确实在数字化上对英国产生了重大的影响,我们看到由于墨多克与撒切尔政府的关系,导致初期英国卫星广播(BSB)与天空卫视之间的竞争最后走向融合,新的BSKYB取代原来的竞争态势,在卫星数字电视方面一统英国的天下,在数字化发展的用户数增加的市场战略上也取得巨大的成功。在卫星数字电视的成功下,ITV的数字电视平台终于倒掉。但是这样的情况在去年发生了变化,freeview(“免费看”)平台取得了巨大成功,导致天空卫视的用户数在去年八月出现停滞。今年天空卫视打出免费看一个月的促销措施,但是订户并不见大的增长,相反“免费看”平台的用户却是在不断增加。“免费看”平台是一个无线数字电视平台,它上面有三十个频道,部份频道是几个电视频道共用。对于只交执照费只能看五个频道的英国电视观众来讲,三十个频道确实太有诱惑力了,更何况,他只增加在购买机顶盒时的初装费用而已。现在的英国数字电视之争应该是“免费看”平台与天空卫视的争夺了。但是人们更普遍看好“免费看”平台,至少它为社会上的一大部份低收入或者不愿意在电视上多花钱的消费者提供了选择。

 

在英国,政府也是极力推动数字电视的收费模式的。但是这里面有深层的政治原因,这个从BBC与英国政府的矛盾上得到体现,凯利案件导致戴克下台,但BBC的传统仍然让新任主席要为BBC的执照费收入而争取。英国政府在新近的关于执照费和数字化转移的绿皮书上将对此事件划上一个历史性的句号,但是不可否认,这样的政治决定是与社会变革有关的。有的东西也不是市场说了算的。

 

在我国,广电总局强调地面传输标准未制订,而没有积极推动中国无线数字电视平台,相反去做另一项也是走收费路线的直播卫星平台。这样将消费者置于只能付费的境地。这实在与政府的服务最广大人民群众的职能不相符,也难怪他们的政策得不到充分的响应。或者根本没有考虑过有线平台上的免费数字电视。只是模糊地说现在的所有模拟频道都将转为免费数字电视频道。这个政策的宣传恐怕就没有收费政策的宣传那么充分。而老百姓现在担心的就是数字了,我们还看什么?

 

在我国,电视的公共性从来没有得到过体现,普通电视观众对电视的公共性要求也不高,政府在免费电视模式和收费电视模式上其实不应该做此轻彼重的选择。因为在我国,免费电视也就意味着大量的电视广告。哪种赢利模式能成功,不是政府说了算,应该让市场来检验。当然了现在的市场是政府主导的市场,因为参与这个市场的电视台及网络公司都是政府的资产,所以他们想怎么随心所欲地玩就怎么玩,从来没有人会对这些资产的损失负经济或历史责任的。

 

数字电视就一定信号好吗?

这话听着跟“开好车的人就一定是好人”这话这么熟。数字电视如没有亲眼所见,你会充满想像力。但任何事物都有条件的。我在英国的商场里看数字电视的演示,也会因为电流的原因,周围电磁信号的原因,导致画面出现些问题。而在看互动的电视,如电视购物,信息查询等节目时发现信号更加的不好,演示的高清平板电视上的字并不清楚,有强烈的信号抖动。同时用菜单选择进入另一频道象电脑一样,需要一个loading的过程,非常慢,完全没有一按遥控器,想要的东西就立刻出现的快感。所以,数字电视并不是个尽善尽美的东西,他也是在发展中的,不要一开始就把它写得那么漂亮,想起网上的一个片子“廉通的二零零四”上面有句话,“我们做运营商的,不要把话说得过头了,否则是要还的”。

 

在全球化,集约化(convergence)的今天,数字电视应该让电信运营商进入,这在我国却是没有人来谈论的,有人以为数字电视打破央视垄断,其实央视在数字电视上根本没有垄断,因为信号的传输权一直没有掌握在央视手上,央视到现在为止也还只是个积极的内容提供商而已。在我国,广电竞争如果不让电信运营商进入,只喊着吸引境外资本,民间资本那是绝对错误的事情。传媒的公信力有时来自于实力,有实力的企业往往是负责任的企业,这样的企业来运营媒体才有可能保证这些媒体不乱来。可是我们的广电政策制订者从来对电信业的生猛怕之又怕。曾经有过一个电视台的人说,直的好可怕,电视台和移动公司开会商量广告价格,电视台这边坐的一帮老人,移动公司那边一色的年轻人。这样的人力对比,电视台就已经输了许多,如果真把电视拿给电信做,电视台这帮人还活得成?虽然是玩笑话,但是以我国目前电视台的内部管理,人事制度来看,确实无法和电信运营商竞争,这个行业开放的话,最大的赢家不是中央电视台,倒有可能是中国移动通信公司。

 

数字电视不插播广告。

 

这话是受收费模式的误导。事实上在英国,收费的数字电视里也是有广告的。换个形式,或者直截了当。为什么会这样呢?因为你付费并不是付一种费用,你的付费选择是比较多的,在这方面体现了市场性,你花多少钱得到多少程度的服务,你只付个基本费,那给你的服务也是相对有限的,你付得多,得到的服务自然也多,也会更好。选择性上更强,想看没广告的频道,那也可以看到。如果说数字电视不插播广告,我想许多媒体都会欢迎的,电视这个最强大的敌人不播广告了。这相对于我国非常巨大的电视广告份额来说,这样做数字电视可能吗?这样的描述也不要误导了我们的消费者,否则将来消费者会找你们的麻烦的。

 

说到最后,我觉得我们最应该关注的还是我们的广电管理体制和我国电视如何走市场化道路这个核心问题。如果我们不能解决政府,人民,投资者几方面的协调问题,我们的一切模式都可能失败。而如果我们的资产不是政府的,不是人民的,那可以有限责任地尝试。如果是拿政府的钱来做事,我们就一定要考虑将来谁来为这样的决策负责的问题。

2005年02月26日

Dear Giorgos

Thank you very much for forwarding the minutes of your meeting and for the
constructive criticism of various aspects of the programme. I had not been
made aware that you were holding a student meeting and, if I had, I would
have made the suggestion that staff should have also been present in order
that some of your concerns could have been addressed in an open forum.
This is how we run our undergraduate staff/student committee which is very
useful for lecturers and students alike. I would suggest that we plan to
hold another meeting with teaching staff from this semester to discuss
issues arising from this semesters units after the mid-semester break.

I shall certainly pass on your comments to relevant members of staff
regarding the points raised. If there are any immediate concerns that I
can attend to as acting director of the course I shall certainly do so.

I appreciate the time and effort you and others have put into drafting the
memo, and thank you for the constructive tone of its delivery.

Regards
Richard

Dr Richard Haynes
Director, MSc in Media Management by Online Learning
Department of Film & Media Studies
University of Stirling

The following are a set of minutes from a class meeting held by the MSc in Media Management group on the 17th of February 2005. The meeting was held as a result of a number of requests from students after the first semester and out of a need to constructively contribute to what the course can offer now and in future. A number of suggestions were made by the class to the class reps in the hope that some of what was suggested could be put into effect while the class is still enrolled in the course, but if not, it is hoped that some of these suggestions could be implemented in later years. Points of discussion: – WebCT: There was a request that the WebCT for the course be made much easier to access. A number of students have had difficulty accessing the WebCT. – BOOKS IN RBR: Could more copies of core text/compulsory text please be put in the RBR of the library. Maybe extra copies of some of the readings could be put in the Pathfoot resource centre. – DISSERTATION PROPOSALS: o The majority of the students felt that there was a lack of support and clear guidance on the writing of the dissertation proposals. Not enough feedback or clear feedback was given to guide the students to make sure that the proposal was clear. Some students have had to rethink their proposals. o Most of the students felt very rushed to deliver the proposal to the department. The students had hoped that clearer feedback would be given on the content, approach to writing and way forward for their dissertation proposals. o The discrepancy between the rough draft mark and the final proposal mark was such in some cases, that the students felt they didn’t understand why the final marks were given. It was suggested that the students get clearer notes to explain the difference or at least have an opportunity to discuss queries regarding this matter. – FIRST 3 DISSERTATION CHAPTERS FOR SUBMISSION: o A request to move the submission date of these chapters to the 23rd of May or at least to the first week after the exams. The week of the 3rd of May does not work well because that is the week of group presentations for the Strategic Management course. – ELECTIVES FOR THE SECOND SEMESTER: The students would like to have the opportunity to enrol in all the courses offered during the second semester. It was felt that with most of the week being left open, there would be enough time to take both Media Rights and Marketing Communications. – INDUSTRY EXPOSURE: The students liked the fact that they had the chance to listen to various speakers from the media during the first semester. That was very valuable. They would like to get guest lecturers in the second semester as well. o Although it is understood that this is not a vocational course, the students would like to have the chance to go to industries where media management principals are implemented. They would like to see what they learn in class put into practice in the real world. o A second request was made by the students to have previous graduates of the course come and give talks on what the degree has done for them and what opportunities were open to them after the degree. – ACCESS TO LAB EQUIPMENT: The request to have access to the editing suites and/or radio broadcast facilities on campus. Seeing as most of the students would eventually go into managerial positions later one, it was felt that a basic understand of how the basic equipment worked would be of value. If access to these facilities is not possible, a brief introduction on how the TV and Radio equipment work would be appreciate. – EXAMS: Could Media Management students be allowed to re-sit exams in courses they share with students from other disciplines who are allowed to re-sit (e.g. Accounting and Finance). As previously mentioned these are suggestions and requests which came from the students. It is hoped these suggestions will go toward improving a course which the students have learned a lot from. It is also hoped that these suggestions will be of value to future students.

2005年02月18日

斯特灵大学在《泰晤士报》的大学排名位列三十八(2004),他的传媒专业排名第十八。但是如何看待这些排名呢?毫无疑问,这些排名都是综合指标,包括有本科以及其它方面的理由。所以我们在看传媒管理这样的专门学科时可以抛开排名,单从一些要素来看待。作为一名正在斯特灵大学攻读传媒管理理学硕士学位的学生,想就我个人的亲身感受,谈一谈这个课程,方便国内有关专业研究人士及立志报读此专业的后来者一些感性认识。

 

我认为斯特灵大学的传媒管理专业是非常有口碑的。也在国际上享有盛誉。本班三十一名学生,有三十人来自世界各地。其中有超过七名奖学金获得者。所以该专业非常吸引世界各地的传媒精英。在斯特灵大学,该专业也是此大学非常有影响力的专业。听说你在这个专业学习,其它学生都会报以佩服的眼光。声誉来源于该专业的毕业生和多年来的教学与研究工作。当然主要是来自于该系的系主任,课程指导吉莉·道尔(Gillian Doyle)博士。

 

吉莉是位身材魁梧的苏格兰女人,年约三十几岁,也许有四十,从来不带手表,上课计时是借同学的手表,这件事很有意思,借她手表的印度同学,有把手表拨快十分钟的习惯,这个同学也不说,但吉莉的时间感觉极强,她能判断这块手表的时间不对。所以她的每堂课似乎都非常准时。但是她的lecture通常就是几张幻灯,和她异于常人的飞快语速。她的声音并不带苏格兰腔,这与她在伦敦呆过很多年有关吧。她在seminar上也通常并不给你太多的时间发表自己的意见。通常还是以她的想法为准,最多愿意听听各国的介绍。为此本班一南美同学对她极其不满,认为她根本不会听不同的意见。认为她适合教本科而不适于教研究生。从这里看出这个女人非常自负。不过也只有这样的人才会在这个男人的学术世界里取得强大的影响力。

 

吉莉通常不会迟到,唯一一次是评教授。不知道她今年是否能如愿得到教授称号。她多年的title都是Dr.不过遗憾的是下个学期她将不上任何一堂课了,她将专心做她的研究半年。据说按这边的规矩,她每几年有一年的时间可以专心做研究而不用上课了。不过也很幸运能够听她上一个学期的传媒经济学。

 

吉莉在业界有很高声望,她每周会邀请一位客座来讲课。都是传媒业界的精英分子,从广播电视到杂志,从报纸到因特网。这些教授的课非常深入,应该说比吉莉的课有深度,有趣味。但吉莉仍然是这些课程的绝对主导,她会毫不客气地打断学生的追问,自已跑去提几个问题,然后宣布下课。

 

在她的领导下,传媒管理硕士课程要求非常严格,学这门课,你没有补考的机会,如果一门功课不及格,那么你就无法获取学位。每个学这门课的学生都非常的疯狂。以至于我这样的英语专业毕业的学生不得不申请英语写作课程辅导。

 

吉莉著有两本书,《理解媒介经济学》和《传媒体制》两书据说都有中文版,不过我只查到前一本由清华大学出版社出版的中文版。今年将有第三本书出版,是关于传媒研究方法的,和本系另一位牛人,西蒙教授合著,此人也是吉莉的博士生导师。这个人很有趣,长得象“窈窕奶爸”中的男主角,上课经常迟到,在全体学生做presentation时,也会借故提前早退。不过此人牛津毕业,在研究方法教学上很有一套,一个酒糟鼻的老头竟然是研究流行音乐的专家,你想不到吧。本来也有意搞流行音乐研究的论文的,后来由于害怕他的不准时,还是放弃了。

 

本专业的几门选修课都是MBA的课程,包括财务会计,组织行为学,整合营销和公司战略。这些课是与各管理专业的学生共同上课。这些方面斯特灵应该不算太强,所以也就不谈教师了,主要还是靠学生自己体会。我觉得这些课程都非常有意义, 尤其是在中国传媒企业化的过程中,这些东西都会用得上。但我却不知道在国内学MBA是不是要比在这里强些。但不管怎么样,用英文学总归有许多优势。正如我的楼友,一位英国的博士生告诉我的那样,他说商业领域的专业语言是英语,所以你应该用英语学习这些课程。如果我们回去面对外资挑战,我们怎么能不学会至少是英语的行话呢?

 

在做论文方面,我发现这里非常强调案例研究。在吉莉和西蒙的新书中也会强调这一点。当然你也可以写别的东西。由于论文还没开始写,所以这里也不好说太多。

 

毕业方面,这里的学生似乎没有得到太多的尊重,尤其是在国内。我想这个专业对于国内来说非常有意义,我写这篇文章的目的也是要国内的传媒界对这个专业特别注意。最近吉莉的许多有关报道在国内会多一些,连北广的胡正荣老师也说他正在读“这位后起之秀的书”。

 

有必要指出的是,斯特灵大学传媒管理专业的办学方针是非常严谨的,虽然迫于文学院的压力,在招生方面出现了一些吉莉所不愿意看到的情况,如班级规模增大过快,大量没有工作经验学生的涌入。但是总体来说,这个专业还是要求非常严格。另外他的学术风气非常正,在传媒经济方面有许多大腕,这里非常注意原创性,和恰当的引用。所以这里的学术气氛确实是国内所无法见到的。

 

这个专业深受英国外交部志奋领奖学金获得者的喜爱,也证明这个专业在许多国家的影响力。中国的奖学金获得者戴以戎已经成为国际电台的频率总监。其它国家的优秀传媒工作者和学者也在汇聚这所学校中。在本级中, 有一位正在西班牙读博士的学生,专门拿出一年的时间到该校攻读其硕士学位。可见其在业内的号召力。

 

简单的一些介绍,作为抛砖之作,期待着更多的提问,也非常欢迎传媒业内的人士来到美丽的苏格兰,在这个《勇敢的心》故事流传的地方深入地学习并且思考中国的传媒产业化及相关的课题。本人的email: sf064@stir.ac.ukstirfang@hotmail.com

 

1. Introduction

Nowadays, foreign TV companies are all active in China, but without much success until recently. News Corp has enjoyed moderate success by operating a Chinese Mandarin Entertainment Channel called Xing Kong Wei Shi (Or Starry TV”) in China for 3 years.

News Corp’s limited market access comes on the footsteps of China’s admission into the WTO. Although there is no explicit timetable for opening up the TV sector, WTO will indirectly help relax China’s TV rules on provincial connection with foreigners for their expertise. And more recently, the new media ownership rules, which come into effect on November 28, 2004, allow foreign firms to buy up to 49% of local production companies. (SARFT website, Oct. 28, 2004)

Xing Kong Wei Shi is offering general entertainment programmes to Chinese urban, white-collar consumer segment. It broadcasts “cross-over” programmes, such as movies, game shows, sports, and sitcoms. With permission to launch its programmes to a province in China now, Xing Kong is developing for its target of covering whole China, an audience market with 1.3 billion people and target for the share of the present market of £7.6 billion TV advertising (Media Guardian Website, Dec 1, 2004).

The research intends to provide valuable experience case from Murdoch’s TV success in China. This dissertation proposes to reveal Murdoch’s successful strategies in China and discusses the deregulation of foreign ownership in the Chinese TV industry.

Firstly, the problems and goals will be outlined; secondly, a literature review will cover various knowledge on satellite TV issues. Thirdly, the methods employed for this dissertation will be examined. Finally, the expectation of this dissertation will be call for further study on the questions the author has highlighted.

1.1. Problems statement and Goals

One of the most important steps in conducting a research case study is the definition of research questions (Yin, 1994). The research project is seeking to answer a number of questions relate to “How can we explain the success of Xing Kong Wei Shi in China since its launch in 2002?” Regarding the problems and aims, the following would be addressed:

Primarily,

a)        What is Xing Kong Wei Shi’s marketing strategy and goal in China? How successful is Xing Kong Wei Shi’s financial operation? For example, what is the size of its annual profis or loss?

b)        What is Xing Kong Wei Shi’s local management strategy and what goal does Xing Kong Wei Shi want to achieve regarding its personnel strategy in China?

c)        What size of audience market share has Xing Kong Wei Shi gained in China? Is the channel popular among its Chinese audience?

d)        What is Xing Kong Wei Shi’s programme strategy? Which types of programmes are most popular in China?

e)        Who are the main competitors of Xing Kong Wei Shi? What kind of strategies does Xing Kong Wei Shi utilise to compete with its counterparts?

Additionally, this study examines foreign ownership policies in satellite television in China.

1.2. Relevance and significance

Concerning relevance and significance, the following should be mentioned:

An internet search the “case study”on “Xing Kong Wei Shi” suggests that there is a lack of information detailing academic research on similar issues. Therefore, the dissertation proposed will be significant and innovative in providing more experience and research results for other foreign media groups, who are wanting to share China’s super size media market, like the Pearson Plc, and the Viacom, and others.

The dissertation proposed has many research links with both media economics and ownership. Furthermore, the development strategy of media companies is also a popular subject for research interest.

1.3. Barriers

Possible barriers including following, the first and also the biggest problem is distance for interviews. The reason for this being that the researcher has no option in returning to China to meet the CEO of News Corp China, and the President Jamie Davis of Star China, as a result, face to face interviews initially seem to be a barrier for research.

The second problem is officialdom. This is due to the fact that it is not easy to have opportunity to interview officials in government. However, in order to overcome this obstacle, the researcher’s colleagues in Beijing will be requested to do interviews with both managers of New Corp China and government officials on behalf of the researcher.

 

The third, also a vital problem for such a case study, is that the TV channel will not be stable for the other foreign TV channels in China. As a universal research result is not the researcher’s intention .There is no solution to this barrier.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

Although the shortage of researches on the topic of this proposed dissertation are found, there are considerable research data on various aspects of those problems which a foreign satellite TV station has to face and tackle.

2.1. Media economics and ownership research

Much research related to media firms are not in book but in reports, not in academic research but in media’s own survey or analysis. However there are plenty of books which are researching how media firms behave under different market structures like those economists: Albarran, 1996; Alexander et al, 1998; Doyle, 2002a; Picard, 1989; 2002.

Doyle (2002a:1) indicates, ”[E]conomics, as a discipline, is highly relevant to understanding how media firms and industries operate.” She explains how importand and prevalent of economies of scale and economies of scope amid the media industry. It has been concerned by media economists that how media firms behave under various market structure. (Doyle, 2002a: 10) In the meantime, convergence and globalisation and deregulation of national media industries are increasing important for media economics. (Doyle, 2002b: 4)

2.2. The deregulation of satellite TV trend in Asia and the globalization theory in communication

Foreign ownership policies on satellite TV in Asian countries present the deregulation trend. The reason for it is for keeping up with internationalisation, WTO impact and transferring know-how by foreign investment.

In his book Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture, Roland Robertson reviews how the concept of globalisation was developed.

Chan (1994) defines media internationalisation as the process by which the ownership, structure, production, distribution or content of a country’s media is influenced by foreign media interests, culture and markets.

2.3. Satellite TV research

Chen (1996) conducted a study on the localization of satellite television in Taiwan. Local and foreign satellite television channels available in Taiwan were examined. Reasons for their success and failure were probed.

Chen pointed out STAR TV, TVBS, Chinese Television Network, and MTV Asia were cited as examples of successful localized satellite channels. These channels provided different satellite feeds to cater for the different need in the Asian region. Their separate feed for Taiwan could offer either Chinese subtitling or Mandarin dubbed programs that overcame the language barrier. The study concluded that the trend of localization of satellite television was a dominant phenomenon in Taiwan and localization of satellite television was a proof of catering to the need of Taiwan viewers by foreign media organizations.

2.4. WTO and foreign investment in China

China’s open door policy has led to Chinese access to the WTO. The researcher will examine relevant policy documents on the agreement of China’s WTO entry. The director of SARFT’s (China State Administration of Radio Film and Television) speech on the WTO and its impact to China’s media will be in quoted in order to analysing the agenda of the opening barriers and the regulations on foreign investment in China. Moreover, government statistics will be cited to indicate how foreign investment is increasing in China.

Academic research on the WTO and China broadcasting can be found in Dai’s dissertation (2002) entitled What effect will China’s entry to the WTO has on the China’s broadcasting industry? How are Chinese and non-Chinese broadcasting companies preparing for this? Some of its research results will be cited in the researcher’s dissertation as evidence.

2.5. Research on Xing Kong Wei Shi and News Corp..

In 1993, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation purchased a 64 percent share of Star TV and in 1995, he acquired full control. The purchase of Star TV illustrates the rapid entry of major western broadcasting firms into Asian broadcasting industries in the 1990s (Langdale, 1997a / Chan & Ma, 1996).

More research on Xing Kong Wei Shi and News Corp can be found in various newspapers and magazines and especially report on Murdoch. There is special collection in website of http://Media.Guardian.co.uk.

3. Methodologies

In China, the political and socio-economic systems are completely different from the Capitalist system from which Xing Kong Wei Shi’s parent company has originated. Therefore, Xing Kong Wei Shi has to tackle the challenges from its receiving country for its identity of a foreign satellite TV channel.

3.1. Research methods to be employed

Due to the fact that the  China foreign satellite television service has been the hottest topic in the television industry worldwide today, the case study of Xing Kong Wei Shi is chosen to be researched in this project. In this project, a case study is applied as the research strategy because this might be particularly useful for investigating a contemporary phenomenon in which the boundaries between the phenomenon and its context are not clearly distinguished and the context conditions are part of the study. In this project, China is both part of the phenomenon and the context of the study.

Besides, case study is most suitable for answering “how” and “why” questions. How to tackle the challenge what Xing Kong Wei Shi is facing and how it gets success and why it applies its strategy in such a way are the focus of this project. Therefore, case study may be the most appropriate research method for this topic.

One of the main reasons for undertaking this case study is that the researcher is an operator of a provincial satellite channel in China. Not only is he familiar with this industry, but also the competitors, especially Xing Kong Wei Shi, the most powerful potential competitor in China’s TV industry.

Regarding to the time scale for the research, this will include the period between early year of 2001 when Xing Kong Wei Shi was established, when China officially entered the WTO and the year 2004.

Concerning data collection, this will be based on the following: For documentation, press releases, newsletters, and sales brochures issued by Xing Kong Wei Shi and other official report and regulation policies of China State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) have been obtained. More researches on WTO in China will be examined from the regulations and report of China Commercial Department. Market research reports on Xing Kong Wei Shi ’s services, information from the web sites of Xing Kong Wei Shi and other members of the News Corp, news clippings on News Corp and the Asian satellite television industry will be checked. And author will ask for the statistics of audience rates of Xing Kong Wei Shi from the CVSC- Sofres Media (CSM), a leader of Television Audience Measurement in China..

A great number of trade magazines and publications will be consulted including Advertising Age, Asia-Pacific Broadcasting, Broadcasting & Cable International, Cable and Satellite Asia, Media, and Television Asia, Financial Times, Guardian Media, Broadcast, and other newspaper or magazines produced in the UK.

As a qualitative methodology is utilised, the majority of information for this study will be provided from contacts and interviews with the elite and researchers in both China and the UK. Interviewees will be:

Jamie Davis, the President of Star China. Jamie Davis worked as the General Manager of Xing Kong Weir Shi since its launch in 2002 and was promoted as the president of Star China after James Murdoch moved to the UK. He represents the official voice of Star and Xing Kong Wei Shi. The researcher has ever met and had a talk with him in China. Hoping a remote interview conducted by my colleagues in China going deep with him to get material of the vision of Xing Kong Wei Shi and his comment on the development of Xing Kong Wei Shi.The author is trying to get plans and their ideas on a foreign owned satellite TV from the management or “inside view”.

Zhu Hong, Official of China State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT). She is responsible for analysing the policies on foreign satellite TV and related issues. The researcher wants to determine the Chinese government’s concern on foreign media operating in China and reveal their policy making progress.

Wu Tao, the director of Croton Media Consultancy, a part of ZenithOptiMedia China; a veteran vice president of AHTV, a success Chinese provincial satellite TV station. He is very familiar with Chinese television industry from both sides, home and foreign. With interview with Wu Tao, researcher will get some ideas on foreign satellite TV channels development from the professional people in television industry and advertising industry.

Lu Lixing, a Chevening scholar and MSc Media Management student in the University of Stirling, worked for Shanghai Media Group (SMG) more than 5 years. Her opinion on the success of Xing Kong Wei Shi would be considered as the viewpoints from Chinese young generation of media professionals.

Yun Zhang, a senior advertising planner and a media consultant in Guangdong province, where Xing Kong Wei Shi can be received through cable networks. Interview with him will results the audience response of programmes that are broadcasted by Xing Kong Wei Shi, and more comparator between domestic satellite TVs and foreign TV channels, which are broadcasting in China.

If possible, researcher is going to have an interview with development manager of Pearson Plc. She will be an observer who is caring about the development of foreign TV operators in China. And get more concern of other foreign TV operators around the world that are waiting for chances to enter China.

Since the writer has been working in a competitor of Xing Kong Wei Shi, evidence from direct observation and participant-observation has been obtained. Physical artifacts in the form of television programs broadcast on the Xing Kong Wei Shi and Xing Kong Wei Shi channel have been reviewed.

Content analyses is the best way to undertake research on TV programmes,consequently, this method will be employed to examine the programmes strategy of Xing Kong Wei Shi, such as its localised theory in programming. This method can also be utilised for research on the marketing strategy of Xing Kong Wei Shi.

A well-designed questionnaire will be sent to about 50 advertisers in China, to investigate what impression Xing Kong Wei Shi gives to them. And researcher tries to analyse what the influence both in corporation identification and its programmes are.

3.2. Specific Procedures to be employed

Explanation-building technique is applied in this study so as to analyse the environment and reasons of the business development of Xing Kong Wei Shi. Moreover, the influence from the leadership of News Corp, parent company of Xing Kong Wei Shi, and a situational analysis using the concepts of SWOT (The SWOT approach tried to assess the organization’s strengths (S) and weaknesses (W) and analyse the opportunities (O) and threats (T) in the external environment.) adopted from strategic planning will be applied to get a thorough understanding of Xing Kong Wei Shi’s business decisions.

3.3. Reliability and Validity

To ensure the trustworthiness of this research, several measures were taken. Multiple sources of evidence were used in order to ensure the validity of the study. The procedures of conducting the study will be clearly documented so as to ensure the reliability. Because that the case is a pioneer in China, and with possible changes of policy on foreign satellite TVs, there is less validity unfortunately for this research.

4. Expectations

The author would research the case of Xing Kong Wei Shi in two different phrases: industry level and company level. Hopingly, the result of research on industry level would be benefit for the later comers around world, and more suggestions for Chinese media policy makers. The research of company level will reveal how Murdoch successes everywhere or what is the shortcoming in Murdoch enterprises. The research will leave more experiences and academic observe for other satellite TV players, no matter home or abroad.

In the globalization and information society today, as a pioneer, every effort it takes would be great useful for the development of satellite TV world wide.


References

ABU (Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union)(1995). Guidelines on the programme contents of international satellite television broadcasting in the Asia Pacific Region. ABU.

Albarran, A. (1996) Media Economics: Understanding Markets, Industries and Concepts, Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press

Albarran, A. B. & Chan-Olmsted, S. M. (1998). Global Media Economics: commercialization, concentration and integration of world media markets. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 

Alexander, A.et al (Eds). (1998) . Media Economics: Theory and Practice (2nd ed). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Amdur, M. (1995). Foreign Investors Smiling on Asia. Broadcasting & Cable International. Dec. P: 8-10  

Atkins, W. (1995). Friendly and useful: Rupert Murdoch and the politics of television in Southeast Asia, 1993-1995. Media International Australia, N.77, P: 54-64

Chan, J. (1994a). Media Internationalization in China: processes and tensions. Journal of Communication, V: 44, N: 3, P: 70-88.

Chan, J. (1994b). Accessibility and national response to Star TV in Asia. Journal of Communication, V: 44, N: 3, P: 112-133.

Chan, J. M. (1996). Television development in greater China: Structure, exports and market formation. In J. Sinclair et al. (Eds.), New patterns in global television: Peripheral vision (pp. 126-160). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chan, J. M. (2000). When capitalist and socialist television clash: The impact of Hong Kong TV on Guangzhou residents. In C. C. Lee (Ed.), Power, money, and media: Communication patterns and bureaucratic control in cultural China (pp. 245-270). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Chan, K. K. (1995). Information content of television advertising in China. International Journal of Advertising, 14, 365-373.

Chen, C. H. (1996). Localised operation of satellite television. Broadcast and Television, 2(3) (Jan 1996), 59-90.

Chen, P.H. (1998). The Political Economy of Cable Television: A case study of Taiwan’s Electronic Media in Transition. PHD dissertation. Pennsylvania State University.

Dai, Yirong (2002) What effect will China’s entry to the WTO have on the China’s broadcasting industry? How are Chinese and non-Chinese broadcasting companies preparing for this?  Unpublished Dissertation, Stirling University.

Doyle, Gillian (2002a) Understanding Media Economics, London: Sage Publications

Doyle, Gillian (2002b) Media Ownership, London: Sage Publications

Fortune (2003). Murdoch’s Prime Time.FeB.17. P.30-36

Gershon, R.A. (1993).  International deregulation and the rise of transnational media corporations. Journal of Media Economics, v.6, n.2, p: 3-22

Hastings, W.S. (1996). Foreign Ownership of Broadcasting. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, v.29: pp. 817-855

Lau, Y.Y. & Ang, P. (1998). The Pacific Rim. In Albarran, A. B. & Chan-Olmsted, S. M. (eds) Global media economics: commercialization, concentration and integration of world media markets. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 

Lee, P.S.N., and Wang, G. (1995). Satellite TV in Asia: Forming a new ecology. Telecommunications Policy 19(2): 135-49

Lehner, C.U.(1995). Foreign investment in Asian media – boon or bane? Media Asia, 22(4) : 210-214.

Lorien, H. (1999). China WTO deal: fuzzy picture. Far Eastern Economic Review, Dec2: 43-44.

Low, H. (1995). Cable television in China. Cable TV and Telecommunication Resource. Department of Radio-TV-Film, University of Texas at Austin.

Picard, R (1989). Media Economics: Concepts and Issues. London: Sage Publications.

Picard, R.(Ed) (2002). Media Firms: Structures, Operations and Performance. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Robertson, Roland. (1992) Globalization: Social theory and global culture. London: Sage,

Weeks, A. (1998). Broadcast Pioneers- a US company is helping usher in a new era of television programming in China. The China Business Review, May-June: 60-63.

Wildman, S. & Siwek, S. (1988). International Trade in Film and Television Programs. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.

Yin, R, (1994) Case Study Research :D esign and Methods(2nd ed)Thousand Oaks, California, Sage Publication

Xu, X. (1998). Asian values revisited in the context of intercultural news communication. Media Asia, 25: 37-41

 

Websites:

China State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) website: http://www.chinasarft.gov.cn/

Croton Media Consultancy,website: http://www.croton.com.cn/

CVSC- Sofres Media (CSM), website http://www.csm.com.cn/

Guardian Media Website: http:// media.guardian.co.uk

News Corp Website : http://www.newscorp.com

Star TV website: http://www.startv.com/

Xing Kong Wei Shi website: http://www.xingkong.com.cn

 

Introduction

From a speech given by the former BBC director general to a journalism symposium at Goldsmiths College, University of London , Greg Dyke said,”We are even more shocked to discover that the same group (Fox)wants to become a big player in the UK when UK radio is deregulated this year.” He warned the British media: “In the area of impartiality, as in many other areas, we must ensure that we don’t become Americanised.

But actually commercial pressures have tempted others to follow the American formula.No comment on politics,we are discussing this issue in media economics.Media economics is not so often researched compared with more research of media politics and culture.The economies of broadcasting focuses not only the nature of broadcasting markets but also the nature of government involvement in broadcasting markets.We are using in media economies terms to discuss what the British broadcasters can learn from the US television industry.

 

I think it is at least in four areas of broadcasting economies that the UK broadcasting industry with its smaller and deregulating broadcasting economies should learn from the US.

Networks

The television industry benefits a lot from natural economies of scale and scope. The logic of exploiting economies of scale creates an incentive to expand product sales into secondary external or overseas market. As market structures have been freed up and have become more competitive and international in outlook, the opportunities to exploit economies of scale and economies of scope have increased (Doyle, 2002:22).

 

Networking is a kind of economic structure for broadcasting service. A network is an arrangement whereby a number of local or regional television or radio stations are linked together for the purpose of creating and exploiting mutual benefits(Owen and Wildman,1992:206).In the US networks make some programming and control some local stations as well as distributing programmes to many more.

 

There is one network in the UK named as ITV while in the US there are four major networks,ABC,CBS,NBC,and Fox.Networking is also a critical concept in media industry in a fast-paced world in which cost and time pressures make it difficult for every firm to do everything well and to accept every job that it is offered.For some small regions,franchisees are not available to produce all programmes on their schedule,and can not make it as customers hope or need.

 

In economics term,there is economy of scale to prove that networking is a good way to structure media and make it work well for audience. Affiliated broadcasting(networks) can reach more viewers with more regional television stations and earn greater revenue,also can produce more expensive programming,while costing less per viewer.By this way, Television companies optimise their resource, gain economies of scale and enhance their control on programs and distribution channels but also reduce transaction cost and investment risks as well as improve efficiency. In this sense,the US television is better than the UK broadcasters.Economies of scope are generally defined as the economies available to firms large enough to engage efficiently in multi-product production and associated large-scale distribution, advertising and purchasing (Lipsey and Chrystal, 1995:880).

In the US, networks have some features such as the following: Firstly, in physical implementation, there is series of individual broadcast stations which hold spectrum sharing by geographic licensing. Secondly, in economics, for those common broadcasters, the marginal cost of delivering “public good”(uniformity of time and channels) is equal to $0.It is a kind of economies of scale. The common broadcasters also gain better negotiating power with advertisers as well as spreading the risk of programming failure. Thirdly, under regulations, a network also faces government control. In the US, the controller is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In the US, network retains most advertising spots while revenue sharing with affiliate (called “clearance”), and leaving station spots (adjacencies) on longer programs in schedule. Network affiliates gain some $600 million annually in return for carrying prime-time programmes supplied by the networks and they are allowed opportunities to sell some commercial airtime of their own to both national and local advertisers. (Dolye, 2002:71) This facilitates high profit margins for most local affiliates (Gapper, 1998:22)

Networks have a distribution monopoly. If they also had a production monopoly, then they could inhibit independent productionwhich in turn inhibits growth of new networks. By controlling program acquisition by affiliates, Networks would dry up supply of non-network programming. The FCC imposes limits on vertical integration of networks and program suppliers, also on amount of network programming affiliates can show, and limits how independent stations show syndicated network programming

As there is only one network in the UK, ITV, we need introduce one more or some national networks even European network to work for the competition of UK TV industry. It is the most important structure that the British broadcasters should learn from their US counterparts.

Advertisers Funded Broadcasting

Public service broadcasting in UK is facing challenge.

EVERYTHING is changing in British television: Public service broadcasters in UK are faced with declining budgets, audience fragmentation, and debate over their proper role, all at a time of rapid technological advance in distribution technology. In a short time the whole television system will switch from analogue to digital in Britain. Public service broadcasting in UK is facing challenge.

The public service broadcasting concept is to “inform, educate and entertain”. Although there is no standard definition of what public service broadcasting is exactly.

In the UK, the BBC is wholly funded by licence fee, and the ITV get some advertising time granted by the IBA to over a dozen commercial franchisees. Channel 4 has its own licence and the right to sell its own advertising time.

From the following chart, An Ofcom, Britain’s new media regulator, investigation shows that less than 50% of the audience are willing to pay a licence fee, mostly are young generation and middle classes. As time passes, more and more of the audience will reject to paying licence fees in future.

Chart 1:Support of the general idea of the licence fee in UK.Source:Ofcom


The programming and scheduling offered by the public service broadcasting in UK has dumped down gradually to some extent. If everything broadcast by a public service broadcaster can no longer necessarily be considered as public service broadcasting a policy regime which privileges public service broadcasters is more and more likely to come into question.

On July 17, 2003, the Communications Act became the law in UK. The key contents of the 2003 UK Communications Act include: Foreign companies to acquire British broadcasters, paves the way for a single ITV company; revised plans for ownership regulations for the radio industry and the creation of the Ofcom, the new super-regulator set to replace the existing five watchdogs for the media and telecom industries. Those are the means of the de-regulation on media ownership.

An evolving concept of public service broadcasting will not reject commercially funded channels, but will ensure that the regulation which restrains them is powerful and backed up by dynamic support for a diverse system.

Ofcom said in a report on public-service broadcasting that because of digital technology there will be less need in the future for television to be subsidised because the market will provide an ever wider variety of programming. The UK’s public service broadcasting is facing an economics issue of challenge of funding.

Advertising Models

Advertising is ubiquitous. In the 1990s,international deregulation of telecommunications brought about a great upsurge in advertising expenditure within this sector as new rivals emerged to compete with long-standing incumbents in the UK, across Europe and elsewhere. (Doyle, 2002:50)

The source of funds for broadcasting could be government subsidy, private advertising, or donations by the viewing public. Most of television, in the United States relies on people to watch commercials. Advertising pounds only come if you build the audience and that is happening less and less.

The special feature of advertiser supported television is that programmes are made available “free” to audiences, while those audiences are then sold on a “wholesale “basis to advertisers, from whom stations derive revenue. The whole process thus involves advertisers standing in an intermediate relation between consumers and television channels. This introduces a special system of incentives. (Cave, 1989:19)

Advertising funded broadcasting seeks audience size. The medium becomes a vehicle for business purposes, so the audience’s needs are only tangential. An advertising-driven media is a commercialised media. The station likely to take in consideration only audience size in choosing its programs.

In the first place there is the serious possibility that television’s share of advertising in the UK is becoming less dynamic and losing something of its dominant position in the advertiser’s world-view. One long-term advertising expenditure forecast, reported in the Financial Times, suggested that television’s share of advertising expenditure could drop from the 27.9% it took in 2001 to 24.5% in 2014. Some leading figures in the industry are predicting a serious shift in advertiser behaviour away from television.

But at the mean while, for everywhere licence fee funding is likely to decline relative to the volumes of advertising and subscription revenues arise with commercial broadcasters. The consultancy, Zenithmedia, estimated that European television advertising finance will rise by 50% in the decade between 1994 and 2004, and subscription finance is estimated to rise by a factor of 6 in the same period, that is, by 600%. No one expects licence fee finance to rise by such a proportion! Moreover, public service broadcasters’ share of broadcasting advertising expenditure has declined from 44% in 1990 to 28% in 1994. (Zenithmedia, 1995).

A slowing growth in overall TV advertising revenues could be combined with a declining share of these revenues for the public service broadcasters as the competition from new channels increases. ITV’s loss of both share of audience and share of commercial revenue in recent years has been startling. Its share of audience has dropped from 33% in 1997 to 24% last year, and its share of TV advertising from 65% to 54% in the same period.

Advertiser-funding broadcasting has operated very well since the birth of broadcasting in the US.Today,the US advertisers support the broadcasting to make high quality programmes to meet the audience need.Advertiser-funding is proved to be the most successful experience which most of countries are willing to learn from the US in de-regulation years,especially in European countries like Germany and France.In facing the challenge of Public Service Broadcasting,people are arguing about the future funding of BBC and other broadcasters in the UK.In the report of the independent review panel “The Future Funding of the BBC”(1999),researchers worried that how programmes quality will be ensured by the free market.I will discuss it in following part in which we can learn from US.

“Deficit-financing”

In the UK, broadcasters tend to pay all production costs, so that producers are not exposed to any financial risk, but in return broadcasters retain the majority of secondary rights (Dolye, 2002:82). Under the UK system, broadcasters who commission programmes from independent producers are prepared to cover the production budget in full and also to pay the programme-makers small up-front production fee or profit, usually of around 10 per cent of the total production budget. However, in return, the broadcaster acquires not only the primary rights (or first right to transmit the programme) but also, generally, the majority of secondary rights (e.g. for additional transmissions on domestic television, video distribution and overseas sales). (Doyle, 2002:82)

The deficit-financing model in the US contrasts sharply with the cost plus system, which prevails in the UK. The term deficit financing describes a system, prevalent in the US, where programme-makers share a portion of the financial risks involved in production in return for ownership of secondary and tertiary rights to their programmes (Litman, 1998:140)

“Deficit Financing” and “Syndication” are intrinsically related. Without syndication dollars, there is no deficit financing. The system works by production companies pitching their ideas for development to the networks. When a project is given the green light, the studio puts up some, but not all, of the money for the number of episodes it orders. In exchange, the network receives the exclusive right to air that show for a period of time. After that time, the production company is free to shop the show around elsewhere. They MUST be able to sell the show for future airings because they have not even made enough money from the network to cover their costs. The gap between what the network pays and what it cost for production is the deficit.

The vertical supply chain in the television industry involves program production, then programs sold to service packagers to assemble television schedules and finally the packages are distributed onwards to television viewers by broadcasters. Broadcaster themselves are service packagers, but separate intermediaries, such as networks also act as service packagers including major US networks. The distribution phase for broadcast television can sometimes be broken into more than one stage (Doyle, 2002b: 74).

Therefore, one advantage of deficit financing is to maximise revenues, manage capacity more efficiently and gaining more control over the television market, especially the important upstream (content production) and downstream phases (distribution) in the vertical supply chain. Meanwhile, the television content producers can achieve the goal of reducing the per-viewer production costs by selling their programs to as many audiences as possible through vertical integration with more distribution channels (broadcasters) as to secondary and tertiary market.

UK television production needs such ways to fund their production and distribution as deficit financing, but with precondition of network of television industry structure.

International Trade of Programmes

Television has always been traded. It would be fair to say, however, that for a good part of the history of television there was what Nordenstreng and Varis called ‘a one-way street’ in television exports – from the United States and to a lesser extent the Great Britain, to the rest of the world.

Obviously, the US producers in international audiovisual trade are in predominant position in global markets. The US suppliers also occupy a leading position as exporters of regular television content. (Doyle, 2002:90) Now the audio and visual products are the second sales of the United States in its world trade. Also the reason for its “one way street” trade can be explained in three aspects: for the reason of its domestic market is nearly saturation. As mean while a worldwide television product market merged for the popular of television in most countries. And last reason is that US television producers benefit from the fact that English is an international language.

International dumping further complicates the analysis, for that is the effect of foreign producers selling their programs at prices far below their costs of production – at marginal costs rather than average costs.

Because audiences tend to prefer television programs with larger amounts of production investment (Waterman, 1988), it is less likely that programs produced in the smaller markets with lower investments in audiovisual production will flow into the larger ones.

But actually the reason for the international market of the US television industry is that market reconstructing. Every reconstruction of networks will bring much more development of its international marketing. It also proves that the UK needs much more reform of its industry structure to meet the more profit of international audio and visual market with strong accent of English language.

Conclusion:

In the coming changing years, with the impact of technology and deregulation, the UK television industry should find its new model to develop and serve the audience better. In 2006,the UK should have new a funding charter for the BBC.In 2015;the UK will enter into a wholly digital television era. With these changes learning more lessons from the US is a great thinking angle-modelling in media economics is an efficient way of doing this. Economy of scale and scope, and good allocation of the resources of television media is what we have discussed in this paper.

The “Networks structure” of broadcasting is a fundamental challenge for the UK’s nearly hundred years old tradition of public service. It is also a precondition for the UK to learn much more of the mechanism of television broadcasting, producing and distribution in its vertical supply chain within the UK.

The advertiser-funded broadcasting system is seen as a declining way for media companies to collect money but it is still very health mechanism for coming decades despite of challenge of Pay TV as the audience are likely to welcome the system which is “free” for them.

Deficit-financing in television production and international trade in programmes are also main issues that the UK can learn from the US television industry.

 

References:

Curran, J and Seaton, J. (1991) Power Without Responsibility, 4th Edition, Routledge: London

Cave, Martin (1989)”An Introduction to television economics”, in Gordon Hughes, David Vines, (eds), Deregulation and the Future of Commercial Television, Aberdeen University Press, Aberdeen, pp9-37

Doyle, Gillian, (2002), Understanding Media Economics, and SAGE: London

Gaper ,J. (1998),”America’s networks take a stern look at prospects”, Financial Times, 6 April: 22

Jensen, Klaus Bruhn and Jankowsky, Nicholas W. (1991) A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research, Routledge: London

Litman, B. (1998)”The economics of television networks: new dimensions and new alliances”, in A. Alexander et al. (eds), Media Economics: Theory and Practice, 2nd edn, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlaum Associates.pp.131-50.

Owen, B and Wildman, S. (1992), Video Economics, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Waterman, D. (1988). World television trade. Telecommunications Policy, 12(2), 131-151.

http://foi.missouri.edu/jourwarcoverage/wemustnot.html

我们现在说电视产业化,各地电视台也在努力抓收入,搞公司化。但是真正研究过电视经济学的似乎很少,在电视台内部就更少了。

 

我想结合我在英国学习传媒经济学和在国内省级卫视做过一段时间的经历谈一些粗浅的关于中国卫星电视的经济学问题,希望透过这些言论引起各方的关注,实现中国电视产业的正常有序发展。

 

说经济学,大家不要害怕,不要以为是一个很大的题目。其实经济学就是在讨论资源的最优化配置问题。只要时刻想到这个问题,经济学这个词就可以变得平易近人一些。

 

应该说传媒是个新鲜事物,尽管报业有着几百年的历史,然而在我们观察传媒的主要理论时,发现都是近百年时间里的研究成果。而当我们讨论传媒经济学时,这个历史就更近了,主要的传媒经济学家,皮卡德,阿尔巴然,等都健在,更不必说我的老师吉莉·道尔博士了,她只是个年轻人。所以国内摸着石头过河的电视台台长们可以松一口气了。

 

但是,综观国外传媒经济学的主要论点,除了一些基本和传统的话题外,一些崭新的课题确确实实地放在我们现在国内的各位电视台台长面前,也放在全球各大媒体的主管面前。三网合一,数字化,交互式传播等等。中国传媒,尤其是电视业的发展,能否在实践中杀出一条血路,甚至能为世界传媒提供经验,成为摆在国际同行面前的一个活生生的案例,是本文撰写的初衷。

 

本文将试着从中国卫星电视的产品说起,讨论目前国内电视业的秩序问题,然后讨论如何做强做大的经济学问题,以及对未来电视业发展的一些假设作出判断。

 

卫星电视产品:商品性和公共性

 

首先,让我们看看电视产品的性质,这是我们讨论的核心问题。

 

经济学必然要讨论到我们的实实在在的产生经济动力的产品。作为一个经济组织的媒体,他究竟生产的是什么呢?

 

有人认为电视台生产的是时间,有的人认为是观众,有的人认为是信息,有的人认为是节目。那么电视台生产的是什么呢?我不想参与辩论,只想提出一些在这个领域内比较公认的理论。

 

根据皮卡德的定义,电视广播的产品发生在所谓的“双重产品”市场中,(Picard, 1989:17)它的第一个产品 是其播出的节目,第二个产品自然是其观众(Doyle,2002:60,这个观众指观看其节目的那部份。

 

节目播出这个产品具有“公共商品”的性质(Owen and Wildman, 1992:23-4)。公共商品的特征是不会因为增加或减少观众 而被消耗或浪费。当然如果它的观众无限增多,其产品的边际成本可以为零。

 

基于 对公共商品的认识,在欧洲对电视传媒普遍采用公共广播理论(PSB), 有的人也称其为“力思主义”,得名于倡导此思想的BBC首位总裁。当然这个理念在当今的欧洲社会中也普遍受到挑战,BBC更是首当其冲,不断因为PSB而经受各种事件的冲击和影响。

 

我个人也是这样看待卫星电视广播的产品的,我国卫星电视的第一产品是其节目的播出,(programmes service)该产品的成功往往能决定一个电视台的命运。湖南卫视的娱乐节目,因其盛而盛,因其衰而衰。在这个产品的生产上,安徽卫视的电视剧大卖场或者说其电视剧的编排播出是非常理想的,他们生产了非常好的产品。作为电视台,它是广播者,它的主要任务就是包装并编排播出节目,从这个意义上讲,安徽卫视的电视剧编排播出这个产品做得非常好。作为一个企业,它如何对自己的产品质量进行控制,如何提升自己产品的竞争力,从某种程度上反映了这个企业的管理能力,这就是传媒管理的实际应用了。

 

作为双重产品中的另一个是观众。我们也可以说是“眼球”。这个产品毫无疑问的受到目前许多电视台的重视,抓覆盖率,提高收视率都反映出了这个产品在电视台台长心目中的重要性。在我国,此项产品做得最好的是中央电视台(CCTV)。它的覆盖率是全国最高的,它的春节联欢晚会和新闻联播是收视率最高的节目。国内一些电视台的节目制播能力受到制约,但他们的观众这个产品却生产得很好,典型的例子是贵州卫视。贵州卫视勤抓覆盖,每年的美兰德全国卫星电视覆盖率调查中,它的排名都非常靠前,而它独具特色的有奖收视活动,及利用一些事件进行事件营销的吸引观众的活动也得到全国同行的赞许。贵州卫视在经营观众这个产品方面走在全国卫星电视的前列。而那些新兴的讲粤语,讲闽南语的卫视,则真的不知道他们在经营什么样的产品,如果说是宣传工具,又何苦要让这些政策水平掌握并不能达到权威水平的电视台去经营呢?这实在是有违经济学原理的错误行为。

 

不是每种商业或者产品都是拿来经营的。这在中国更是得到认可。纵然是产品,特别是电视,它也会出现所谓的“市场失灵”,西方发达国家已经普遍意识到了这个问题。这个理论对我们提了个醒,象中央电视台这样的媒体,由于其国家电视台的身份,由于 其靠行政命令所获得的观众 产品的垄断,就更不应该进入市场,不应该利用这些不公平的条件来开展经营。近些年来,中央电视台在疯狂地利用其对观众 产品的优势进行贩卖。每年的招标就是对“观众”这个产品的血腥掠夺,如果用这个收入去提升其第一产品节目播出的话,观众也许没有什么意见,可是现在呢?观众对中央电视台怨声载道,这就足以说明央视这个媒体对观众的掠夺已经引起了众怒,而他们却没有看到。这种利用经济手段疯狂掠夺,迟早是要还回去的。连续多少个月的高速增长并不能牵强地与中国经济增长挂在一起。只是充分说明央视在掠夺上,圈地上的动作是如何的狂野。

 

说到这里,我们抛开经济学,要讨论一个传媒自身的问题,谁是中国的公共电视?目前各级电视台都在办所谓的“公共频道”,这些频道谈不上什么公共电视的概念,充其量只是一个让上情下达的不得已或者说多余的通道而已。肩负反映民情民意,寓教于乐,打造公民道德规范职责从来就没有通过它们实现。这与西方发达国家的公共电视形成鲜明对照。当然我们的台长会说,我们所有的电视频道都是公共电视,因为它们都在担负宣传任务,都是党的喉舌。可是现在每个频道都在拼创收,拼收视率,这也难怪央视新闻频道会出现“竞猜人质死亡人数”的不道德的严重播出事故了。

 

我认为,解决这个问题的办法是对中央电视台实施大的变革,CCTV应该成为BBCNHK那样不播广告的电视台。它的频道可以保留,综合,新闻,经济,法制,儿童,戏曲,国际频道。其它频道应该拆分成为新的全国性电视台。只有这样才能形成中国电视经济正常的市场秩序,才有利于全国卫星电视的有序竞争和发展,只有把运动员和裁判员真正地分开,才能将中国电视事业向产业方向进一步地推动发展。

 

我们需要用我们的智慧来定义电视产品的商品属性和公共属性,我们只有在传媒法规和传媒所有制方面作出有效的政府管制,形成有章可循,有游戏规则的市场,这里面的竞争者才能真正按照自己的能力得到有效的发展。这里不能生存的媒体才能退出或者与其它媒体发生合并重组。中国电视业这盘棋才真正能走活。

 

接下来,我将要从经济学的角度探讨传媒企业的扩张和集中问题。(未完待续)

 

参考文献:

 

Doyle, Gillian, (2000)“The economics of monomedia and cross-media expansion” Journal of Cultural Economics,24”1-26

 

Owen and Wildman, (1992) Video Economics, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

 

Picard, R (1989) Media Economics: Concepts and Issues, London, Sage