Television plays a significant role of in people’s daily life in modern society. “Some 98 percent of households in Britain own at least one television set and 53 percent own two or more, that figure rising to 65 percent for families with children.”(Abercrombie and Warde: 368) There are 1.1 billion regular viewers and 317 million television sets in China in 2003, which has the world’s largest television system. (Zhao and Guo: 521) The mass media including television are “the main means through which the citizens of a nation become informed about the issues of the day, and can have access to reasoned debate about them, and hence the media institutions are an important part of the democratic process itself.” (Abercrombie and Warde: 369) This is probably the reason that the governments always pay a great deal of attention on it. The relationship between the government and the media varies from country to country. BBC is the most important broadcasting company in UK and CCTV has the same importance in China. The TV advertising nowadays is the most important way of advertising. It is taking a great advantage of the TV broadcasting. This essay will mainly compare the two TV broadcasting companies: BBC and CCTV and discuss their relationships with the governments, and compare TV advertising in two countries.
â…¡ The differences in the TV Industries in UK and China
2.1 BBC and CCTV and the roles of governments
BBC is the most important broadcasting company in UK and it dominates a large piece of the kingdom of British media. CCTV has a similar influence among the whole China. The following introductions of BBC and CCTV are the latest brief introduction on their websites:
“The BBC is the largest broadcasting organisation in the world. Its mission is to enrich people’s lives with programmes that inform, educate and entertain. It is a public service broadcaster, established by a Royal Charter and funded by the licence fee that is paid by UK households. The BBC uses the income from the licence fee to provide services including 8 national TV channels plus regional programming, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations and an extensive website. BBC World Service broadcasts to the world on radio, on TV and online, providing news and information in 32 languages. It is funded by a government grant, not from the licence fee. The BBC also has a commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. Its profits are returned to the BBC for investment in new programming and services.” (BBC)
“China Central Television (CCTV) is the national TV station of the People’s Republic of China and it is one of China’s most important news broadcast companies. Today, CCTV has become one of China’s most influential media outlets. In addition to its TV programs, CCTV has also built up a multi-media broadcasting platform and business operation, which includes movies, newspapers and the internet. CCTV is the main news source for the Chinese people. It is also an important window for Chinese to learn about the outside world, and for the world to find out more about China. CCTV is making efforts to become a global media network with increased international influence.”(CCTV)
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From the introduction: “It is a public service broadcaster, established by a Royal Charter and funded by the licence fee that is paid by UK households”, we get to know that even though the British government has certain influence on BBC, it is an independent company without governmental controlling. On the contrast, even though CCTV is funded by its own profit, as itself claims that it is the national TV station of China, basically is the representative of the Chinese government.
The Chinese government supervises the content that media broadcast in three ways: “supervise in the front-end”, “supervise in the middle-end” and “supervise in the back-end”. The “supervise in the front-end” means direct control of the admittance of the media and their related industries, the “supervise in the middle-end” means the government controls the rights of final judgment and broadcasting of the content that media wish to broadcast, and the “supervise in the back-end” means the government has the right to punish those behaviours of the media which violate the laws and rules and damage the interests of China. (Zhou, 36) The “policies governing foreign joint ventures” are fluctuating because Chinese authorities associate media with the notion of “cultural security”. (Wang, J., 248) Those “financial and economic news” channels and stations are open to transactional since the “financial and economic news” is considered “safe content”. (Wang, J., 249)
On the other hand, as Zhao and Guo point out that: “The Chinese television industry is characterized by a unique for of state monopoly capitalism: commercialized operations organized into a hierarchical structure of administrative monopoly.”(Zhao and Guo, 527) Seeing through the real situation of the brew, birth and development of the media groups in China, the government is playing the role of giving directions to the market instead of replacing the market. (Zhou, 27)
In Britain, the television is “an alternative method of financing public broadcasting and that method itself has depended on the creation of tightly held monopolies for the sale of advertising and programme production”. (Murdoch, 38) Murdoch also claimed that the competition of the television give the freedom to customers to decide which they want to buy while the monopoly or duopoly forces them to take whatever the sellers puts on offer. “The current British system encourages creative risk taking, and that a market-led system would not fund all manner of excellent programming currently on show.”(ibid) Briggs pointed out that for many years, “British broadcasting had been able successfully to create, without alienating Government or the public, interesting and exciting popular network programmes from the world of reality as well as the world of fantasy—programmes on the arts and sciences, international reportage, political controversy, social enquiry, local investigation.” (Briggs, 52) At the same time, a Board of Governors which is appointed by the government regulated BBC and entrusted to defend the independence of BBC from outside pressures, both political and economic. (BBC, 132) BBC also argued that the agreement between the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and they recognised their independence in relation to the content and scheduling of its programmes and the management of its affairs, but specifies the services and standards require of the BBC. (BBC, 134)
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As we mentioned before: mass media including television are “the main means through which the citizens of a nation become informed about the issues of the day, and can have access to reasoned debate about them, and hence the media institutions are an important part of the democratic process itself.” (Abercrombie and Warde: 369) Every government will definitely pay serious attention on the information the media are delivering to the public.
2.2 The TV advertising in two countries
Advertisement is a responsible information broadcast activity is paid by advertisers. They carry some particular messages and they are displayed on public media in order to achieve certain purposes. Specifically, advertisement is a publicity campaign made to introduce products to the public, report content of services or for entertainment. The globalization of the world economy has made the cross culture advertising broadcast come into being. The television is the most important influential advertising method among all the media in China. (Wang, J., 248) TV advertising apparently has the same influence in Britain. “The nature of television advertising today is the product of numerous factors.” (Dickason, 7) Talking about the British television advertising, Dickason said that “the financial interests of advertisers and the consumerist pressures have been experienced and being felt in various degrees and, in different ways, the concerns and preoccupations of government and its constituent ministries can be more or less easily observed and identified.”(ibid)
Since CCTV is the national TV station of China, it has a lot of priorities than the other provincial TV stations. “We can gain insight into CCTV’s “monopoly game” by examining its prime-time advertising auctions and by appraising various countermeasures adopted by provincial satellite stations of offset such a monopoly.”(Wang, J., 247) The TV dramas are so great and significant advertisements carriers: the income brought by the advertisements in the new series and reruns was about 22billioan yuan RMB in 2003 since watching TV drama in the evening is a favourite national way of passing the time. (ibid) Statistics provided an excellent explanation of why TV is considered the most effective profit-making vehicle for advertising and those numbers “indicate that a client’s ad spending rests primarily on the appeal of a station’ drama menu”. (Wang, J. 279) There also exist certain problems. ” The constrains on programming carry important repercussions or Chinese advertising, because the media peddle content to advertisers, whose ultimate goal is to match target segments with media segments.” (ibid) For instance, television had a really tough time in developing “sophisticated sponsorship relations with advertisers and taking lead in attracting advertising dollars unless it has premium programs”. (Wang, J., 251)
On the British side, the advertisements also play a significant part in fulfilling people’s television time. “The treatment of such subjective notions undoubtedly gives an insight into the way in which the British television viewer was expected to situate himself and to react with regard to society and social phenomena.”(Dickason, 7)The government of the day set a control which is ‘at arm’s length’ to British commercial television, and it has been closely regulated from the outset. (ibid) According to what Dickason said, “Television advertising, in fact, is broadly required to obey the same rules as television programmes, in such matters as taste and decency and portrayal and protection of vulnerable sections of the community.”(ibid) The content of the British TV advertisement is influenced by “exhibits numerous international if not universal techniques and concepts, from myths and symbolism through to semiology, synaesthesia and the general appeal to human emotions”. (Dicason, 159) And in his view, advertisements have different perspectives: they are brilliant at creating new solutions and they are adept at creating new demands, while the products and services they are promoting may prove acceptable and even essential or be rejected as the culture evolves. (Dicason, 3)
Television is not only a technique to enrich people’s life but also a culture created by human beings and it influences people’s daily life at the same time. Being the most important method that the public use to receive different information throughout the world, it attracts the attention not only from the ordinary people who are looking for entertainment but people or organisations with distinguish perspectives, such as the advertisers who are promoting certain products and the governments which are always serious about what their people know and thinking about their countries. The situations vary from country to country since television is such a culture that different from all the countries’ background cultures. The broadcasting companies, to some extent are quite under pressure. Some of them are totally under the control of the governments, especially on the news and education, such as China Central Television. BBC on the contrast, even though was established under a Royal Chapter, it is an independent broadcasting companies. Being the best method of advertising, the television acts really actively in this area. Since television is a national way of killing time, the programmes on TV such as TV dramas are naturally the best vehicles of advertising. The culture of television nowadays is flourishing and the advertisers are creating new thoughts for their promoting.
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