Posts Tagged ‘World Series’

Christmas Tunes, an intentional time warp or just merry messages from yesterday’s Golden age of Radio and TV?

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I can’t remember where I heard this season’s “first” Christmas pop song. But like hearing the first birds of spring, suddenly there it was blaring from some outdoor mall or airport …and before the World Series was even over! So why is it that songs about a reindeer’s red nose, silver bells, or a dream of a white Christmas fill our ears year after year (whether we like it or not)? I love these songs and I have fond memories of these songs as a kid. I’d just prefer to remember them from a time where I was butchering them in a school play or caroling door to door, rather than hearing them in these public places.

Christmas classics like Drummer BoyRudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Silver Bells, and Blue Christmas have been playing in retail stores, gas stations, hotel lobbies and over the radio waves for more than 60 years. Recently, these songs and many other holiday pop classics were highlighted in a popular web comic strip XKCD. The illustration points out that many of these songs, as well as other Christmas blue chip classics, were published and recorded around the 1940s and 1950s. Hint, it’s the baby boomers that we have to thank for keeping these songs in the mainstream for so many years.

Eric Harvey, a PhD candidate in Indiana University’s Department of Communication and Culture claims during a very specific time in American history (1940s and 1950s), culture and technology played a big role in the release of many of these holiday classics. During that time millions of young baby boomers were enjoying holiday films like Bob Hope’s the Lemon Drop Kid which gave us Silver Bells, and Bing Crosby’s Holiday Inn where he famously croons as a WWII soldier returning home with “I’ll be home for Christmas.” In the late 40s radio began to converge with TV and it was commonplace for families to be huddled around their living rooms enjoying holiday musicals, the songs forever etching memories of Christmas past in their minds.

With over 76 million babies born between 1945 and 1964 (who today make up more than half of all consumer spending in the US), it’s no surprise these songs are being used intentionally by retailers to recreate Christmas past and market to today’s multigenerational audiences – hopefully stimulating spending around the holiday season.

Harvey also points out, however, that “While it’s true that the majority of Christmas pop music played on mainstream radio stations was originally published and recorded in the 1940s and 50s, and naturally the culture of that time will permeate these songs, that does not directly equate to a modern nostalgia for that era.” In other words, what if you’re not a baby boomer? What if you didn’t see the movies, the TV show or are just too young to identify with these songs?

With the sheer repetition of these songs being played during today’s stressful holiday seasons, will these songs eventually condition us to equate them with long lines, holiday traffic or the dreaded visit from you’re annoying brother-in law? Very doubtful. After all, every generation has their favorite Christmas songs, and with today’s limitless choices and devices to hear them, it’s sure to be a Rockin’ Holiday Season for all generations! My personal favorites are Father Christmas by The Kinks, Greg Lake’s Do You Believe in Father Christmas? and Joan Jett’s Little Drummer Boy. What are yours?

Happy Holidays from all of us here at BurrellesLuce!!

Landmark Entertainment Deals Ring in the New Year

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Champagne bottle ready for celebrationThe drama that unfolded in the media and entertainment world the last week of 2009 and the first week of 2010 marks just the beginning of what should be a very interesting year. Entertainment content providers, mainly the networks and movie studios and subscription based services that distribute their content (e.g., pay-cable providers and DVD retailers) begin a year that may well be filled with much wheeling and dealing:

News Corp, Fox Networks parent company, and Time Warner struck a deal at the eleventh hour on Dec 31, settling a retransmission fee dispute that has been raging for months. Fox threatened to force cable TV providers Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse Network to drop their broadcast signal which would have prevented over 6 million cable subscribers from watching their programming including: NFL games, college football’s Sugar Bowl, and America’s most watched TV series, American Idol. The thought of having live sports blacked out on New Year’s Day, especially college football, was unimaginable to me in the not so distant past.

Early last week Warner Brothers struck a deal ending a spirited dispute with Netflix that began in August 2009. Warner Brothers requested that Netflix wait 28 days before releasing movies on their rental service so Warner Brothers could realize higher DVD sales. (On average 75 percent of total  DVD sales occur in the first month of the release.) In exchange, Warner Brothers has agreed to make more of their titles available on Netflix streaming service.

The News Corp. Time Warner deal is sure to precede several others coming from rival network providers CBS, ABC-Disney, and NBC looking to increase their fees.  And the Warner Brothers Netflix deal should set a precedent for other studios to restructure current and future deals with DVD retailers.

Not all of these disputes ended happily, however. Scripps Network actually pulled the plug on the Food Network and HGTV affecting 3.1 million Cablevision subscribers after the two sides failed to reach an agreement over fees.

With executives unsure about how to monetize their web content or how they will adapt to multiple devices and platforms – the one thing they seem pretty certain of these days is that they are the ones producing the fuel that keeps this machine moving. Or Maybe we just took our entertainment for granted over the years and expected it to be within our constitutional rights to turn on channel 2 (CBS-New York) to watch the World Series or channel 5 (Fox-New York) to watch the Family Guy at no additional charge. We never thought twice about paying for a movie, whether at the box office, rental fees, or DVD purchases. And since its inception, we’ve always paid a premium for cable programming.

So maybe it’s time we view all content as equals regardless of whether we’re being entertained by Peter Griffin (Family Guy), George Clooney, or Derek Jeter. I would just like to watch what I want when I want – and for that I’m willing to pay a little more.

How are these recent negotiations affecting your PR and marketing efforts? On a personal level, are you willing to pay more for content if it means you get to access your favorite shows? Share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.