Wednesday, June 21, 2006

co-opting consumers of color

You’d think that as media conglomerates have recognized the money to be made by catering to racial and ethnic communities, that media products might grow more diverse. But just the opposite, reports Makani Themba-Nixon in the last issue of the Nation:

"Flagship properties that were once trumpeted as success stories in black ownership--BET and Essence magazine--have become little more than shadows of their parent companies. The outlets' makeovers were designed to garner greater "synergy" and brand recognition for their corporate masters. As a result, BET looks more and more like VH1, complete with dog-eat-dog "reality" shows, cloying countdown lists and decade retrospectives that work to remake history--even black history--into trivia."

Many say media titans have been homogenizing their products and thus culture around the world for several decades now. The fact that it took them so long to recognize the value of BET and Essence audiences is perhaps more surprising than the bland culture-lite products they're now serving up for those same audiences.

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