Reality TV Shows And Politics In Hong Kong TV Industry Research Papers Examples
This research paper mainly focuses on reality television shows and the politics behind the television industry in Hong Kong. The paper will discuss several aspects of reality shows and the politics behind them. The paper will first, look at the reason why people in Hong Kong choose to watch reality shows from one channel over other channels in the past ten years. Secondly, the paper will focus on how television companies in Hong Kong choose to support different political stances and how their productions of reality shows are involved in politics. Thirdly, how the reality shows change in Hong Kong and how these changes affect the public.
Hong Kong reality shows and the politics are chosen as the topic because the author was raised in an environment where he was greatly influenced by the television channels in Hong Kong, and noticed the relationship between reality TV shows and the politics that controls the media in the city. The author has studied some key factors that affect the manipulation of reality shows by the Hong Kong government. The project will hence look at the manipulation experienced over the years and the role the government has played. The author was able to discover some internal information about the production of a reality show from an insider as his sister is working as an actress for a Hong Kong television company. In order to further understand the systems about the reality shows and their relationship with the politics in Hong Kong, this paper will explain about the basics of the television companies. There are several television companies operating in Hong Kong society, two of them provide free channels to the public and two of them require consumers to pay for that. Although there are choices for the people in Hong Kong to watch different television channels based on their habit, however, a serious issue is now happening in Hong Kong television industry, which a phenomenon of hegemony occurs in Hong Kong television industry as one of these television companies dominate over eighty percent of consumers in Hong Kong.
In the reading Reality Talent Shows in China Transnational Format, Affective Engagement, and the Chinese Dream by Ling Yang, Yang discusses about the politics and the reality shows in China. He explains that there is a very strict regulation against reality shows in China by the Chinese government. He writes, “In a country where telling the truth from a lie, genuine from fake, has been a basic survival skill, viewers may have other agendas on their minds when watching a reality show.” As audience may have known about how “real” the shows are because they understand how much the government has involved in the reality shows, they are not surprised to find that the shows are all fake. It is sad but true that most reality shows in China are just political games to manipulate the audiences. In a communist country, people do not have a choice to choose what they want to see and what not. Yang goes on to discuss about the popular reality show China’s Got Talent, “As far as some China’s Got Talent viewers are concerned, all they care about is getting some fun out of the show. I once found the following wry response by a viewer to an exposé of producers’ manipulation: ‘It is just a show, not fake cooking oil.’ Even though the show is making up stories, no one will be seriously hurt.” This exactly shows how people do not have a high expectation toward how real the shows are because even cooking oil could be fake in China.
This reading exactly supports my research paper about how the reality shows in Hong Kong are being manipulated by the Hong Kong government under the control of China. Audiences in Hong Kong are losing their trust toward the reality shows because they start to realize how political involved the shows are. It is not surprising to find fake products in China but it is still somehow shocking to realize how Chinese media manipulation is getting into the democratic Hong Kong. This reading helps to prove the manipulation and consequences of the reality shows in China because it is taking over Hong Kong as well nowadays. As I talk about how the new company HKTV is banned from being licensed, it was shocking to find how the democratic Hong Kong government is using its power to manipulate HKTV from airing its politically involving reality shows. The reading goes on with the government involvement in the media, Yang writes, “In October 2011, SARFT issued a new “opinion” about the programming management of provincial satellite television channels for the benign purpose of preventing over-entertaining content and the pull toward homogeneity in television programming. A key point of this latest directive, which came into effect on January 1, 2012, was to increase the broadcasting time of news and documentary while limiting the airing time and total number of reality shows, variety shows, and talk shows.” This is similar to how Hong Kong government works toward the Hong Kong TV companies but Hong Kong government is doing it with other excuses because they need to maintain their name of democracy. Yang also talks about how each province are different. “Each provincial satellite television station is also required to offer a program that promotes traditional ethics and socialist core values (Gou and Liu, 2011). For example, SARFT banned Hunan TV from hosting any ‘mass selecting’ talent contest.” This reading is relating to my topic about reality shows in Hong Kong being controlled by the China government.
In another reading Introduction by Laurie Ouellette and Susan Murray, It discusses about The Big Donor Show which was aired by the Dutch public television network BNN. It is a reality show about a 37 year old dying woman who agrees to donate her kidney to one of the contestants. She has a brain tumor and she will choose a contestant by watching interviews with the contestants’ families and by interacting with the audiences for opinions. Audiences can vote their choice of contestant through text message. Different from what it talks about reality shows in China in Reality Talent Shows in China Transnational Format, Affective Engagement, and the Chinese Dream, which states that the government generates the reality shows from performing any voting element by the audience, the Dutch reality shows are allowed to include audiences voting session. However, The Big Donor Show was banned for another reason. The production company Endemol revealed that the reality show wasn’t really a “reality” as the dying woman was actually an actress and the contestants were in on the hoax.
This reading helps to explain the pros and cons about generating the content of a reality show in a certain level. Although Dutch government is not manipulating the reality shows like China does, it still shows some regulation towards the reality shows by the government. The government in china takes advantage of the free to air channels that are preferred by most residents to dictate what should be aired, when to be aired and how it should be done.
A larger percentage of Hong Kong audience watches the free to air channels which are controlled by the government. This hence implies that the government has a lot of influence in determining what should be aired, at what particular time and in a certain way. In as much as a media station will want to air a real reality show to the audience, the same has to go through the scrutiny of the government just to ensure it does not display it on the wrong. As the program goes through such scrutiny, representatives from the government may require that a certain part be removed or rather edited. By the time the program is aired as a reality show, it has gone through a lot of scrutiny and editing and hence defeating its purpose of being reality. People will therefore watch the program thinking that it displays every detail of its original copy, when there is a lot of information missing. The audience is therefore duped into thinking that they are getting the events, just as it happened when in the real sense they are watching it as any other program that goes through editing.
The nature of the television industry in Hong Kong also makes it difficult even for the pay stations to air real shows. As a matter of fact, it takes many parties to make up a television industry. A television company cannot just be run by individual people who participate in everything. As a matter of fact, the real stakeholder of the television company mainly supervises the content that is aired. Most television companies are in for business and will therefore do all they can, to ensure that the content being aired is promoting their business interests and not otherwise (Gunthe, & Anthony 83). Considering the many people that are involved in making content, it may never be possible for the content to be presented just as it is. The politics in the leadership structure of such televisions minimizes on the type of content that will be aired. A person who is involved in airing the reality television could in fact be an employee of the television company and therefore obliged to deliver content that is in the interests of the company and the individuals who run it.
Viewers in Hong Kong are usually duped to think that the person hosting the reality show is actually the owner. The truth of the matter is that he has only been employed to host the reality show and in most cases, given a guideline on what needs to be said and the various topics of discussion. Even if the show is hosted in its real form, it does not present the exact views of the host or even the audience. For instance, the reality tv show ‘Sze U Tonight’ has received sharp criticisms of being a Carbon Copy of America’s Tonight Show. This is because the host has been given specific guidelines on how to go about with the show, which he or she communicates to the audience. Just because the show is live and includes a life audience discussing about real issues does not mean that it is a reality show. Everything about the program is coached and hence distinguishing it from being a reality show. What the viewers don’t know is that the host and in most cases, the audience is coached on how to behave and even present their issues. With the guidelines being observed, it remains clear that the show is not as real as it is presented to the audience.
Apart from the national political issues of the government, there are also other leadership politics in the television companies that minimize on the type of content that has to be aired. The word ‘reality tv shows’ has been misused in the in Hong Kong media industry by not displaying what is expected. Even though some of the people that are ardent fans of the television shows understand the kind of editing that take place, others are still in the dark, thinking that what is being presented is as it is on the ground. One of the ways through which hog Kong television channels generate their income is through advertisement. In fact, advertisement accounts for the biggest percentage of revenue on television companies in China. The bigger the audience of a television station, the higher the chances of being considered for advertisements. Some of the factors that determine the size of the audience are the kind of content being aired on the screen. It is hence clear that there are many more factors that are considered by a television channel before airing a certain show, whether reality or not. There are more people the television industry whose interests have to be considered and therefore affecting the kind of content being aired.
Looking at the various parties and stakeholders that are involved in determining the kind of content being aired in Hong Kong, we realize that there will always be a conflict of interests. It will hence take a number of people not to have their interests being met, just to meet the requirements of the winning team. For instance, in most cases, politics in Hong Kong will have to win every argument in terms of the kind of content that has to be aired on television. This is because of the implications that are likely to face the producers if some guidelines are not met. The government of China is the highest body of leadership, whose consequences may be dire, if the television channel does not comply. In as much as a television channel can ignore the interests of the government and serve its own or that of the audience, they are worried of the consequences that involve licensing of their media activities. The government may not be able to directly control what the media houses want to air, but they will definitely have power over their media activities that are always monitored.
Hong Kong television network has been a good example of the ability that the government has in determining the performance of a television company. Even when the television is serving the interests of the citizens, the channel could not continue broadcasting without serving the interests of the government. The government proved to have ultimate authority on the kind of business that can be conducted by the television station. The strategy that is used by the government is to deny the station a license and hence making it impossible to carry out its operations. The government must have observed some of its content and rated it not appropriate for local audience. The content included content that was against the cultural practices of the community. This was hence considered a protective mechanism for the public. Despite the measures applied by the government of Hong Kong, the television industry continues to air its content and even launch further into technology.
Despite the fact that the government of Hong Kong has been condemned for over control of the content being aired, the measures taken by the government are for the good of the consumer. It should be noted that what could be pleasing and appropriate for a particular audience in Hong Kong is not necessary appropriate for the other audience. It is hence the duty of the government of Hong Kong to ensure that content being aired on reality tv serves the interests of all the audience. Honk Kong Television companies have complained that there is no media freedom, simply because they are not allowed to air what is good as per their interests. There is a possibility that the media channels have no clue of the consequences that certain content may have on a particular audience (Ma 45). This is simply because a reality television show on a Hong Kong is designed for a particular audience. Once the content is on the screen, it may not be easy for the television stakeholders to control who watches it or not. Any person who has access to the television screen will watch it. This are hence some of the regulatory measures that are taken by the government to ensure that the content being aired is suitable for every audience.
Apart from complaints received from Hong television owners on the limitations set on them on the kind of content to air, the same is usually received from the audience on reality content in the country, which they considered inappropriate. For instance some remarks that are made during live airing may be found abusive and inappropriate for a certain audience. They may have been made as a by the way or even as a joke, but found abusive for some. These reactions prove that not everything presented in Hong Kong reality television screens will be acceptable by the general audience. There are instance where particular communities have complained of being stereotyped or even discriminated on how they are presented on reality shows. Irrespective of whether the person involved was from their community or not, they consider such remarks segregating and hence inappropriate for television (Boltanski 43). Considering the number of such complains and the size of audience that presents the complaints, the content may be changed or not.
There is no way a reality tv content will fully satisfy all the audience but mainly aired for a particular audience. Being a reality tv show, many are mistaken to believe that what is being displayed is actually the truth, as a matter of fact, the audience that takes reality tv shows as a reality will have issues and complain about many things. However, by understanding that there is nothing real, and that the presenters are either coached or acting, they will have no issues with the kind of content being aired. For instance, some of the shows that are usually considered reality have got to do with fashion shows like fashion one correspondent, comedy talks, talent shows and the likes. A keen person will know that there is nothing real about a fashion reality show or even comedy. Before the participants are brought up on stage to perform, they are taken through a series of coaching, make up and even how to present themselves. If they were allowed to present just the way they though was right for them, then the show would turn out to be a disaster. There is no doubt that some presenters are even trained to be funny and appealing to the audience. The reason behind this is so that the show gets higher ratings and hence widening its audience capacity and ultimately their advertisement pool (Hong Kong Television Network).
Politics in the Hong Kong television industry is something that the audience will have to live and get acquainted to. Hong Kong Politics governs almost every decision that is made concerning what has to be aired in the screens, and hence expecting it to be out of a television screen is unreasonable. The only reality tv shows in Hong kong that can be considered real are those that are covering live events such as political rallies, conferences and the likes. However, even with such events, the politicians and all other participants in the live coverage are usually notified that they are on air and hence watching what they watch and what they do. There is no live coverage event that is aired in Hong Kong without the notice of the participant. If it has to happen, it will be considered a violation of certain rights and hence posing a risk to the television channel involved. The other live shows that are recorded such as fashion television shows, and later on aired as reality tv shows are not a reality in any sense (Nesbitt-Larking 23). The reason why they have to be recorded prior to being aired is because of the editing they have to go through. The producers of the free to air television stations also realize that there could be some words spoken out of carelessness or without caution, and hence requiring some editing. Some of the words could also have been only appropriate for the live audience and not the larger television audience.
In concluding the subject, we realize that there is nothing real in reality television shows that feature in Hong Kong. The name is only given to imply that the presenters and the hosts are dealing with a live audience which may not necessary present their real views. The best position to take in such a matter is to mainly watch them for entertainment and not analysis. A follow up can only be made on issues raised and are of importance. For example, reality shows may compel a person to extend a hand of help in charity or any form of support. Such issues may therefore require an audience to follow up for the purpose of clarity and concern. However, a person who watches a Hong Kong reality tv show with the purpose of find real sense may end up being frustrated, as the content may be misleading. A large audience in Hong Kong who that has been duped because of what they have watched. It is only after they have been found in trouble that they follow up on the reality tv shows, only to discover that what was being presented was contrary to what they picked. In most cases, they may not even have time to follow up on the hosts and producers and hence falling victims to shows that they thought were real.
Hong Kong Television Network http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Television_Network
Boltanski, Luc. Distant suffering: Morality, media and politics. Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Gourmet Secret Agent. http://www.thetvking.com/tvshows/9714/gourmet-secret-agent/
Gunther, Richard, and Anthony Mughan, eds. Democracy and the media: a comparative perspective. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Ma, Eric Kit-wai. Culture, politics and television in Hong Kong. Routledge, 2005.
Nesbitt-Larking, Paul Wingfield. Politics, society, and the media. University of Toronto Press, 2007.
Staff Reporters. Thousands protest to 'defend Hong Kong's core values' after failed HKTV license bid in South China Morning Post. Published: Monday, 21 October, 2013, 4:53am http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1336074/thousands-protest-defend-hong-kongs-core-values-after-failed-hktv
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