Magazine Archive

Sumario / Table of contents

  • When we invest our money, we logically expect the best possible return. And particularly on the long run, as we don't want to keep moving our assets from one place to another. 

Investing in media is no different to investing in other fields:
First we must look for companies geared to serve their customers' needs (perceived by their consumers as customer-oriented).
Secondly, we need to make sure that company-dynamics are healthy-enough; and that its operations, costs, prices, and revenues are sustainable.
Only then should we opt for a media company, no matter how many articles we've read in regards to media investments as "recession-proof"...

This letter explains why...

    In reply to a reader’s letter: TVyNovelas’ print-runs, and when to invest in media companies

    When we invest our money, we logically expect the best possible return. And particularly on the long run, as we don't want to keep moving our assets from one place to another. Investing in media is no different to investing in other fields: First we must look for companies geared to serve their customers' needs (perceived by their consumers as customer-oriented). Secondly, we need to make sure that company-dynamics are healthy-enough; and that its operations, costs, prices, and revenues are sustainable. Only then should we opt for a media company, no matter how many articles we've read in regards to media investments as "recession-proof"... This letter explains why...

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  • When we first published this article (1995), internet had only been in existence for 2 years, and was just starting to make its presence felt at Mexican universities [the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico)  was the first to have its own network node].  In spite of this, newspaper and magazine sales had already been dropping for years.
Our “newsstands” are more and more appealing ─including María Elena's, the newspaper seller we interviewed for this article, and whose son still assists customers today (2013)─. But a nice looking newsstand cannot protect its owners from products that are less and less appealing to consumers.
And that isn't the only problem: Men comprise an increasing number of newsstand customers, and there are fewer of them all the time, because  ─as she says─ the general public has drifted away from these retailers… Logically, this has affected sales, since obviously a specific part of the public, will always be less numerous than the majority  ─families, those with general interests...─. 
Therefore: Each product must have its own distribution channel, and not all can coexist in the same space…

    The media and their many problems: KIOSKS SLOW DEATH

    When we first published this article (1995), internet had only been in existence for 2 years, and was just starting to make its presence felt at Mexican universities [the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) was the first to have its own network node]. In spite of this, newspaper and magazine sales had already been dropping for years. Our “newsstands” are more and more appealing ─including María Elena's, the newspaper seller we interviewed for this article, and whose son still assists customers today (2013)─. But a nice looking newsstand cannot protect its owners from products that are less and less appealing to consumers. And that isn't the only problem: Men comprise an increasing number of newsstand customers, and there are fewer of them all the time, because ─as she says─ the general public has drifted away from these retailers… Logically, this has affected sales, since obviously a specific part of the public, will always be less numerous than the majority ─families, those with general interests...─. Therefore: Each product must have its own distribution channel, and not all can coexist in the same space…

    Continue Reading...

  • An analysis of morbid content as a narrative device with a boomerang effect, since even when it generates an audience, it tends to kill the media source that resorted to using it (updated version).

    Have you ever wondered WHAT “MORBID” CONTENTS ARE?

    An analysis of morbid content as a narrative device with a boomerang effect, since even when it generates an audience, it tends to kill the media source that resorted to using it (updated version).

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  • A story where "nothing happens", may hardly prove interesting.  Another one that produces in us a brutal level of anxiety, by accumulating destructive events, cannot sustain itself as the most enjoyable one --as a "long runner" product, either.  In mass media, like everywhere else, the "right" seasoning is difficult to obtain, as different types of contents must be balanced and integrated to produce an enjoyable and memorable "dish", so that it will be able to fulfill its social function without harming society.  This is what this article talks about.

    Little by little, you can grow ACCUSTOMED TO (ALMOST) EVERYTHING!

    A story where "nothing happens", may hardly prove interesting. Another one that produces in us a brutal level of anxiety, by accumulating destructive events, cannot sustain itself as the most enjoyable one --as a "long runner" product, either. In mass media, like everywhere else, the "right" seasoning is difficult to obtain, as different types of contents must be balanced and integrated to produce an enjoyable and memorable "dish", so that it will be able to fulfill its social function without harming society. This is what this article talks about.

    Continue Reading...

  • The Digital Revolution (i.e.: the proliferation of the internet, personal computers, mobile/portable devices, etc.) is currently being blamed for the dramatic sales fall that traditional and electronic media are experiencing.  This article, originally published in 1994, witnesses to the unfairness of this myth:  The Internet was officially born in 1993, only one year before this article was written, and its reach in Mexico was still scarce at that time; yet media had already been losing sales and audiences steadily –for years in some cases, and for decades in others.

The fact is so evident that few –if any, of the media products' sales recorded here (including a couple of national newspapers), ever recuperated their previous audiences, and many have disappeared altogether:

Contrary to professionally-generated mainstream-media contents, those internet's contents that have been generated by the general audience (think of FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, e-mail chains and attachments, and the like), are majoritarianly "clean" (amiable in regards to the general audiences' values, ideas and beliefs).  And people are consuming them massively, close to the verge of addiction.

Society cannot possibly deliver mass media a more conclusive message, or put its case in a stronger way.
What are they waiting for to react accordingly...?

    THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE MISSING SPECTATOR has little to do with the Digital Revolution

    The Digital Revolution (i.e.: the proliferation of the internet, personal computers, mobile/portable devices, etc.) is currently being blamed for the dramatic sales fall that traditional and electronic media are experiencing. This article, originally published in 1994, witnesses to the unfairness of this myth: The Internet was officially born in 1993, only one year before this article was written, and its reach in Mexico was still scarce at that time; yet media had already been losing sales and audiences steadily –for years in some cases, and for decades in others. The fact is so evident that few –if any, of the media products' sales recorded here (including a couple of national newspapers), ever recuperated their previous audiences, and many have disappeared altogether: Contrary to professionally-generated mainstream-media contents, those internet's contents that have been generated by the general audience (think of FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, e-mail chains and attachments, and the like), are majoritarianly "clean" (amiable in regards to the general audiences' values, ideas and beliefs). And people are consuming them massively, close to the verge of addiction. Society cannot possibly deliver mass media a more conclusive message, or put its case in a stronger way. What are they waiting for to react accordingly...?

    Continue Reading...

  • Once in a while we run across the words "colective aesthetics", but few can explain to us what they mean in terms anyone can understand.  This brief article achieves this seemingly unsurmountable task, through exposing us to a fun and short test no-one "flunks", no-one fails to answer.  Not only does it make us laugh, it also makes us think why in the world we all know these things.  If our brains strive innately to learn and retain them, then --somehow, they are necessary for our survival both as individuals and as societies. It naturally follows that those literatures that feed on these elements and keep them alive, constitute a premier social institution, even if our society frequently fails to appreciate it.

    A test about media, YOU JUST WILL LOVE TO ANSWER!

    Once in a while we run across the words "colective aesthetics", but few can explain to us what they mean in terms anyone can understand. This brief article achieves this seemingly unsurmountable task, through exposing us to a fun and short test no-one "flunks", no-one fails to answer. Not only does it make us laugh, it also makes us think why in the world we all know these things. If our brains strive innately to learn and retain them, then --somehow, they are necessary for our survival both as individuals and as societies. It naturally follows that those literatures that feed on these elements and keep them alive, constitute a premier social institution, even if our society frequently fails to appreciate it.

    Continue Reading...

  • This article analyzes the consumption of cultural works in Mexico, at the end of the XXth century. 
In the years elapsed since it was published, however, the number of copies magazines sell -like national papers' and other media products' sales, have plummeted.
Several best-selling magazines it mentions, have disappeared from the market; and others are publishing less than a fourth of the copies they did at that time, as a consequence of the very same issues this article analyzed: Creators, producers and distributors of both "high brow" (elite) and "low brow" (popular) works, have alienated themselves from their audiences, and through the continuous opposition to the latters' values, ideas and beliefs (through both veiled and overt contestation), they have lost their consumers' trust.  And also their money.

In other words: What this article concluded, is still true, including the fact that people -even the younger generations, are reading... --yes, indeed!; but not what some would like them to read.
In the end, this is more positive for society in many senses, than the consumption of media works that would otherwise have corroded even more, the social and cultural tissue of our countries.
What we have observed is the displacement of average audiences, towards works that better reflect the latter's values, ideas and beliefs, as we should have expected since the beginning: This facilitates the survival of the larger part of the social group and its culture --the part that has been less influenced by media in general, by the way.

Anyone could have foreseen what has happened, from a social-anthropology or systems-theories' frames of study --we certainly did, and published it all around, while many stared at us in disbelief. Nowadays media fear for their very survival; but the social-body demonstrates a vigour and an intuition, few would have vowed for. It will soon produce new works, away from dominant content agendas, that most of us  (but sadly not all), will love.

    If it is not the readers’ fault, WHOM SHOULD WE BLAME…?

    This article analyzes the consumption of cultural works in Mexico, at the end of the XXth century. In the years elapsed since it was published, however, the number of copies magazines sell -like national papers' and other media products' sales, have plummeted. Several best-selling magazines it mentions, have disappeared from the market; and others are publishing less than a fourth of the copies they did at that time, as a consequence of the very same issues this article analyzed: Creators, producers and distributors of both "high brow" (elite) and "low brow" (popular) works, have alienated themselves from their audiences, and through the continuous opposition to the latters' values, ideas and beliefs (through both veiled and overt contestation), they have lost their consumers' trust. And also their money. In other words: What this article concluded, is still true, including the fact that people -even the younger generations, are reading... --yes, indeed!; but not what some would like them to read. In the end, this is more positive for society in many senses, than the consumption of media works that would otherwise have corroded even more, the social and cultural tissue of our countries. What we have observed is the displacement of average audiences, towards works that better reflect the latter's values, ideas and beliefs, as we should have expected since the beginning: This facilitates the survival of the larger part of the social group and its culture --the part that has been less influenced by media in general, by the way. Anyone could have foreseen what has happened, from a social-anthropology or systems-theories' frames of study --we certainly did, and published it all around, while many stared at us in disbelief. Nowadays media fear for their very survival; but the social-body demonstrates a vigour and an intuition, few would have vowed for. It will soon produce new works, away from dominant content agendas, that most of us (but sadly not all), will love.

    Continue Reading...

  • Like any other schooling system, Modern formal education in the Western world, tends to reproduce in students a certain mindset -a certain frame of mind, therefore privileging a particular type of intelligence --the literate one in this case, over others. 
We must not forget that this type of intelligence is not the only one humans can access, however:  There are other intellectual abilites which it is also worthwhile to acquire, like those an oral culture appreciates, and which are innate to our species.

If we keep basic concept like this is mind, we will be able to make more accurate assumptions about reality, thus improving the quality of the decisions we make,  the worth of our opinions, and their impact in the world.

This article mentions one clear example: How  the differences between the oral and the literate mindsets, and their intrinsic biases, reduce the possibility of reaching a durable and fair solution for conflicts as serious as the Chiapas rebellion in Mexico, thus gravely affecting the life of a whole nation.  The paradigm shift is another example.
__
This is a short version for the general audience, of a very long specialized article that the Revista Digital Universitaria de la UNAM, published in 2002.

    O, YEE PROUD PRINTED LETTER…!, or How we have come to forget the worth and value of orality and “normality” in the last 100 years.

    Like any other schooling system, Modern formal education in the Western world, tends to reproduce in students a certain mindset -a certain frame of mind, therefore privileging a particular type of intelligence --the literate one in this case, over others. We must not forget that this type of intelligence is not the only one humans can access, however: There are other intellectual abilites which it is also worthwhile to acquire, like those an oral culture appreciates, and which are innate to our species. If we keep basic concept like this is mind, we will be able to make more accurate assumptions about reality, thus improving the quality of the decisions we make, the worth of our opinions, and their impact in the world. This article mentions one clear example: How the differences between the oral and the literate mindsets, and their intrinsic biases, reduce the possibility of reaching a durable and fair solution for conflicts as serious as the Chiapas rebellion in Mexico, thus gravely affecting the life of a whole nation. The paradigm shift is another example. __ This is a short version for the general audience, of a very long specialized article that the Revista Digital Universitaria de la UNAM, published in 2002.

    Continue Reading...

  • A brief examination of what highly educated people really read when nobody is watching them, allows  us to conclude that it is humanly impossible to refrain from reading popular works –to maintain a “purely highbrow diet” comprised of only elite works.
We put forth the following explanation: Works applauded and esteemed by the elite arts in the last 100 years or so, envision a sordid, bitter, and hopeless world –thus frequently becoming toxic or harmful for their readers’ emotional and general health, as we shall analyse in other articles. A “purely-depressive works” diet would certainly kill its reader.
No wonder most people, and even highly educated ones, tend to prefer popular works, even if they lack the prestige of the “high arts”. What a pity it is, though, that even popular works have been contaminated by the biases that have progressively killed the “high” arts, thus diminishing the spontaneous and joyful pleasure we hope and expect to obtain from them.

    WHAT HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE READ…, when nobody watches

    A brief examination of what highly educated people really read when nobody is watching them, allows us to conclude that it is humanly impossible to refrain from reading popular works –to maintain a “purely highbrow diet” comprised of only elite works. We put forth the following explanation: Works applauded and esteemed by the elite arts in the last 100 years or so, envision a sordid, bitter, and hopeless world –thus frequently becoming toxic or harmful for their readers’ emotional and general health, as we shall analyse in other articles. A “purely-depressive works” diet would certainly kill its reader. No wonder most people, and even highly educated ones, tend to prefer popular works, even if they lack the prestige of the “high arts”. What a pity it is, though, that even popular works have been contaminated by the biases that have progressively killed the “high” arts, thus diminishing the spontaneous and joyful pleasure we hope and expect to obtain from them.

    Continue Reading...

  • Around 1995-6, a new television company started to broadcast its signal to the Mexican audience.  Some said it was being transmitted from Miami, but no-one truly knew where the signal was being aired from.  Its programming was attractive, and was largely composed by reality based contents –mainly newscasts and documentaries.  Its advertising campaign promised to deliver only truth to a country who hungered for it.  Despite this, its news programs did not even mention the humongous national demonstration (with simultaneous massive local marches in all main cities), that repudiated the agreements signed by the Mexican delegation at a world population conference.  Incongruities like this one happen all the time and in every media –internet included; and the expert reader uses them to filter the information he/she receives in order to discover truth –that is: the true image of reality, despite the many political, ideological and economic agendas which currently shape media contents. 
In the time elapsed since this happened, that television channel went bankrupt, was taken over and changed its programming, ...but never recuperated the audience it had initially attracted and lost.  The audience is smarter than many think...

    NO RETURN ADDRESS? Then how can we tell your message is trustworthy…

    Around 1995-6, a new television company started to broadcast its signal to the Mexican audience. Some said it was being transmitted from Miami, but no-one truly knew where the signal was being aired from. Its programming was attractive, and was largely composed by reality based contents –mainly newscasts and documentaries. Its advertising campaign promised to deliver only truth to a country who hungered for it. Despite this, its news programs did not even mention the humongous national demonstration (with simultaneous massive local marches in all main cities), that repudiated the agreements signed by the Mexican delegation at a world population conference. Incongruities like this one happen all the time and in every media –internet included; and the expert reader uses them to filter the information he/she receives in order to discover truth –that is: the true image of reality, despite the many political, ideological and economic agendas which currently shape media contents. In the time elapsed since this happened, that television channel went bankrupt, was taken over and changed its programming, ...but never recuperated the audience it had initially attracted and lost. The audience is smarter than many think...

    Continue Reading...

  • Few times do we talk about what the "message" of a literary work is, even amongst those of us who study literature.  Finding out what the message is behind any human expression, however, is fundamental for surviving, as it allows us to filter what we are being told –to separate and retain what serves us, and to prevent us from falling prey to cheaters and liars.
Learning to see through information, allows us to make better use of media, too, without resorting to censorship or limiting our freedom of expression.

Evelyn, the movie (with Pierce Brosnan in the leading role), is a popular work, which was produced to help advance an unpopular political agenda amongst the general audience. The slant, the bias, the way reality was altered in it, in order to promote such agenda, is so great and evident, that it easily serves us to exemplify what a "message" is  –what we are talking about; and to show how even a reality-based narration can be manipulated in order to fulfil a given goal.

    How to make a movie say WHAT YOU WANT TO

    Few times do we talk about what the "message" of a literary work is, even amongst those of us who study literature. Finding out what the message is behind any human expression, however, is fundamental for surviving, as it allows us to filter what we are being told –to separate and retain what serves us, and to prevent us from falling prey to cheaters and liars. Learning to see through information, allows us to make better use of media, too, without resorting to censorship or limiting our freedom of expression. Evelyn, the movie (with Pierce Brosnan in the leading role), is a popular work, which was produced to help advance an unpopular political agenda amongst the general audience. The slant, the bias, the way reality was altered in it, in order to promote such agenda, is so great and evident, that it easily serves us to exemplify what a "message" is –what we are talking about; and to show how even a reality-based narration can be manipulated in order to fulfil a given goal.

    Continue Reading...

  • People desultorily dismiss Mexican/HispanicAmerican telenovelas wholesale; and they praise and value programs made elsewhere in the same uncritical way  –for example: those from the United States–, without engaging in a case-by-case analysis of each to decide if what is being promoted is useful or beneficial for society, or not. 

This article examines several fictional works based on the Cinderella schema  –“La niñera” (Nanny Fine), and some telenovelas written by Carlos Romero–, to show that the locally produced works –the Mexican ones– are in fact superior to the imported series, precisely because of the values, ideas and beliefs extolled by each culture.

    IN REGARDS TO “CINDERELLAS”…

    People desultorily dismiss Mexican/HispanicAmerican telenovelas wholesale; and they praise and value programs made elsewhere in the same uncritical way –for example: those from the United States–, without engaging in a case-by-case analysis of each to decide if what is being promoted is useful or beneficial for society, or not. This article examines several fictional works based on the Cinderella schema –“La niñera” (Nanny Fine), and some telenovelas written by Carlos Romero–, to show that the locally produced works –the Mexican ones– are in fact superior to the imported series, precisely because of the values, ideas and beliefs extolled by each culture.

    Continue Reading...

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