My Section B Case Study

For my case study I decided to analyse three TV series in ‘Better Call Saul’, Narcos and Archer. looking into how they promoted across the three media platforms (print, E-media and broadcast), and then comparing all three in how they promote (similarities and differences).

Similarly they all promoted more via E media down to the reasons of convergence. Nevertheless, they still each promoted via print and broadcast, with Narcos having unique ways of doing so via print;

  •  Netlix for example, had a clever marketing campaign idea for Narcos. for print media, deciding to promote season 2 of the Narcos series via a small paper advert/poster at the bottom of security trays and Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Also a billboard was put up in Madrid, Spain and Columbia wanted them to take it down as it portrayed Columbia in a ‘negative light’. Therefore due to convergence, this argument could be seen via E-media by social media pages and opinion leaders giving there take, and online news outlets in the same way, all being witnessed on one device.

All three similarly  had many social media pages, in different languages across the social media sites. for example, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. posting in the same way about upcoming events, posters as well as news and teaser trailers and normal trailers etc… This can be down to the fact that two of my three TV series are Netflix based programs, which means they can ‘only’ be streamed on the Netflix site.

Although, both Narcos and ‘Better Call Saul’ are Netflix Originals, print seemed to be used more by Narcos, this is probably because Narcos was and is still, a whole new TV series with ‘Better Call Saul’ being made from the creators of Breaking Bad, one of the most viewed TV series of its time. This therefore alone would have gained the public eye. Both of these took  the same approach to advertising via broadcast, short adverts being shown whenever a new series was due, showing the Netlfix logo, not however advertising constantly via broadcast, down to the main fact its audience is internet based.

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Crime Thriller/ Biographical

for Archer, this can be viewed on Netflix. However, isn’t a Netflix original, and can be too watched via being broadcasted on Comedy Central, so therefore compared to the other two, adverts frequently appear on this Channel as well as episodes, not just being a streamed series. For E-media also (maybe not differently to the other series) merchandise in  T-shirts are sold on the internet. (Both print and E-media working together).

Ultimately these are all American made and based series, therefore they are probably promoted more explicitly in America across all three media platforms than here in England. Websites for both ‘Better Call Saul’ and Narcos could be viewed, but I could not get access to the FX Archer site, down to this reason.

Media Audiences: How they receive and respond to my texts.

For both Narcos and ‘Better Call Saul’ the primary audience is the people who have the Netflix site as they are both Netflix Originals, therefore middle class who can afford the monthly amount to have Netflix, with the target audience for these two bring for teenagers and adults who can understand the context fully and be exposed to violence, drugs etc… As Netflix are a legal streaming site, this allows their audience to consume in anyway which pleases them best, having a choice in how, when and where they consume the text, as its all there with a click of a button on multi-platforms that have access to the internet such as phone, computer/laptop and games console. The secondary audience could be said to be those who have specific broadcasting channels in America, as these are two American produced texts. For example, Narcos splits between two different languages in English and Spanish, so therefore a Hispanic audience can too enjoy Narcos. From my case study Netflix have teamed up with Univision Communications to bring Narcos, the Netflix original series to television. Univision is the largest media company serving Hispanics in the US and this will help gain a new audience.

For Archer this is different the primary audience is those of broadcast on channels such as Comedy Central, with the secondary audience being those on Netflix as it is also available on the site. However is not a Netflix original. Via broadcast however, the audience doesn’t have the same control as those who stream it on Netflix as it broadcasted live. Unless they have one of those TV boxes that is able to record, rewind, fast-forward, stop and start. However, this still does not give them the same freedom as streamers on Netflix.

How an audience responds to a text depends on what the programme is and if its based on real events or not. Narcos compared to my other two series is based on a true story, being  based in Columbia in the late 1900s, drug kingpin and narco-terrorist Pablo Escobar, who becomes a billionaire through the production and distribution of cocaine. His cartel supplied an estimate of 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States at the heights of his career.  While focusing on Escobar interactions with other drug lords, DEA agents sent by America to take him out, and various opposition entities. Showing his demise in series 2. Narcos links to Halls theory of reception. if an audience accepts, negotiates or rejects the text. An example would be the major majority of people in Colombia would reject  Narcos as Colombia is portrayed in a negative light, while some will negotiate it (debate it) here in  UK or America etc,  while some audiences would probably accept the text for what it is down to arrogance or simply not being educated on Columbia. Another example is, us watching it here, some of us may see Pablo as a hero down to the way he’s shown in Narcos via the way he gives the public money. however, his narco-terrorism to others would make him a villain. The people who have had to live in the same country as him, when he was still alive would probably say he was a villain, and this idea may anger some as generally some people would have been afraid to go out in Colombia down to the fact they could be harmed or killed.

For my other two shows Archer and Better Call Saul which are not that serious, not  being based on true events. These two would mostly be accepted or negotiated in the sense of the gratifications theory for socialising purposes (‘whats going to happen next!’). Archer is a comedy so some however might not agree with the jokes and ‘take it to heart’, while some will just accept it as its not a serious show. The narratives for all of these series follow the ideas of Todorov equilibrium theory. . the general idea is that there is peace at the start, with a disruption which occurs with the ultimate goal being to achieve a new equilibrium. However, the order can be different and there can be more than something (for example more disruptions) this applies more to a narrative over series.

Enigma codes are used in the finale of ‘Better Call Saul’, to get audiences to return for the next season.

Media Institutions

Narcos: produced and created by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. The production Company being Gaumont International Television. Being distributed by Netflix through a partnership deal between Netflix and Spanish language network Telemudo. Neflix would have financed the text through their subscribers who pay a set amount monthly to be able to stream different texts. (You can argue that nothing is truly independent) however, down to the fact Netflix isn’t accessible if you are not a subscriber,  therefore its not completely mainstream.

Gaumont International Telivision is a independent studio that is designed to produce drama and comedy television programs for the US and International markets, it is subsidiary owned company meaning it is a smaller company owned by a parent company. With Netflix being an American entertainment company who’s brand values are to provide different films and TV series for Mass and Niche audiences. Being known as a streaming site which gives the audience freedom to stream when they want to. They are a publicly traded company owned by numerous investment funds, institutions and private investors. The advantages of being a publicly traded company (this means they are commercially owned), is that this would grant Netflix with more funds to be able to therefore get more shows and films out there to their audience. The disadvantage is that yes they could be taken over, but this is less likely as they are a massive company and for someone to do this would cost a lot!

‘Better Call Saul’: It has many production companies, with the main and biggest one being Sony Pictures Television. Sony Pictures Television (abbreviated as SPT) is an American television production and distribution studio. Based in Culver City, California, it is a division of Sony Pictures and a unit of the Japanese conglomerate Sony (large cooperation).

The first season, which premiered on AMC on February 8, 2015. AMC is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by AMC Networks, therefore its a Freeview channel available essentially to all Americans who have a TV licence. This would have got Better Call Saul out to a Mass audience of people in America. It is also a Netflix original meaning it could also get out to a Mass audience in terms of internationally.

Archer: also having a few production companies in FX Productions and Floyd County Productions (which is an animation company) with its distributors being 20th Television which is an America television syndication studio and the syndication  arm of 20th Century Fox Television itself a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. A syndicate in this case is that 20th Century Fox is a self organising group that is formed to do specific business, and as it  can be streamed on Netflix also, this company could state that at first Archer appeared on TV as syndicated companies sell to broadcasting stations. The values of 20th century fox is to ‘give people the simple pleasure of being transported by a story on a screen’ in Archer’s case therefore they want to overwhelm people with laughter as its a comedy.

Media Representations

in Narcos the setting of Colombia is represented in a negative  light (in this time period) as a drug filled country that no one would want to go to on holiday. Whereas (although not shown on screen) America is represented as an ‘innocent country’ with power by the basis of the storyline; Colombia supplied America with the most cocaine and America had been pushed to the limit therefore sent in DEA agents to take down Escobar. The two DEA agents are represented as hard working and smart, however not as smart as Pablo. The people of Colombia are represented as generally being poor and strong willed. Pablo Escobar is represented as cunning and manipulative down to him money (helping  him look like some kind of  hero – as he gives money to the poor but also bribes soldiers who are sent to capture him)and  loving like his  family, toward members of his family  and the men who work for him. However, he has an arrogant side to him that involves killing people for his benefit and even the men whom work for him if they betray him, showing he has too much power. The storyline fits in with the dominate ideology of a ‘real life’ situation (it is based on true events) that America have to stop Pablo Escobar as he has for one too much power and is using it negatively,  and the ideas that he is the reason why so much cocaine is in America which is illegal. That means America have the right to go and kill him to remove him in hope that cocaine in America would begin to decrease. This stereotypically makes Colombia look like a bad place to go or live, although the setting can countertype this as it is beautiful, but down to the violence that occurs makes the stereotype more dominant. It can also be seen as a poor place  by the people begging and praising Escobar who gives them money and by this wins over there hearts and minds although causes so much destruction.

I haven’t noticed any links between the text and advertisers. across cross media in print, broadcasting and E media. However, I believe desired representations are shown better through Youtube and Broadcast via adverts that truly represent how the producers intended.

Better Call Saul is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico 2002 with the protagonist being James Morgan “Jimmy” McGill who is a struggling public defender 6 years prior to Breaking Bad when he met with Walter White. In the present, set after the events of Breaking Bad, in a black-and-white sequence, Saul Goodman, now going by the name “Gene”, manages a shopping mall Cinnabon in Omaha, Nebraska. He has grown a mustache and is balding. While working, he suspects that a customer recognizes him, but this proves to be just paranoia. At night in his apartment, Saul has a cocktail and drunkenly watches a VHS of his old television advertisements. This goes to represent Saul as a failed public defender who is getting old dealing with the struggles of life and his changes in name go to suggest that “Jimmy” is constantly trying to start a new life tragically unknowing to the fact this is ‘logically impossible’. Jimmy has a brother in Chuck who is cunning however is a ‘couch potato’ due to him being “allergic” to electricity therefore “Jimmy” has to help his brother as if he was his son (go shopping for him) while this is going on Chuck is constantly trying to undermine his brother. Feeling as though he should have a different job and should not be a lawyer. Chuck is well loved when it comes to his job as a lawyer. However, due to his illness he can’t make it to work everyday. The love for him is shown when his firm turn off all the electricity when he turns up and in meetings leaving phones outside. Jimmy is also represented as a loving fair person. He commits fruad and tampered with official documents and a bunch of other legal no-nos in order to “steal”/ win back the “Mesa Verde” case (therefore clients) for his lover, which Chuck had won back due to the fact he has a firm backing him unlike Kim who is passionate and great but is just one person. Jimmy cares for Chuck and Kim and this leads to his own destruction in the season 2 finale.  While cheating Chuck his brother who becomes insane on the matters of ‘the case’ Jimmy witnesses him hit his head and therefore feels terrible about himself so helps him through recovery, by which it was speedy. When Chuck returns home he doubts himself and his capacity to work and do things. Jimmy couldn’t even allow him that doubt and reassured Chuck that he was still a great lawyer and that not only had Jimmy conned him, but Chuck had correctly guessed and diagnosed every bit of the con. And now, as we head into the third season, Chuck has Jimmy’s incriminating confession on tape and can hold felony charges over his brother’s head, therefore is left on a cliff hanger therefore the 2 step flow theory can come into play here with people having their own ideas of what is to come next, and talking about which brother is in the wrong, as they are both represented fairly, however maybe Jimmy is just that little more tragic. Therefore the public can have their own say on who’s in the wrong via the twos desired representation.

in Archer the characters are represented in a comedy sense not a serious one in relation to the dominate ideology of how the characters should be represented in a comedy, However, stereotypes are used to express the way people are that can link to Hall’s reception theory that some may agree, disagree or negotiate the proposed way someone is represented. Sterling Malory Archer, known primarily as Archer, is the world’s deadliest spy and the main protagonist but takes on many different roles in the seasons, for example one of which he turns into a drug dealer.  Archer is represented as a more humorous James Bond in having n exaggerated sense of ones own value or importance, a misogynist (despises of women), self centred and therefore selfish and ultimately attractive. I believe that the posters made for this show best give the successful desired representation that wants to be achieved, show as a cartoon action programmn that has a very dominate funny side to it. Also by broadcasted trailers help to give the whole program the desired representation as well as the protagonist. Not a representation that shows seriousness.

Media forms

Cross media texts communicate the implied narrative (in this case) in TV series through many ways. Codes and conventions can be linked with all three media platforms. In  Narcos the implied narrative can be shown through the technical codes being used in a conventional way to show the Columbia of the past via trailers shown on E media (social media/ Youtube) and trailers which are shown live on TV via broadcastz, as Narcos is based on true events and simply is a flashback of the life of Pablo Escobar, how he became a success via the cocaine industry and how he is to be undermined. As an example of technical codes being used is in the establishing shot of Colombia which is shown in the introduction of each episode, CGI could have been used by the producers to give it the look of the late 1900s. Better Call Saul is also a flashback 6 years before the events of Braking Bad and uses conventions with colour, like showing introduction scenes in black and white for example, giving it that vintage look. Archer is a cartoon so therefore uses the conventions of different angles and shots to create moving images.

Print media holds importance although some believe this to be a dead medium due to technology, still not all people have access to. In this case magazines for TV series will use technical, symbolic and linguistic codes to give the implied and desired narrative to the audience in wheeling them in. These type of magazines will speak of the narrative through all codes; technical in the colour being used as well as in the used shot or angle of a image,  linguistic in the language being used to give the narrative excitement and symbolic via an image, for example an image of ‘Saul Goodman’ to show a deeper meaning about how he is feeling for example.

You could say that each area of cross media reveals different aspects of the narrative for example, print media would require to an extent imagination compared to a trailer, for example you wouldn’t be able to witness the action of Narcos for example between drug cartels so therefore would have to imagine it. Magazines do tend to use Barthes’ enigma codes. for example if its a magazine for the new season of Better Call Saul it wouldn’t want to reveal the total narrative of it therefore it would use the cliff hanger from the last season and leave you to interpret your own view of what’s to come (I.e.”Jimmy” is finally going to be named ‘SAUL GOODMAN’) and introduce you to new characters, as this is a spin off of Breaking Bad its been revealed that some of the majorly appreciated  characters from Breaking Bad will feature in Better Call Saul – and these magazines would remind its audience of the narrative of that character and even give an idea of what’s going to be seen of them.

A trailer being roughly 1 to 3 minutes broadcasted on TV you’d get the general idea of the narrative that the majority of the viewers would get. However, watching the same trailer on YouTube for example you are able to pause and re wind and therefore can analyses what the trailer is saying better and therefore a better understanding of the narrative and people do this all over YouTube for you, so you don’t have to do anything! Teaser trailers roughly 30 seconds or less use enigma codes to maintain hype mainly but also give an idea of what’s to come. For Narcos season 3 Pablo Escobar is now dead so how is this possible!? A perfectly made teaser trailer showing Pablo in front of a black background fade away with a quotation saying “THE BLOW MUST GO ON” fading back in to a new face (and new villain?) Helmer “Pacho” Herrera who can be seen as a clear predecessor to Escobar with his Medellin cartel now finished its time for Herrera and his Cali Cartel!? This reveals a lot about the narrative although being 35 seconds long, one for those who haven’t watched and wanting to watch Narcos would have witnessed a full spoiler by this trailer and secondly that the show will go on without him with a not so new face running things in Colombia for the cocaine industry now. This can link to Todorov’s narrative  theory by which now a new stereotypically of me a new equilibrium has been reached for cocaine in Colombia after the disruption (disequilibrium) of how events unfolded for Pablo. For Narcos however, this theory can be seen by two different perspectives… For America and the DEA agents in  Steve Murphy and Javier Pena the death of Escobar is merely a short lived (new) equilibrium with a new disruption following instantly and somewhat a new storyline. (from my own knowledge of the season 2 finale and the teaser trailer released). Levi-strauss’ theory can also be linked, the binary opposition of what’s right and wrong in life. America for the right reasons are sending their DEA agents in to Colombia to stop the illegal drug flow into their country, while these drug cartels for the wrong reasons are making this cocaine product to sell all over the world down to greed.

Archer is much different from both Narcos and Better Call Saul as the narrative can be as weird and wacky as its likes, changing constantly throughout the seasons down to the fact its a comedy and therefore its sole purpose is to be entertaining through adult humor and not necessarily a to a well thoroughly thought out narrative. The producers can afford to scrap different connected events and produce new ones, as long as the joke are on point, this is  what mainly matters and criticism would be slim for this reason. Yes though Archer does have a narrative in its characters backgrounds being linked to their jobs in the present of Archer, like South Park in a sense. Archer can link to Tordorov’s narrative theory to an extent with the order of equilibrium, disruption, recognition, repair and restoration being repeated every episode and sometimes even in a different order or some parts being repeated (i.e. two different disruptions) down to the fact every episode of Archer reveals a different ‘mission’ for Archer Sterling and his group of characters as a new villains (unseen) can be added constantly without a different actor being used as its a cartoon. Archer by a long shot is no fairy tale. However, Vladimir Propp’s theory, the idea that characters take up different role of narrative ‘spheres of action’ and he describes that there are 8 different character types in the villain, the helper, the princess (or prize in this case), her farther, the donor, the hero and the false hero and these are necessary to make up a narrative. This can be applied in a comedic sense here. Archer Sterling can be seen as a hero in some episodes, however a false hero in others (I.e. be heroic and plot and take out a villain, or do nothing and take credit of another hero creating the plot and the taking out the target).  As explained with Tordorov’s theory, Propps can be applied in the same way, these different character roles can be changed in each episode. More than my other two TV series, Anchorage can be thoroughly applied for Archer. As Archer is a cartoon made of moving images, as an example as the narrative of Archer sometimes changes extremely in some seasons, another piece of media in a poster can reduce the connotations in the trailer for that new season making it more easier to interpret for the audience (‘fixing the meaning’)  this is also easier for the producers to an extent in the case for Archer, as they can sit down and create a poster on a computer or get an artist to create it, having no fuss with an actor in this case and also can add as much as possible to that poster to tell the narrative as much as the trailer does, also therefore improving through revolutionising the position of  different media platforms such as in print media. A magazine can explain the narrative in an exciting way, without linguistic codes, just by a poster that clearly points out the narrative through symbolic codes – and yes people would buy down the fact the magazine could come with a poster that can be put up on the wall in your bedroom as an example!

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Comedy/ Spy Fiction/ Action/ Adventure/ Anachronistic Fiction (the idea of attributing something to a period which it does not belong)
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Crime Drama/ Black Comedy

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