All posts by ModernMediaMix

Taking Risks to Keep Business Growing: Nike Stands Up For Colin Kaepernick

It’s Nike and Colin Kaepernick vs NFL and The Constitution. Nike shows confidence in an emotional ad, and believing statistically that it will pay off in the long run.

Knowing that their competition can’t compete, and as they control a large percentage of sports marketing, Nike felt a urgency to take a stand for the former NFL Quarterback.

Nike is taking a stand for something that shows leadership. They are risk takers that are well known for taking risks in the past. Nike believes in succeeding through taking risks. The unemployed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is now the new face of Nike. The ad tag line is: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”

NikeNike knows what they are doing having had that much experience of success over many years. Nike is very predictable on production outcomes after its product have been introduced to the market. This where Nike business is invested heavily.

Nike is leading in sales in the industry and the results show quality content in advancing their product to stay ahead of competitors. The competition has to sit and take the back seat on a lot of business arrangements, not able to take control of the market for sports apparel.

Nike is testing the sports apparel industry and facing competition from companies like Under Armour. Known for thriving off competition, Nike is first in trendsetting. They first to do almost all things before their competitors. Any product Nike releases by the company is one example of top notch quality sportswear and content.

Whatever business moves Nike decides to make easily produce a profit. Because of prior experience with dominating the competition, Nike knows that their competition cannot keep up. “When you are being challenged, you get busy, you hustle, and you do everything better.” Nike signed a contract in 2018 for eight years with the NBA jerseys and Apparel.

Nike  Nike

No NBA jerseys have ever had another logo on it, except for Adidas who was forced out its contract with the NBA. There have been big promotions with the Michael Jordan line of product by the company for WNBA and NBA.

Brands like Adidas and Reebok are only doing one new thing. Nike tends to respond better in these times, by promoting their products, and by caring for people. They show some differences to people, by selling emotional benefit encouraging all to “Just Do It.”

-Antonio Thornton

Electronic Arts in Legal Trouble Over Loot Boxes?

Everybody knows about EA’s past struggles and scandals with the loot boxes in their games. Nearly all of EA’s major franchises include loot boxes in some form whether it’s their annual FIFA and Madden Games or their first person shooter games like the battlefield series. One of EA’s games that caught the most attention for having loot boxes is the infamous Star Wars Battlefront 2.

Electronic ArtsIf you are unfamiliar with the controversy behind Star Wars BattleFront 2, Gamespot wrote a summary of the drama that unfolded back in 2017. In short, during EA’s beta of Star Wars BattleFront 2 players discovered that the loot boxes EA had put in the game made the game very unbalanced and basically made the game pay-to-win. Players took to the internet and complaining about how the game was designed to pressure players into paying to advance at a reasonable rate in the game.

EA attempted to defend their decisions centered around the loot boxes on Reddit but ended up breaking a record for the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. According to the WSJ Fearing losing profitability in one of their biggest franchises Disney’s chairman of consumer products sent a message to EA and expressing his concerns about how the player outrage could affect the Star Wars brand. Shortly before the games official launch EA decided to temporary remove loot boxes fearing it lootboxes would negatively affect their sales going into the holiday season. Eventually after the controversy had calmed down they put loot boxes back into the game but with only cosmetic items that could affect how your characters looked.

Electronic ArtsAlmost a year after the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box scandal EA is making headlines again due to the company being under criminal investigation in Belgium due to FIFA’s loot boxes according to EuroGamer. Back in April of this year Belgium declared that some loot boxes are considered gambling are are also illegal. After this decision Blizzard, Valve and 2K Games all made actions to remove or modify their loot box systems in the Belgium versions of their games. EA decided to do nothing following Belgium’s decision and now if Belgium decides to prosecute the case will go to court.

The reasoning behind Belgium’s stricter loot box policies is because Belgium’s gaming commission conducted an investigation into games with loot boxes in video games to see if they fall under Belgium’s definition of gambling.  According to a Belgium press release the results of the investigation were that Belgium’s gaming commission considered loot boxes to be a game of chance because of the fact that players didn’t know which items a box may contain when purchasing the loot box. Belgium is also concerned about loot boxes due to the fact that a lot of children play these games and are vulnerable to gambling at an early age. Belgium also states that the only options for games with loot boxes are to remove them entirely from the Belgium version of the game or modify them to display the contents of the box and the chance of how often each player has at receiving an item. The developers would also have to state that loot boxes are a form of gambling in the game if they choose to modify it.

Some consequences that EA might possibly have to face for refusing to modify their loot box system  includes a $800,000 fine for violating Belgium’s gaming commissions’ rules or face 5 years in prison for whoever was involved in the decision of implementing loot boxes into the game. On top of that since the gambling commission also state that minors are involved the fines have the possibility of doubling making EA to possibly pay over one million dollars or 10 years of jail time.

Overall this probably isn’t more of a bump in the road for EA they have already made public the odds of the “card packs” in their FIFA games. They might have done this in attempts to avoid a court case in Belgium all together but even if it goes to court no one is going to go to jail over these loot boxes. EA would most likely just pay the fine if it ever comes done to that. Thanks to EA some countries are asking themselves “Are loot boxes a form of gambling?”

-Charles Schwarz

TV Shows and Sensitivity: How Should Television Address Difficult Topics?

In our divisive political world, television production teams are trying more and more to send their message and address controversial topics. Because, when done right, TV shows can get people talking, spark positive cultural change, and boost ratings. As with anything, there is a right and wrong way to tackle sensitive issues. If done wrong, this can lead to television shows receiving criticism, poor ratings, or possibly being pulled off the air or canceled.

TV Shows Different types of television networks have different levels of content regulation. The most regulated of the types of networks is the broadcast networks. These include channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Most of these networks’ shows, while they may address serious topics, still maintain the lighter tone that their networks establish.

Basic Cable channels are a step above broadcast networks, and they have a little more free range when it comes to dealing with more sensitive topics. Channels under this category include FX and AMC, which include more content for adults, compared to the content found on broadcast channels. Paid Cable networks and Streaming are the least regulated of the networks. These include cable channels like HBO and Showtime, and Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

In early 2018, Paramount Network, a basic cable network, planned to air a television remake of the 1989 cult classic film “Heathers.” The movie’s plot revolves around Veronica Sawyer, her love interest, Jason Dean (JD), and her so-called friend group “the Heathers.” The story involves Veronica and JD plotting the deaths of popular students at their school, depicting gun violence amongst students and bullying. While this sort of satire worked in the 1980s in a pre-Columbine world, taking on a story of this magnitude should be done so with caution. On top of the subject matter, Paramount cast the main antagonists (the Heathers) and minorities, including Heather Chandler as plus-sized, Heather Duke as gender-queer, and Heather Macnamara as black, which many interpreted as the producers villainizing these types of people. After months of delay due to several school shootings in 2018, Paramount decided to air nine episodes of “Heathers” on their network over the course of five days in October.

Netflix is a powerhouse when it comes to their original content. With executive producer Selena Gomez and based on a popular novel, “Thirteen Reasons Why” fit what makes Netflix Originals successful. After the initial release of the series, it received mixed reviews. Some said the show brought awareness to the affects of bullying and argued it was thought-provoking and would change how people think about their actions. Others felt it glorified suicide with the idea of creating these “tapes” for people that made life bad for them as a sort of revenge and punishment. The idea of leaving these tapes also sparked a meme in the online community, which did not help their cause. While season one was based on the book, season two, and the recently green-lit season three, are both original and continue where the first leaves off in a post-Hannah Baker world.

TV Shows

ABC is known for their more family-friendly content, as their parent company is media powerhouse Disney. “Black-ish” follows a successful black man in the suburbs and his middle-class family. The story portrays the life of a group of people that up until recently, was not portrayed on television. The show is considered a comedy, but does not shy away from sensitive topics, especially those relating to the black community, such as police brutality. The show also addressed the results of the 2016 election, which shocked many. Despite addressing divisive political topics, the ratings have remained good and this fall, the show entered its fifth season.

In all, it is not the severity of the topics that a television show chooses to talk about. Different shows may depict the same issue, one may do a good job and approach the topic from all angles and with sensitivity. Others, if done incorrectly, may result in controversy over their television show, which could result in various consequences, such as poor ratings, boycotts, or being canceled by the network. It is important to use common sense and do research before addressing a divisive issue. While it is great to get people talking about these important issues, if television series are going to use their voices to bring important ideas to the table, they need to do it the right way. How should television networks bring sensitive topics to light without offending audiences? Should television avoid tackling divisive topics all together? Do you think there are certain topics that should remain off-limits?

-Gabby Leitner

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Failure – The Ongoing Struggle of DC Comics in Film

Cinematic universes. The goldmine idea of having crossover movies that Marvel Studios has taped to create a film empire that other film studios try to replicate. While many cinematic universe projects like Universal’s Dark Universe or Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man usually fail and fizzle out after two movies, Warner Bros and the DC Comics superhero films have held on, for better or worse.

After a failed first attempt in 2011 with Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern, Warner Bros decided to try again with cinematic universes in 2013 with the Superman film Man of Steel. This film would mark a new era of DC Comics films after Christopher Nolan’s beloved Batman trilogy came to an end. This universe was to be carried by the vision of director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), and producer Charles Roven. 

DC Comics Man of Steel starred Henry Cavill  and was released to moderate success, making roughly over $600, and being generally accepted by viewers and critics. Warner Brothers then announced a sequel featuring a new Batman portrayed by Ben Affleck would be released along with an entire slate of movies featuring projects like The Flash and Justice League sequels.

In 2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released and critically panned, with audiences and critics not enjoying the dark and grittier tone of the movie compared to the competing Marvel films. Suicide Squad also released to more critically panned reviews. Regular audience viewers were more approving of the film however, pushing the film to make over $700 million dollars (surprisingly making more than Man of Steel and almost matching Batman v Superman). This would set in motion the deep changes that were to come for the DC universe.

Wonder Woman, seeming now like lightning in a bottle, leapt into the box office and did extremely well, being loved by both fans and critics. It was hopeful, optimistic, fun, and wasn’t trying hard to build a franchise. Suddenly, the dark and gritty vision of the Justice League that Zack Snyder had started filming was looking problematic. During this time, Charles Roven left his position of looking over the DC films and instead handed the reins over to comic book writer Geoff Johns and producer Jon Berg.

DC Comics

The success of Wonder Woman and audience response to Suicide Squad split DC into a couple different directions. Films not previously announced on the film slate were announced left and right, mainly focusing on different Harley Quinn spin offs. Other projects, like The Flash, were suddenly trapped in production hell, as rumors of actors like Ben Affleck wanting to leave the franchise grew amongst other studio meddling stories. Zack Snyder while working on Justice League was suddenly replaced by Avengers director Joss Whedon. This move on Warner Bros part was likely to infuse the light and hopefulness that Marvel films and Wonder Woman were able to provide.

Justice League was released to negative reviews and numerous controversies and stories, ranging from Henry Cavill having a CGI mouth due to reshooting with a mustache and entire important chunks of film being removed due to a Warner Bros mandate to keep the film under 2 hours. It was also the lowest grossing box office film of any DC film so far in the series. This heavy blow began another restructure of DC, with Jon Berg and Geoff Johns leaving their roles, and being replaced by Walter Hamada.

Currently, DC films is different. Superman star Henry Cavill has recently left the role, and Ben Affleck’s part as Batman is up in the air. All DC projects are to be lighter and hopeful. They also are creating solo films that aren’t connected, differing from Marvel. Personally, as a huge fan of the initial film Man of Steel and these characters in general, it’s sad to see everything fall apart. I followed these films religiously, but have become numb to the idea of them being anything great. What do you think? Should Warner Bros have continued to try and build up this franchise, or should they have found their own avenue?

-Tarrell Christie

Disney Play: Yay or Nay?

Coming in 2019 is the new Disney streaming service to be known as Disney Play. Imagine Netflix or Hulu, except everything Disney. No, it won’t be completely full of Princess movies and cartoons, as it will also contain everything else that Disney owns. Movies and content from the Marvel Universe, Lucasfilms, and 21st Century Fox will all be featured on Disney Play, as well as some original content that will be sporadically produced. So whether you like it or not, say goodbye to Disney content on Netflix, and say hello to Disney content on the all new Disney Play.

Disney Play All Disney content will be removed from Netflix within the next few years. The majority will be removed in 2018, but a few films in the Marvel Universe will remain on Netflix until later in 2019. Disney is very excited about breaking into the streaming service world, where it will compete directly with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Disney already owns 60% of Hulu so some may ask why they feel the need to create their own streaming platform. The answer is that Disney felt the need to put their own brand name out there in a streaming crazed world. Although the new service will take precedence, there will still be plenty of Disney owned content that will appear on Hulu.

One of the promises that Disney CEO, Bob Iger, made to the world when announcing Disney Play was that it would be a cheaper streaming service than Netflix. The cheapest package that Netflix offers is $8. Based on Iger’s claims, expect Disney Play to be less than that. Having a cheap streaming service is obviously a great way to attract business. However, depending on how low the price actually is, some may start to question the fact that the service is so cheap and maybe raise an eyebrow at the content that is being offered.  So how cheap can Disney Play be? I guess we will find out come 2019.

Disney PlayAnother way that Disney plans on bringing in subscribers is with original content it will produce occasionally. The first movie that will be featured on Disney Play is called “Timmy Failure.” The movie will be based on the book that was written by Stephan Pastis. The movie carries a $42 million budget and will be premiered on Disney Play in 2019. Other original content that will be featured is a new Star Wars series called “The Mandalorian” that will be exclusive to Disney Play. The series is a 10-part series that carries a $100 million budget. Disney hopes that the big name series will excite Star Wars fans worldwide and bring in more subscribers. (Here is the first known picture of the new series “The Mandalorian”.)

Disney Play still has plenty of unknowns and what ifs. Details revolving around the new streaming service have been kept pretty secret since the idea was announced in 2017. I would expect more info to be released as the kickoff date approaches. There are many speculations about Disney Play but few will know until it is actually right in front of us.

I am really interested in seeing how successful Disney Play will be. With limited content compared to other streaming services, Disney Play will be up against some heavy competition in the streaming world, but that does not scare Disney chief Bob Iger. Iger seems to be very confident of what Disney can do, and he looks forward to watching Disney Play kickoff. So I ask you, what do you think? Disney Play: yay or nay?

– Christian Ellsworth

UNI Digital Media Students Head to NAB Radio Show in Orlando!

Today’s the day! The University of Northern Iowa’s Digital Media students are off to this year’s NAB Radio Show! Professor Torre will be accompanying this years participants: Monica Cruise, Kaylee Daniels, Nick Langel, Gabrielle Leitner, Brandon Lynch, and Rachel Renes to the Show in Orlando, Florida. All of the participants are interested in careers in the digital media world, and conventions like this are great opportunities for students to learn more about the industry.

NAB Radio Show

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Radio Show is an annual trade show that keeps producers and consumers in the radio industry up to par with the new things happening today like Podcasts, interactive advertisements, etc. At this convention there will be guest speakers, performances by popular singers, and booths with information about companies in the industry.

Before heading to the Radio Show, we each created a presentation about some aspect of the radio industry to share with each other. We learned about the history of radio and where it started to new technology hoping to make a step into the industry, like interactive ads. We also learned about advertisements and how important they are in the radio world.

We created a short video about what we are most excited about going into this trip:

While on this trip we want to document our adventure and what we have learned so we assigned roles for everyone so that we all are able to participate in this group project, but also do what we enjoy and create a journey shown through digital media. We have a production group, which is in charge of getting video from the Radio Show and content to put all together at the end. We have some questions we are wanting to ask some of the presenters and employers at the booths to get and learn more information on a one-on-one level. We also have a social media group to provide exciting content throughout the trip. To stay updated you can follow us @DigitalMediaUNI on Facebook and Twitter!

On behalf of the UNI Digital Media participants in this year’s NAB Radio Show, we want to give a big thank you to Professor Torre for taking us on this trip, and to the Iowa Broadcasters Association for supporting this great opportunity to gain experience in the industry!

-Monica Cruise

NAB 2018: Broadcasting and Beyond!

The moment has come and gone. The 2018 National Association of Broadcasters show was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. From April 9 through 11,  a group of ten Digital Media students from the University of Northern Iowa ventured to this brightly lit city to experience and learn all that is new and progressing in the media industry. Panels about the creation of a major movement for film, question and answer sessions with famous cinematographers, educational panels about new and advancing technologies greeted us, and that didn’t include all the exhibits and companies showcasing their products and networks.

NAB 2018

On April 9th, a series of panels, titled the Creative Masters Series, spoke about the ever-changing methods that are defining the film industry. The opening panel, discussed the recent Marvel superhero film, Black Panther, and the process of making a superhero film like no other. Editor Michael P. Shawver, sound designer Steve Boeddeker, and visual effects supervisor Geoffrey Baumann answered questions about the process of creating such a culturally involved film, as well as explaining the details of creating the Marvel blockbuster. The three guests showed pieces from the film that best explained their creative process.

The second panel was a question and answer panel focusing on the director of photography, Janusz Kaminski, known for his work with many films directed by Steven Spielberg, like Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, BFG, and Ready Player One. It was eye opening experience to sit in on the discussion focusing on how cinematography has changed through the years. Kaminski talked about how quickly the technology has changed, and the different tactics used to create those scenes and shots that made these films. He explained how cinematography is an art form more than anything else, showing clips of his works that further explained his process for each movie. His shared his distaste for using CGI, and the struggles a cinematographer faces with visual effects technology.

The final panel of the Creative Master Series was titled “Jessica Jones: The Art of Darkness,” with panelists, Melissa Rosenberg, the series creator, executive producer and showrunner, Tony D’Amore, the series colorist, encore, and Manuel Billeter, the director of photography. This panel brought to light how the Netflix Marvel series itself has changed the concept of the original superhero movie through a darker plot, encompassing the strength of the female protagonist. Each panel gave insight into the film industry and the changes being made in creating  new stories.

All of the exhibits gave way to an experience of a lifetime. Being able to see all the new products that have recently came out and are coming soon to the world of broadcasting. When visiting the exhibitor hall you get a new experience at every booth. One exhibitor hall focused on the technology, with a lot of sound boards, cameras, drones, and virtual reality equipment displayed allowing viewers to mess around with the products themselves.

The NAB Show allowed ten UNI Digital Media students to see and attend sessions and panels discussing a wide range of topics. They saw and met with exhibitors from all around the world, and were given a chance to look into the world of digital media a little closer. There were hands on exhibits showcasing virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and sports broadcasting. The world of digital media is always changing, which means our students are always learning!

-Taylor Horvatich

NAB 2018: Immersing Fans in Sports Broadcasting

Sports have always been a major cornerstone of America’s favorite past time. It’s one of the best forms of entertainment and engagement for millions of people. There were a number of sports exhibitors at this years NAB Show: Sportradar, FOX Sports, Neilson eSports, NBC Sports Digital & Playmaker Media, Glory Sports International, Fan Controlled Football League, and more. They were all there to demonstrate their upcoming tech in the online sports industry.

Not only has the world of sports been changing greatly, but the way we deliver and showcase this content has revamped the way we become immersed in the game. Here are some of the things we got to experience and hear at the NAB Show!

NAB 2018 SportsWatching sports has always brought up-close action directly to fans. This has all been done with new tech, trends, production quality, non-stop sports coverage, social media, etc. Loyal fans demand only the best quality video, anywhere, at anytime. This has set new challenges for online sports agencies and how they deliver content. It has to set the new bar for quality entertainment and action that all fans can really get immersed in.

At the session “Speed, Position, Power – Connecting Today’s Sports Fans with Data” a panelist from Sportradar discussed the importance of small details that can be delivered to the audience in ways that make huge impacts on the way we watch sports. Not only data that we get from the action of the plays, but the action happening behind the scenes and in between plays. They showcased their website design and how it could take tremendous amounts of data and compress it to the point where fans have easy access to what they want to see from their favorite sports team.

Many announcements of new ways of delivering sports content were made through the week at NAB. But there was one whole brand new way to actually be part of the sports team. Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) announced that will officially launch early of 2019 with their newest partner, Twitch. It’s the very first of its kind of interactive sports game platform.

NAB 2018 Sports 2

Real football teams ran by the fans. They control the plays, roster, and earn fan tokens throughout season. All of this is done in real time using the Twitch platform. “This is the closest you can get to managing your own football team. For the first time ever, fans actually control what they want to see.” This new type of sports platform will become the next big leap forward for the world of sports and the way we engage with it.

NAB 2018 Sports 3

So next time you sit down with the bag of chips on the couch and tune into the sports channel, be ready for some of the newest advancements in the world of sports entertainment. Between the content that is being delivered, the data being researched, or even the way fans play the game, sports will continue to be one of America’s most enjoyable pastimes.

-Nick Langel