Disney's Marketing and Hannah Montana

Page 1

INTRO TO MEDIA RESEARCH Disney, Cross Promotion, and Hannah Montana

Mary Cryer Spring 2009

Holtzman â—† MEDC 3190-01


INTRO TO MEDIA RESEARCH Disney, Cross Promotion, and Hannah Montana Mary Cryer MEDC 3190-01 Spring 2009

Cast photo; Guest stars the Jonas Brothers; CD cover; scene from episode, Minnie and Miley DISNEY’S SYNOPSIS OF “HANNAH MONTANA” Direct from Disney Channel’s Web site: “Hannah Montana” AKA Miley Stewart is the hippest 16-year-old transfer from Tennessee to Malibu. Her older brother Jackson and songwriter father Robby made the big move with her a few years ago. With her best friends Lilly and Oliver, they weave and navigate the tangled web of school life—from getting good grades to impressing her crush, to being accepted by the various social haves and have-tos! As awkward as Miley sometimes feels as a teenager, she undergoes a transformation when performing on stage. Miley’s classmates are totally out of the know when it comes to her double life as pop singer Hannah Montana. She travels the world, entertaining fans with the music written by her manager who’s also her dad. Miley lives a life that any kid dreams to have. While the glamour and fame does have its perks—limousines, cool clothes, and hanging out with celebrities—Miley most wants to be treated like any other teenager and experience the typical life led by her peers. (DisneyChannel.com). Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

1

Background

1

Hypothesis

1

Literature Review

1

Overview

1

Marketing Techniques

2

Franchise-Building

3

Media Theories

4

Media Effects

6

Conclusion

7

Data Reporting

8

Section I: Sample Gathering and Background

8

Section II: Content Analysis

9

Table 1: Summary of “Hannah Montana” Episodes Viewed on the Disney Channel

9

Table 2: Promotional Breaks During “Hannah Montana” Episodes

9

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Table 3: Summary of Number of Promotions Featuring Disney Personalities

10

Table 4: Summary of Number of Disney Personalities Featured In Each Promotion

11

Table 5: Summary of the Type of Disney Interest Being Promoted

11

Table 6: Summary of Number of Times Each Promotion Aired

12

Table 7: Summary of Promotions That Have Ties to Licensed Merchandise

12

Table 9: Summary of Age of Disney Personalities Featured In Promotions

13

Section III: Tendency Table 10: Summary of Disney Personalties’ Characteristics/Traits

Character Traits Analysis

14 14

15

Data Analysis

19

Summary

23

Appendix

24

Content Analysis Promotional Breaks Codebook

24 24

Epilogue

31

WORKS CITED

33

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Cryer 1 INTRODUCTION B a c k g ro und The consolidation of various media companies into a small number of corporations has allowed media companies to reach a target audience by promoting a show “across the corporate spectrum” (Weinman ¶5). Through the use of cross-promotion and by replaying a show several times a day on its cable network, “Disney can hammer a show into the public consciousness without having to expend much effort on the show itself” (Weinman ¶5). The result is an arguably foolproof marketing strategy for “Hannah Montana” where young girls idolize the star of the show and her two identities. This helps promoters sell double the merchandise by spawning toys and other products for both characters (Weinman ¶3). This is a brilliant approach that has paid big for the Walt Disney Corporation. H y p o t h e s is Disney uses cross-promotion and narrowcasting in television programs, such as “Hannah Montana,” as a tool to market merchandise to tweens rather than solely to entertain them. LITERATURE REVIEW Overview In order to address Disney Corporation’s impact in the realm of media communication, historical background information, media theories, and marketing techniques will be presented. It will be suggested that Disney targets audiences for a specific purpose: to sell merchandise. More precisely, the Disney Channel program “Hannah Montana” was created with the objective of

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Cryer 2 selling licensed merchandise via Disney Consumer Products. The target demographic for “Hannah Montana” marketing is preteen girls between the ages of six and twelve years. The Disney Channel is one of the most-watched basic cable networks for children, and the network’s program, “Hannah Montana,” is the most popular show for children 6-14 years old (Ebenkamp §2 ¶2). Because it has this audience, the Disney Channel uses its own airwaves to cross-promote programming, merchandise, and movies to this highly sought-after demographic. While there is no paid advertising on the channel, there is constant marketing—all directed at children. Specifically, preteen or “tween” girls are the target audience. This literature review will discuss the techniques used by marketers to reach the tween demographic, and how Albert Bandura’s social learning theory is apparent in this marketing practice. Special attention will be placed on Disney Channel’s constant marketing, various forms of cross promotion, characters created specifically to build a franchise, and the effects of this on preteen girls. Marketing Techniques Disney’s first and most dominant marketing technique is cross promotion. Media Literacy scholar Art Silverblatt defines this as presenting media programs “for the sole purpose of promoting other holdings within the corporate empire” (73). Rather than paid commercial advertisements, the Disney Channel audience sees promotions for other Disney programming, music CDs, DVDs, theatrical releases, and the Disney Web site. Although viewers may not realize it, Disney only promotes its own products, franchises, and media outlets. Furthermore, through personal observation, it is apparent the media powerhouse uses its own stars to present

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Cryer 3 information to the audience about upcoming Disney events, DVD releases, concert tours, online games, and made-for-TV movies. The Disney Channel also uses narrowcasting to reach its desired audience of tween girls. Narrowcasting is a media device used “to direct messages at specialized interests [and] groups,” including traits such as age and gender (Silverblatt 476). Disney focuses on narrowcasting rather than broadcasting to identify the audience, which allows producers to customize each presentation to a specific group of people (Silverblatt 58). Tween girls are the most prominent and profitable group for Disney, so this group is targeted most. Although there are more media outlets to choose from, only a few large companies control them (Dotson & Hyatt 36; Calvert 205). Disney is one of the top five media organizations, a group which also includes Newsgroup, AOL-Time Warner, Universal Vivendi, and Viacom (Dotson & Hyatt 36). This creates an opportunity for media conglomerates to crosspromote programming and products across many platforms (Dotson & Hyatt 36; Calvert 205). This cross promotion means consumers are likely to constantly receive commercial messages, whether they realize it or not (Dotson & Hyatt 36). Franchise-Building Disney is determined to build commodities out of entertainment media. Steven Ekstract, publisher of trade magazine License Global, said, “Disney creates brands. And they tapped into the zeitgeist of the tween girl marketplace” (Lieberman 4B). Seventeen magazine’s entertainment director, Carissa Rosenberg, said, “Miley Cyrus herself is a brand, not just Hannah Montana” (Ebenkamp §2 ¶3). Other successful Disney franchises are “High School Musical,” “Cheetah Girls,” and “Camp Rock” (Levin 1D). Its first tween hit was “Lizzie McGuire” in Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 4 2001, which spun off into a movie, clothing line, and other merchandise (Levin 1D). In 2006, Disney Channel producers created a show aimed at tween girls, or those between six and twelve years of age (Stanley 14). The show was a huge hit, and as a result, megastar and multi-million dollar brand name “Hannah Montana” was born. “Hannah Montana” merchandise includes fashion dolls, child-sized guitars, apparel, sleepwear, accessories, bedding, room décor, costumes, footwear, personal care products, video games, board games, school supplies, electronics, books, music CDs, lunch boxes, stationery, and breakfast cereal (Disney Consumer Products). Disney’s licensed merchandise was the top seller in 2007, with sales in excess of $26 billion (“Strong Sales”). The next closest top-selling brands, Phillips-Van Huesen and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, brought in $6.7 billion and $6 billion, respectively (“Strong Sales”). In addition to reaching the tween market, Disney has created preschool programming for children who have not yet entered elementary school. The Disney Princesses are just one example of licensed characters marketed to preschoolers. Others include Woody and Buzz from the Toy Story films and Lightning McQueen from the hit movie Cars. The motive behind this is to entice parents and children alike to watch family friendly programming. Once the target audience is reached, the related merchandise sells itself. Media Theories Albert Bandura’s social learning theory says individuals mimic the behavior patterns and actions of others based on individuals’ observation of others. Bandura suggests “most of the behaviors that people display are learned … through the influence of example” (qtd. in Atkin 513). Such observational learning is most prevalent among children. For example, when a child Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 5 sees violent behavior rewarded, as in Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment, the child will likely imitate violent behavior (“Social Learning”). A child who sees punishment for such behavior will probably not repeat it. In the case of Disney, the producers of “Hannah Montana” have created a character within another character. The regular, normal young teenager, Miley Stewart (portrayed by Miley Cyrus) is an average girl by day, but transforms to rock star Hannah Montana by night. However, she keeps her pop star identity secret, with only her closest friends and family knowing of her double life. Within the show, fans flock to see Hannah Montana concerts, buy her music, and even imitate the pop star by dressing up as Hannah—complete with a signature blonde wig and accessories. In the real world, parents rush to buy tickets to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concerts and spend money on everything “Hannah Montana.” Viewers are exposed to the frenzy over the Hannah Montana character on the program, and repeat the behavior in reality when a new Hannah Montana CD is released or a concert tour is announced. While Disney constantly cross-promotes its own programming—even having the character of Hannah Montana make an appearance on another tween-centered Disney show, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”—the hit show “Hannah Montana” creates an opportunity for Disney to promote the musical career of its star, Miley Cyrus, under the guise of the program itself. Disney’s music label can then release a music CD and a concert DVD, which all ties back to the television show. The CD and DVD are then marketed during programming breaks. It is a cycle that repeats over and over. Clearly, Disney knows exactly what it is doing.

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Cryer 6 Additionally, Bandura’s social cognitive theory of mass communication applies to Disney’s intentions with regard to its programming. In this theory, Bandura says, “Human selfdevelopment, adaptation, and change are embedded in social systems. Therefore, personal agency operates within a broad network of sociostructural influences” (Bandura 2). In other words, one’s personal actions and choices are influenced by those around him or her, and vice versa. Individuals are both the producers and products of their surroundings (Bandura 2). Because children tend to repeat what they see, they are easily influenced by friends and family members. If a girl’s best friend likes “Hannah Montana,” chances are she will like “Hannah Montana,” too. Media Effects Merchandise tie-ins have created consumers out of children. Younger kids are spending their own money, their parents’ money, or both, on brand-named merchandise (Dotson & Hyatt 35). During the 1990s, direct spending by children tripled in the United States, and had increased significantly during the previous 30 years (Dotson & Hyatt 35). In 1968, children aged 4-12 years spent approximately $2.2 billion of their own money, but that figure reached in excess of $51.8 billion by 2006 (Dotson & Hyatt 35). In addition to spending their own money, children have increasingly shaped their parents’ expenditures (Dotson & Hyatt 35). By about two years of age, the majority of children think of brands as items (e.g. Cheerios becomes a general term for all cereal), and brand names develop into a tool to identify objects (McNeal 202). By the age of four, children develop a sort of brand-loyalty, evaluating the brand they have been exposed to against another brand (McNeal 203). The key for media communicators is to tap into this market early enough to create such loyalty. Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 7 The three main objectives of marketing to children are “to directly seek children as customers, to work indirectly on parents through children’s ‘pester power,’ [and] to imprint the younger generation with positive brand associations” (Dotson & Hyatt 36). Furthermore, achieving these objectives becomes easier for the marketer because of the amount of “discretionary income” children have today (Calvert 205). In essence, marketers want to turn children into consumers. Walt Disney himself was quick to realize that his Disneyland theme park had the capacity to sell food and merchandise along with family entertainment (Bryman 33). Today’s Disney parks are no different, as they are “full of shops and restaurants to the extent that many writers argue that their main purpose … is precisely the selling of a variety of goods and food” (Bryman 33). Conclusion The hypothesis presented in this study is that Disney’s skillful use of narrowcasting, along with its ability to cross-promote its programming and products, make the television program “Hannah Montana” a tool for Disney to market licensed merchandise to tweens rather than solely to entertain them. Primary research will be conducted, including a detailed content analysis on the subject of Disney Channel programming. The occurrences of cross-promotion and signs of narrowcasting will be examined to analyze the motive and the effects of such marketing strategies.

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Cryer 8 DATA REPORTING Section I: Sample Gathering and Background In the content analysis of “Hannah Montana,” the show, and in particular promotional message breaks during the show, were examined for patterns of cross-promotion and narrowcasting. Additionally, evidence of a connection between the promotional break and related licensed merchandise (e.g. toys, video games, DVDs) were considered. The hypothesis of this project is that Disney uses cross-promotion and narrowcasting in television programs, such as “Hannah Montana,” as a tool to market merchandise to tweens rather than solely to entertain. The program “Hannah Montana” is a Disney Channel series targeted to tween girls, between 6-14 years of age. The show is about a young teenager named Miley Stewart who is a typical teenager by day, but she lives a secret life as pop star Hannah Montana by night. Miley goes to a high school where the majority of her classmates are unaware of her secret identity. Only two of her closest friends at school know she is Hannah Montana, along with Miley’s immediate family members. To become Hannah, Miley dons a blonde wig and wears flashy clothing and jewelry to disguise her appearance. At school, however, Miley is low key and has only two close friends. The three are outsiders, considered to be uncool by their peers. If her classmates knew Miley was really Hannah Montana, she would likely be the most popular girl in school because most of her classmates are Hannah Montana fans. Six episodes of the program were chosen at random according to the television schedule obtained. During each episode, two promotions were analyzed for a total of twelve.

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Cryer 9 Section II: Content Analysis Table 1: Summary of “Hannah Montana” Episodes Viewed on the Disney Channel Day Aired

Episode Title

Time Aired

Mon. 04/06/2009

It’s My Party and I’ll Lie If I Want To

9:00 pm (CST)

Tue. 04/07/2009

Grandmas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Play Favorites

5:00 pm (CST)

Tue. 04/07/2009

Oh Say, Can You Remember the Words?

5:30 pm (CST)

Tue. 04/07/2009

You Didn’t Say It’s Your Birthday

6:00 pm (CST)

Tue. 04/07/2009

He Ain’t A Hottie, He’s My Brother

6:30 pm (CST)

Wed. 04/15/2009

The Idol Side of Me

9:30 pm (CST)

The above sample included six episodes of the 30-minute television series, “Hannah Montana,” aired on the Disney Channel. The six episodes were taped on April 6, April 7, and April 15. Table 2: Promotional Breaks During “Hannah Montana” Episodes Date/Time of Episode

What Was Being Promoted?

Category

At least one Disney Personality Featured?

04/06/2009 - 9:00 PM Disney TV series “Sonny With A Chance”

TV Series

yes

04/06/2009 - 9:00 PM New Disney TV series “Jonas”

TV Series

yes

04/07/2009 - 5:00 PM New Disney TV movie Hatching Pete

Movie

yes

04/07/2009 - 5:00 PM Disney Web site Web Site “YayMeStarringLondonTipton. com”

yes

04/07/2009 - 5:30 PM Movie trailer for Disney/Pixar upcoming film Up

Movie

yes

04/07/2009 - 5:30 PM Disney TV movie Cadet Kelly

Movie

yes

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Cryer 10 Date/Time of Episode

What Was Being Promoted?

Category

At least one Disney Personality Featured?

04/07/2009 - 6:00 PM Music video for song featured in movie Hatching Pete

Music/Movie Soundtrack

yes

04/07/2009 - 6:00 PM New Disney TV series “Jonas”

TV Series

yes

04/07/2009 - 6:30 PM Disney TV movie Cadet Kelly

Movie

yes

04/07/2009 - 6:30 PM New Disney TV series “Jonas”

TV Series

yes

04/15/2009 - 9:30 PM “What A Life” feature

Other

no

04/15/2009 - 9:30 PM New Disney TV movie Hatching Pete

Movie

yes

To obtain the sample of promotions to analyze, the first promotion of the first break, and the last promotion of the second break were chosen for each of the six episodes of “Hannah Montana.” Of the twelve promotions, eleven—or nearly 92 percent—featured at least one Disney personality (an actor, character, or music artist featured in at least one Disney production). Table 3: Summary of Number of Promotions Featuring Disney Personalities Is Disney Personality In Promotion?

Raw Number

Percentage

Yes

11

91.7%

No

1

8.3%

Other

0

0.0%

Cannot Code

0

0.0%

12

100.0%

TOTAL

Disney personalities were featured in the majority of the promotions, or nearly 92 percent of the total analyzed. Only 8 percent did not feature a Disney actor, character, or music artist in the promotion. Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 11 Table 4: Summary of Number of Disney Personalities Featured In Each Promotion Number of Personalities

Raw Number

Percentage

Zero

1

8.3%

1-2

5

41.7%

3-4

6

50.0%

4+

0

0.0%

Other

0

0.0%

Cannot Code

0

0.0%

12

100.0%

TOTAL

Of the promotions, half of them featured three or four Disney personalities. Nearly 42 percent featured one or two, while only 8 percent did not feature a Disney personality. Table 5: Summary of the Type of Disney Interest Being Promoted Category

Raw Number

Percentage

TV Series

4

33.3%

Movie

5

41.8%

Music/Movie Soundtrack

1

8.3%

Web Site

1

8.3%

Cannot Code

1

8.3%

12

100.0%

TOTAL

Of the various Disney interests promoted during breaks, about one-third were for other Disney Channel television series, and almost 42 percent were for Disney films. A Web site promoting the Disney Channel television series “Suite Life On Deck” accounted for 8 percent, while music from a Disney movie soundtrack also made up 8 percent of the promotions analyzed.

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Cryer 12 Table 6: Summary of Number of Times Each Promotion Aired Promotion

Related Merchandise

Times Aired

Percentage

“Sonny With A Chance”

yes

1

8.3%

“Jonas”

yes

3

25.0%

Hatching Pete

yes

2

16.7%

YayMeStarringLondonTipton.com

yes

1

8.3%

Trailer for Up

yes

1

8.3%

Cadet Kelly

yes

2

16.7%

Music video from movie Hatching Pete

yes

1

8.3%

“What A Life”

no

1

8.3%

12

100.0%

TOTAL

There were a total of eight different promotions run during the six episodes of “Hannah Montana.” Two of the promotions were aired twice, while one promotion was aired three times. The remainder were each aired one time over the span of six episodes. Table 7: Summary of Promotions That Have Ties to Licensed Merchandise Ties to Licensed Merchandise

Raw Number

Percentage

Yes

11

91.7%

No

1

8.3%

12

100.0%

TOTAL

Of the twelve promotions analyzed, eleven have related merchandise, such as DVDs, CDs, apparel, books, and video games. However, the merchandise was not mentioned during the promotional spots. Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 13 Table 8: Summary of Gender of Disney Personalities Featured In Promotions Gender

Raw Number

Male

Percentage 16

59.3%

Female

9

33.3%

Fictional/Animated

2

7.4%

Cannot Code

0

0.0%

27

100.0%

TOTAL

Of the Disney personalities featured in the promotions, about 59 percent were male, 33 percent were female, and over 7 percent were animated characters. Table 9: Summary of Age of Disney Personalities Featured In Promotions Age

Raw Number

Percentage

Child (5-8)

0

0.0%

Tween (9-12)

0

0.0%

21

77.8%

Young Adult (19-24)

3

11.1%

Adult (25+)

1

3.7%

Other

0

0.0%

Cannot Code

2

7.4%

27

100.0%

Teenager (13-18)

TOTAL

Of the Disney personalities, a vast majority were teenagers, or nearly 78 percent of the total. Young adults were featured in 11 percent of the promotions, and only about 4 percent featured an adult over 25 years of age.

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Cryer 14 Section III: Tendency Several characteristics of the Disney personalities featured in each promotion were determined on a Likert scale. Each characteristic is recorded in the following chart. Table 10: Summary of Disney Personalties’ Characteristics/Traits Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Total

Popular

2

5

0

0

0

20

27

Attractive

14

8

2

0

1

2

27

Cool

14

3

2

0

1

7

27

Trendy

1

7

0

0

1

18

27

Thin

1

7

14

0

0

5

27

Happy

6

15

0

2

0

4

27

Confident

15

6

2

0

0

4

27

TOTAL

53

51

20

2

3

60

189

28.1%

26.9%

10.6%

1.1%

1.6%

31.7%

100.0%

%

There were 27 Disney personalities who appeared in the twelve promotional spots analyzed. Likert scales were used to record the occurrence of each trait. Raw numbers for each of the traits analyzed is listed here. Based on the analysis, it was determined that 55 percent displayed very or somewhat positive traits. For example, 14 of the 27 were coded as “very cool,” and 15 of the 27 were “somewhat happy.” Additionally, 10.6 percent displayed average traits (14 of 27 were of average thinness). Only 2.7 percent displayed somewhat negative or negative traits (only one of the 27 was coded “not at all attractive, cool, and trendy”). Nearly one-third (31.7 percent) could not be coded.

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Cryer 15 Character Traits Analysis The next section features pie graphs of each of the character traits listed in Table 10. The graphs show the traits displayed by the Disney personalities as a percentage of the total number of personalities analyzed. The traits observed were related to the hypothesis, and therefore were reviewed for the purposes of this pilot research study. Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Graph 1: Was the Disney Personality Popular?

Very 7.4% Somewhat 18.5%

Cannot Code 74.1%

Popularity: Of the personalities observed, 7.4% were very popular, 18.5% were somewhat, and nearly three-quarters (74.1%) could not be coded.

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Cryer 16 Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Graph 2: Was the Disney Personality Attractive? Cannot Code 7.4% Not At All 3.7% Average 7.4%

Very 51.9%

Somewhat 29.6%

Attractiveness: Of the personalities observed, 51.9% were very attractive, 29.6% were somewhat, 7.4% average, 3.7% were not at all, and 7.4% could not be coded. Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Graph 3: Was the Disney Personality Cool?

Cannot Code 25.9%

Not At All 3.7% Average 7.4% Somewhat 11.1%

Very 51.9%

Coolness: Over half (51.9%) of the personalities were very cool, 11.1% were somewhat, 7.4% were average, 3.7% were not at all, and over one-fourth (25.9%) could not be coded.

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Cryer 17 Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Graph 4: Was the Disney Personality Trendy? Very 3.7%

Somewhat 25.9%

Cannot Code 66.7%

Not At All 3.7%

Trendiness: Only 3.7% of the personalities observed were very trendy, 25.9% were somewhat, 3.7% were not at all, and two-thirds (66.7%) could not be coded. Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Graph 5: Was the Disney Personality Thin? Very 3.7%

Cannot Code 18.5%

Somewhat 25.9%

Average 51.9%

Thinness: Only 3.7% of the Disney personalities were very thin, 25.9% were somewhat, 51.9% were average, and 18.5% could not be coded. Holtzman â—† MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 18 Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Graph 6: Was the Disney Personality Happy?

Cannot Code 14.8% Somewhat Not 7.4%

Very 22.2%

Somewhat 55.6%

Happiness: About 22.2% of the personalities were very happy, 55.6% were somewhat happy, 7.4% were somewhat not happy, and 14.8% could not be coded. Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot Code

Graph 7: Was the Disney Personality Confident?

Cannot Code 14.8% Average 7.4%

Somewhat 22.2%

Very 55.6%

Confidence: Over half (55.6%) of the personalities were very confident, 22.2% were somewhat, 7.4% average, and 14.8% could not be coded.

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Cryer 19

DATA ANALYSIS The purpose of this pilot study is to explore the proposition that Disney’s use of crosspromotion and narrowcasting in the television program, “Hannah Montana,” is a tool to sell merchandise to tweens rather than solely to entertain them. This is potentially significant because this type of marketing may be more insidious than traditional paid commercial advertising. To explore the proposition, the program was analyzed for patterns to determine if there was evidence to support the hypothesis. More importantly, the promotional breaks during the show were reviewed and documented for such patterns. Because the Disney Channel has no paid advertising, breaks in the programming are used to cross promote other Disney interests. Younger viewers of the network’s programming may not understand this as a form of marketing. Therefore, this practice could likely mislead viewers to believe cross promotion is simply part of the program itself. The literature review for this pilot study examined Albert Bandura’s social learning theory, which says individuals mimic the behavior patterns and actions of others based on individuals’ observation of others. Such observational learning is most prevalent among children and occurs when there is an actual or perceived reward for the behavior. In the case of Disney, the producers of “Hannah Montana” have created a character within another character. The regular, normal young teenager, Miley Stewart—portrayed by Miley Cyrus—is an average girl by day, but transforms to rock star Hannah Montana by night. However, she keeps her pop star identity secret, with only her closest friends and family knowing of her double life. Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 20 Within the show, fans flock to see Hannah Montana concerts, buy her music, and even imitate the pop star by dressing up as the pop princess. The same is true in reality, with parents rushing to buy tickets to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concerts and spending money on everything “Hannah Montana.” Viewers are exposed to the frenzy over the Hannah Montana character on the program, and repeat the behavior in reality when a new Hannah Montana CD is released or a concert tour is announced. In the content analysis, a small sample of “Hannah Montana” episodes were chosen randomly, and two promotional breaks from each episode were analyzed. A codebook was created to review whether a Disney personality was featured in promotional spots, and to establish the age and gender of the personality. Additionally, if there was a Disney personality used in the promotion, it was determined if there was a merchandise tie-in for the Disney interest being marketed. Tendencies, such as coolness, popularity and trendiness, were analyzed for the personalities to see if there was a pattern in the types of Disney actors featured in the spots. For example, a promotion for a new television series, “Jonas,” was analyzed three times because of the random sampling technique. The promotion featured a Disney-produced band, the Jonas Brothers, who are popular among the same age group as the target audience for “Hannah Montana.” The new program stars the brothers, who play themselves on the show. Each of the brothers is attractive and appeared to be trendy, popular, and cool within the promotion. This could suggest Disney’s deliberate marketing of “coolness” to tweens in order to promote another Disney television program. Incidentally, the Jonas Brothers appeared as the opening act for the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus “Best of Both Worlds” concert tour, which began late in 2007.

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Cryer 21 The patterns found in this pilot study suggest two things: 1) Disney uses teenagers to market its programming during promotional breaks in “Hannah Montana” to the target audience of girls, ages 6-14 years; and 2) although no paid advertising is aired on the Disney Channel, there seems to be constant marketing of other Disney holdings to the young audience. If the results of this small sample held up in a large scale study, it would likely support the hypothesis presented in this pilot. Secondary research also tends to support the hypothesis. As indicated in this study’s literature review, the three main objectives of marketing to children are “to directly seek children as customers, to work indirectly on parents through children’s ‘pester power,’ [and] to imprint the younger generation with positive brand associations” (Dotson & Hyatt 36). Furthermore, achieving these objectives becomes easier for the marketer because of the amount of “discretionary income” children have today (Calvert 205). In essence, marketers want to turn children into consumers. In addition, although there are more media outlets to choose from, only a few large companies control them (Dotson & Hyatt 36; Calvert 205). Disney is one of the top five media organizations, a group which also includes Newsgroup, AOL-Time Warner, Universal Vivendi, and Viacom (Dotson & Hyatt 36). This creates an opportunity for media conglomerates to crosspromote programming and products across many platforms (Dotson & Hyatt 36; Calvert 205). This cross promotion means consumers are likely to constantly receive commercial messages, whether they realize it or not (Dotson & Hyatt 36). This seems to be a more surreptitious marketing technique than traditional commercials because the audience may not understand the motive behind the cross-promotion. Furthermore,

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Cryer 22 the audience may not realize the extent of Disney’s corporate holdings and therefore may not understand this marketing strategy. Celebrities are used in traditional paid advertisements on a regular basis, but that type of marketing is more obvious than cross-promotion. This study’s literature review also revealed that merchandise tie-ins have created consumers out of children. Younger kids are spending their own money, their parents’ money, or both, on brand-named merchandise (Dotson & Hyatt 35). During the 1990s, direct spending by children tripled in the United States, and had increased significantly during the previous 30 years (Dotson & Hyatt 35). In 1968, children aged 4-12 years spent approximately $2.2 billion of their own money, but that figure reached in excess of $51.8 billion by 2006 (Dotson & Hyatt 35). Along with spending their own money, children have increasingly shaped their parents’ spending habits (Dotson & Hyatt 35). If anything could be changed in this study, it would be to focus on the Disney Channel overall rather than one specific television program. This may help determine if this is a pattern across the board or specific to only one program. Additionally, more attention would be paid to the idea of narrowcasting. While this was part of the hypothesis, little was done during the content analysis to determine if the technique was being used, beyond looking at the age of Disney personalities. This pilot study should be expanded on a bigger scale to analyze more of Disney’s media interests such as films, Web sites, cartoons, DVDs, and video games. If the results of this small study held up in a larger study, it would suggest that Disney is more concerned with marketing products and creating brands than it is entertaining an audience. From the results of the content analysis, it appears there are patterns in the way Disney promotes its interests across various

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Cryer 23 forms of media. For example, Disney Web sites are promoted on its cable network, and Disney merchandise is marketed on Web sites. While this pilot study suggests Disney uses cross promotion tactics to market all its media interests, it is likely not the only media conglomerate to do so. If a study were conducted on Viacom, for example, it would be interesting to find out if such patterns existed across all its media platforms. Knowing so few companies control the majority of all media would likely lead one to believe this to be true. However, unlike the Disney Channel there is paid advertising on Viacom-owned media outlets targeted at children and teenagers, such as cable networks Nickelodeon, Nicktoons Network, and Noggin. An expanded study entailing several different media outlets owned by various media conglomerates would likely identify such patterns if they existed. SUMMARY While it is difficult to prove the network’s intent, the patterns of cross-promotion and narrowcasting discovered in this pilot study suggest the Disney Channel uses its own airwaves to market its products to children. Further research is needed to determine if such marketing tactics should be regulated or if the media giant is pushing the envelope of what is currently legal.

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Cryer 24 APPENDIX C o n t e n t Analysis Promotional Breaks Codebook Hypothesis Disney uses cross-promotion and narrowcasting in television programs, such as Hannah Montana, as a tool to market merchandise to tweens rather than solely to entertain. Definitions • A Disney personality is an actor, actress, singer, or other entertainer who has regularly appeared in Disney films, television programs, and/or music productions. • A promotion is similar to a commercial. However, Disney Channel has no paid advertisements, therefore the breaks within the program are “promotional breaks” rather than “commercial breaks.” Commercials are paid advertisements from outside sources, whereas promotions are not paid for by outside sources. • Popular means well-known, but not necessarily well-liked. Popular characters are those who have a high status in the program and are known—at least by name—by most other characters. • Cool means well-liked, a leader within the group of characters. He or she is admired by other characters, who try to emulate what the cool character does. • Trendy means fashionable or in style, with other characters trying to copy or follow the style of the trendy character. Instructions Answer the questions for each promotional break during episodes of Hannah Montana. During first break, code the first promotion of the break; for the second break, code the last promotion of the break. ATTENTION Break #1, first spot after break in show 1. Title of Hannah Montana episode during which promotion was run: 2. Air date/time: 3. Number of promotional breaks during the episode: 4. Item, product, or event being promoted: Holtzman ◆ MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 25 5. Is there at least one Disney personality (e.g. character, actor, musical artist) featured in the promotion? If yes, answer questions #6 through #8 for each personality, up to five total. 6. Gender: Personality: (a) (b) (c) (d)

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

male female other cannot code

7. Age: Personality: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)

child (5-8) tween (9-12) teenager (13-18) young adult (19-25) adult (25+) other cannot code

8. Race: Personality: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)

White/Caucasian Black/African American Asian/Asian American Latino/Latina/Hispanic American Indian/Native American other cannot code EMPHASIS

9. Amount of time the Disney personality is on screen: (a) 100% Holtzman â—† MEDC 3190-01


Cryer 26 (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)

75-99% 50-74% 25-49% 0-24% other cannot code

10. At what point during the episode did the promotion appear? (a) (b) (c) (d)

beginning (first half of episode) middle (halfway through episode) ending (end of episode) closing (after final scene/ending credits)

11. The promotion was for: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h)

a product a service both a product and a service television program movie (televised or box office) Web site other cannot code TENDENCY

Indicate which traits the main spokesperson possesses or displays during the promotion or by reputation. Average or mixed would be #3. If unable to determine or inapplicable, mark cannot code.

cannot code 12.

2

3

4

Popular cannot code

13.

1

1 Kind

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5 Unpopular

2

3

4

Attractive cannot code

14.

1

5 Unattractive

2

3

4

5 Mean


Cryer 27 cannot code 15.

1

2

3

4

Cool cannot code

16.

1

Nerdy 2

3

4

Trendy cannot code

17.

1

18.

1

2

3

4

19.

1

2

3

4

20.

1

5 Unhappy

2

3

4

Confident cannot code

5 Overweight

Happy cannot code

5 Untrendy

Thin cannot code

5

5 Unconfident

2

3

4

Athletic

5 Not Athletic

Break #2, last spot before returning to show 1. Title of Hannah Montana episode during which promotion was run: 2. Air date/time: 3. Number of promotional breaks during the episode: 4. Item, product, or event being promoted: 5. Is there at least one Disney personality (e.g. character, actor, musical artist) featured in the promotion? If yes, answer questions #6 through #8 for each personality, up to five total.

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Cryer 28 6. Gender: Personality: (a) (b) (c) (d)

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

male female other cannot code

7. Age: Personality: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)

child (5-8) tween (9-12) teenager (13-18) young adult (19-25) adult (25+) other cannot code

8. Race: Personality: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)

White/Caucasian Black/African American Asian/Asian American Latino/Latina/Hispanic American Indian/Native American other cannot code EMPHASIS

9. Amount of time the Disney personality is on screen: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)

100% 75-99% 50-74% 25-49% 0-24% other cannot code

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Cryer 29 10. At what point during the episode did the promotion appear? (a) (b) (c) (d)

beginning (first half of episode) middle (halfway through episode) ending (end of episode) closing (after final scene/ending credits)

11. The promotion was for: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h)

a product a service both a product and a service television program movie (televised or box office) Web site other cannot code TENDENCY

Indicate which traits the main spokesperson possesses or displays during the promotion or by reputation. Average or mixed would be #3. If unable to determine or inapplicable, mark cannot code.

cannot code 12.

1

2

3

4

Popular cannot code

13.

1

Unpopular 2

3

4

Attractive cannot code

14.

1

15.

1

2

3

4

1

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5 Mean

2

3

4

Cool cannot code

5 Unattractive

Kind cannot code

5

5 Nerdy

2

3

4

5


Cryer 30 16.

Trendy cannot code

17.

2

3

4

Thin cannot code

18.

1

19.

1

2

3

4

1 Athletic

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5 Unhappy

2

3

4

Confident cannot code

5 Overweight

Happy cannot code

20.

1

Untrendy

5 Unconfident

2

3

4

5 Not Athletic


Cryer 31 EPILOGUE I pursued this topic for personal reasons. I have an 8-year-old daughter who is a Hannah Montana fan. As a preschooler, she loved the Disney Princesses and Disney’s animated program, “Kim Possible.” She was very much into Disney characters, but I was not sure how she was initially exposed to the characters since I had not introduced them to her. I found it puzzling when she became interested in the characters Cinderella and Snow White because she had never seen either Disney film. However, she had received a Disney Princess toy that featured these characters. Once she had one toy, she wanted her room decorated with Princesses, then she wanted Princess books and dolls, and so on. She was especially fascinated with the character Belle, the princess in the animated film, Beauty and the Beast. To this day she has never seen the film, yet Belle was her absolute favorite. As she got older, I let her watch cartoons on Disney Channel. This is when she moved away from the Princesses toward her next obsession, “Kim Possible.” It was her favorite show and her favorite character for about two years. I bought her Kim Possible t-shirts, pajamas, DVDs, music CDs, posters, and toys. Once she outgrew that, things were quiet for a while. Then all of a sudden, Hannah made her debut. I remember “Hannah Montana” being hyped on Disney Channel while my daughter watched “Kim Possible,” but she never revealed any interest in the show. However, once her friends at school started talking about it, she started watching it as well. Fast forward to the present, and her room is now decorated with Hannah Montana posters, and I made her bedding out of Hannah Montana fabric as a surprise for her eighth birthday. She has a couple DVDs of the show, plus the concert DVD and all the music CDs. She has at least four fashion dolls: two

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Cryer 32 Hannah, one Miley and one Lilly—all characters on the show. She also has several Hannah Montana t-shirts, nightgowns, shoes, hairbrushes, novels, board games, and video games. I admit that I am guilty of buying her things related to Hannah Montana. I shelled out over $100 for two nosebleed tickets to the concert, and sat through the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and her alter ego Hannah Montana—all for my little girl. Other parents did the same thing, as many of her friends went to the concert as well. She doesn’t watch the show very often, mainly because it is on at a time when I do not let either of my children watch television. At this point, it is a relatively harmless “phase” she is going through. Another character will likely replace Hannah in the near future. But, in my opinion, that tends to prove the point of this paper.

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Cryer 33 WORKS CITED Atkin, Charles K. “Children's Social Learning from Television Advertising: Research Evidence on Observational Modeling of Product Consumption.” Advances in Consumer Research 3.1 (January 1976): 513-519. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. 22 February 2009. Bandura, Albert. “Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication.” Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research. 2nd ed. Eds. Bryant, J. and D. Zillman. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001. 22 February 2009 <http://www.fca.pucminas.br/saogabriel/raop/pdf/ social_cognitive_theory.pdf>. Bryman, Alan. “The Disneyization of Society.” Sociological Review 47.1 (February 1999): 25-49. SocINDEX with Full Text. EBSCO. 21 February 2009. Calvert, Sandra L. “Children as Consumers: Advertising and Marketing.” The Future of Children 18.1 (Spring 2008): 205-34. 16 February 2009 <http://www.futureofchildren.org/usr_doc/ Media_08_01.pdf>. DisneyChannel.com. “Hannah Montana: About the Show.” 6 May 2009 <http://tv.disney.go.com/ disneychannel/hannahmontana/characters/index.html>. Path: TV; Hannah Montana; Characters; About the Show. Disney Consumer Products. “Hannah Montana Products Summer 2008.” (Press release). 22 February 2009 <https://enterpriseportal.disney.com/gopublish/sitemedia/dcp/ Home/Press%20Room/Press%20Kits/hannah_montana_factsheet_summer2008.pdf>. Dotson, Michael J. and Eva M. Hyatt. “Major Influence Factors in Children's Consumer Socialization.” The Journal of Consumer Marketing 22.1 (2005): 35-42. ABI/INFORM Global. ProQuest. 19 February 2009.

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Cryer 34 Ebenkamp, Becky. “Hannah and Her Boosters.” Brandweek 43.31 (8 September 2008): M040M042. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 21 February 2009. Levin, Gary. “Cable TV Rides the Tween Wave.” USA Today (27 March 2007). Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 21 February 2009. Lieberman, David. “Pop Culture Pulls In Major Bucks.” USA Today (16 April 2008): 4B. McNeal, James U. The Kids Market: Myths and Realities. Ithaca, NY: Paramount Market Publishing, Inc., 1999. “Social Learning.” New World Encyclopedia. (2 April 2008). 23 February 2009 <http:// www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Observational_learning>. Silverblatt, Art. Media Literacy: Keys to Interpreting Media Messages. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2008. Stanley, T.L. “Disney Channel: A Fresh-Face Factory.” Advertising Age 77.50 (11 December 2006): 14. 23 April 2008 Communication & Mass Media Complete. “Strong Sales for Licensed Merchandise.” USA Today (15 April 2008). 21 February 2009 <http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2008-04-15-licensing-chart_N.htm>. Weinman, Jaime J. “Everybody Loves Hannah Montana.” Maclean's 121.1 (2 January 2008): 72-74. 5 May 2009 <http://www.macleans.ca/culture/entertainment/article.jsp? content=20080102_122706_6640>

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