Thursday, July 8, 2010

Are creating controversies on TV becoming yet another frequenlty used tool of Public Relations?

Controversy is defined as a disagreement or argument about something important.This element of difference of opinion creates an interest in the issue or the people concerened in it interesting.(Berneys, 1955) defined the function of public relations as using information, persuasion and adjustment to engineer public support for an activity, cause, movement or institution.

So if one of the roles is using all kinds of information to simply gather support and influence the publics then creating news to 'create' controversy cannot be ruled out.If this brings attention to the object of interest!

Are public relations practitioners taking advantage of controversies or 'creating' controversies is debatable. (This subject is analysed keeping in mind the medium of televison) But whatever the case the client gets all the publicity.How interested are the viewers in really analysing the news? Do they really have the time or interest to find out the real issue.Guess not as researchers have pointed out.Berneys (1923) and Dahl (1963) argue that public is guided not only by thought but by emotion and sentiments; this is in case of television as there is more drama, emotions and sentiments portrayed. He also says that people are occupied with families, hobbies and social commitments that they have less time left to inform themselves with issues, so only issues which affect their daliy decsions catches attention.Others simply pass by.So why not show something in these serials and news capsules that which the viewer really needs?

So is it that controversies merely then become short term attention seekers and later the audience forgets about them? Can we then say that controversies may catch attention for a short time but if it is not directly affecting a viewer in any manner he will surely forget it?

This article 'A good controversy leads to good news' says Neeraj Sanan, Vice President, Marketing, Star News surely made me think that should public relations use this tool to catch attention of the viewers in this case televsion serials and news or should the focus be shifted to more content based programmes and news capsules which will anyways draw the attention of the viewer.

How much are controveries needed to 'sell ' programmes and news capsules? This is taking us to a very important area why dont we frequenlty ask the viewers what do they really to like to watch on TV? A need of the hour is an audience survey...are we ready for it?

What is are your views?

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