Media as a Culture of Entertainment

Aside from using or accessing the media for information, we may be more concerned with using or accessing media for its entertainment value. Thus, we purchase various forms of media gadgets or participate in media events (like watching movies at the theater house) mainly to have fun. But this business of fun and games is actually a serious thing to consider. When taken in the context of a specific culture, media becomes a viable business in itself.

We also consider media as part of the creative industries, especially those that produce media products that become a society’s cultural products. A good and popular example of this is the explosion of K-Pop, a term referred to South Korean-produced pop music which is not only popular in its originating culture but also accepted in other cultures. Even if you are American, French, or Filipino and you can’t speak Korean, you still danced to Psy’s catchy song “Gangnam Style,” right? This is an example of a culture-specific media product-in this case music–that crossed over to other cultures in popularity and became a worldwide hit.

Therefore, when discussing media as a cultural product, the concept of media as part of popular culture or pop culture also emerges. Culture is defined as “the sum of those characteristics that identify and differentiate human societies a complex interweaving of many factors. The culture of a nation is made up of its language, history, traditions, climate, geography, arts, social, economic and political norms, and its system of values; and such a nation’s size, its neighbors and its current prosperity condition the nature of its culture.” Thus, as the term suggests, certain media products’ popularity are borne out of specific conditions of a given society.

In the Philippines, the boom of the Filipino-dubbed Mexican telenovelas in the 1990s introduced Filipino soap opera fans to Mexican culture through the program “Marimar” featuring Thalia. In the early 2000s, Asian telenovelas replaced this trend with the emergence of Filipino-dubbed Taiwanese telenovelas. The most popular example of this is the program “Meteor Garden” which catapulted Taiwanese boy band F4 into fame in the country. The late 2000s introduced the Philippines to another Asian export with the emergence of the K-Pop-the Korean telenovela. The Philippine television industry not only showed the original “Koreanovelas” dubbed in Filipino, but specific channels also produced Filipino versions or counterparts of these soap operas. Hollywood films remain as classic examples of popular culture products that are also media products. Emerging from the American culture, these films are then exported and viewed worldwide. The same is true for pop music and other popular media forms that originate from other countries, as well as our own.

When the term first emerged, pop culture referred to mass-produced or mass-oriented entertainment forms, usually suitable to the lower classes’ level of education and artistic exposure (or the lack thereof). Comics and films used to be viewed as such. In this elitist kind of perspective, pop culture was a term used to distinguish it from so-called “high culture” to differentiate entertainment forms suitable for the upper classes (sometimes referred to as “high-brow art” or “high art”). But the development of cultural studies and communication theories has already disproven the “low-brow” concept of pop culture, and it is now considered as a viable subfield of study and critique.