by Mike Masnick

How FCC's Obscenity Crusade Has Become An Advertising Tool

from the and-so-it-goes dept

We've really tried to stay out of the whole question concerning the FCC's recent obsession with obscenity. It does seem like mostly a morality question, rather than a technology/business issue, and questions relating to morality tend to lead to arguments that no one will ever agree on -- and those types of arguments seem like a waste of time. However, with all the hype, Mark Cuban has come up with the most accurate description concerning the FCC's latest anger concerning some random snippet of TV that a few people (and it really does take just a few) complained about. Cuban points out that, just like when people try to ban content they don't like, it only makes that content much, much more interesting to millions of people who wouldn't have seen it before. Except, these days, with TV broadcasters trying to do anything they possibly can to get attention, creating a TV event which will generate complaints becomes a promotional tool. People will complain, the FCC will investigate, but everyone will talk about it. The news will write about it. Blogs will chatter about it. TV gossip shows will replay it, and (of course) it will be downloaded millions of times on the internet. In the end, more people will tune in to see what sort of border you cross next time. The cost? Maybe a small fine from the FCC, which will be tiny compared to the amount of advertising the whole mess provides. Yes, it appears the FCC, in trying to fine obscenity, may have just created a great marketing platform for broadcasters -- and, in the process, guaranteed more material they consider to be "indecent" makes it onto television.

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  • identicon
    Pete, 18 Nov 2004 @ 12:30pm

    The next step?

    The next step in this scheme is for marketers to start filing their own bogus claims of offense with the FCC.
    Take something that really isn't too bad, get a large amount of complaints filed against it, and put the buzz to work?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TJ, 18 Nov 2004 @ 6:42pm

    Couldn't agree more

    The first thing I thought when seeing all this ABC hype is that it was intentionally done in order to create FCC complaints and the related buzz.
    In a way it makes me feel better about the whole Janet Jackson overreaction. It isn't so much the start of a new age of puritanism. It is the real green light for huge media companies to balance viewer excitement against potential fines. Guess what? Turns out that the millions who are excited by the slightest thing are far more of a plus on the balance sheet than the fines are a minus. So bring on the slightly indecent material!
    Though why people who want to be stimulated don't just turn to the global Internet is beyond me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Travis Owens, 19 Nov 2004 @ 8:34am

    No Subject Given

    This is a concept I never thought up, advertisers creating shocking content not to shock you, but because of the choas it sturs which does honestly lead to a massive & free marketing compaign.
    Not an example per se, but the obsession with banning 2 Live Crew back in the 90s made their sales sky rocket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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