Thai VS International Media Content
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are consuming your familiar and favourite brands, products or services but they seem similar in some ways but also kind of different when you are consuming them from different parts of the world. You probably are thinking why is that the case? Yes, media contents were intentionally created for specific target audiences that went through the process of audience fragmentation by the media producers.
In this blog, we will be comparing media contents from different media industries to see the similarity and differences and the reason behind them.
Film Industry (Thai vs. Korea)
I was a fan of Thai movies since I was young. My family rented tons of DVDs and played them on television. It was a good old day that a whole family watched and enjoyed it together. The movie that we watched was mostly a comedy, ghost and love stories. I can’t believe that I’ve been really into films since I was just a small kid. In addition, I was also a fan of Korean movies as well. I could spend 8 hours straight sitting in front of the television.
Nowadays, generation Z like me doesn’t really use television at all. We use smartphones, laptops or ipads to watch it through some website, Netflix or go to Cinema. I’m using Netflix to watch movies everyday. After watching any movies, have you ever analyzed anything? For me, I am not just watching to entertain but I usually learn and compare it to other similar types of movies from different countries. As a person who is really into movies, I am going to illustrate how Thai and Korea produce films.
The film industry in Korea is developing faster than we thought. Their filming technique and storyline are really nice. Korea produces different types of movies such as action, love, comedy, ghost and especially they talk about politics. I think Thai movies are still walking behind Korea. There could be some reasons that Thai Film Industrial is a step behind. Korea is a country in Asia just like Thailand but the way they produced films is more open up than how Thailand produced or we could say that they have more freedom of speech when it comes to politics in the country. Vincenzo is a new drama series that just ended a few weeks ago. This movie talked about the corruption of rich people who use their money to blind people. Vincenzo is the main lead actor who is a Korean-Italian mafia who has lots of ways to deal with those bad people. This drama is showing so many cases in every episode that governors also joined hands with the bad characters and the lawyer roles who did anything to receive money.
While compared to Thai movies, they didn’t really talk much about politics. Most of the time they produced love stories. ‘‘Wave of Life’’ is a Thai drama in which the main lead actor also played the role of the lawyer. This drama absolutely talked about corruption as well but they didn’t deeply talk about it. Otherwise, they only show how powerful people committed crimes but they didn’t focus on if the governors also take sides with bad people too.
According to the Bangkok Post, politics banned Shakespeare Tong Tai (Shakespeare Must Die), a Thai film that came under the murderous axe of the National Film and also muted from Thai cinema. The National Humans Rights Commission (NHRC) found the ban ‘‘ís an infringement on the freedom of opinion and expression by the filmmakers’’.
Do you think that Thai people have no ability to produce a better film or they just could not make it as far as they want? The answer depends on how you think about it.
There are lots of Music industry in the world depend on country or culture but today I will choose to compare Thai music industry with USA music industry because USA industry is one of the largest and have the most impact to the world.
Thai music is mainly focused on love and life. There are a lot of proofs from people in the industry that the most hits genre in Thailand music is base on Love songs. The genre that had the most share of audience and views in the Thailand music industry is Thai original folk songs. This conclusion is base on the top 10 most view channel in Youtube Thailand. More than 6 are Thai original folk songs artist. There are lots of music labels close in the past few years because they don’t gain as much revenue due to digital disruption in Thailand and people don’t want to pay to listen to music anymore. This is a major problem now in Thailand that we are short in term of diversification of music. Moreover, the artist show rates in Thailand are undervalued because people change their behaviour and think that music is free and have less value. These are the reason Thai songs are not as diversified as the USA because music label always supports only songs that can make money and their content needs to be in good ethics. This conclusion is base on an interview of a forming CEO of one of the biggest music label in Thailand:
USA Music industry had more diversity of the audience. After I use the billboard chart to analyze, Pop – R&B music tend to be the most listened to genre in the USA and the second will be rap music. The USA is one of the biggest music industry in the world. The total revenue in 2020 is $12.15 bn which is huge compare to Thailand. There are many facts the USA have lots of money coming to their industry. First, people in the USA tend to pay more to digital service such as Spotify. From my research, around 50% of North America are using paid and unpaid service. Second, their artist show fees are very high due to people give value to music and art. Third, their record label, media agency are strong and helping each other to make their industry forward. Fourth, their audience and fan club for their artist is in a global market. So, the USA can produce more of the diversity of Artist and songs due to the larger market
USA music impact to Thai music :
From the past , Thai Hiphop and rap is likely to be an underground and niche market in Thai music industry from 1990-2017 . People always listen to Thai folk songs but in these several years back Hiphop had one of the biggest share in audience and artist. 3 of the most view artist in Youtube Thailand 2020 is Hiphop artist . This can conclude that people are getting more culture from USA music because Hiphop is original create from USA and due to media globalization .People is easier to connect and absorb other culture and media but their still have thai culture and audience that only support Thai ethics content and will against some of the bad language songs . For example , Thai music chart will not allow bad language songs to be in the chart but USA is more open minded to the songs such as when WAP – Cardi B hits the billboard chart .These conclusion is base on interview from several famous hiphop artist in Thailand:
Games are made mainly for entertainment, but they also can become a sport or even for educational purposes. But, no matter what kind or form of games you are playing, it must contain one important element and that is ‘fun’! If it is not fun, then it is not a game. Let’s look into MOBA games in particular. MOBA or multiplayer online battle arena is a mobile phone game and it is one of the most popular platforms for gamers. The game, “RoV” or “Realm of Valor” is one of the MOBA games that gained lots of popularity among Thai people. It is fun, challenging, easy to learn how to play, and each battle takes only 10 minutes for the game to announce the winner. Besides, since it is a mobile phone game, it opens more doors for accessibility at any place at any time.
The format, the structure, the rules of the game, and the content of RoV games is the same throughout the world so it could reach more diverse audiences. This is the basic start and the mutual understanding of the game that the audience will have. However, what makes each game content different is that the game allows players to choose their own hero to play the game, customize skin or weapons to boost their hero’s abilities in the game, and it also allows players to communicate with each other by texting or speaking in their own languages.
Now, you might be wondering why RoV is sometimes called AoV. In 2016, RoV was the name of the game that is used throughout ASEAN regions. In other parts of the world, the game has different names. In Japan, it was called “Warsong” and in America, it was called “AoV” or “Arena of Valor. Later on, Tencent Holdings Ltd., the founder of the game decided to switch back and call the game “AoV” globally except for China. However, Thailand kept using the name “RoV” to avoid confusion among Thai players. But still, the game itself is still running under the same format but runs with different names.
As mentioned, the game allows the players to take control over how they want to play the game. One of the popular features is to customize ‘skin’ for heroes. There are many skins that were made to represent cultures and traditions from different countries too. This feature of customization makes the content of the game different in each country while also creating a sense of belonging as they are ‘representing’ their own country and nationality while playing. For example:
Xeniel Garuda: Indonesia
Limited edition skin that speaks for the country of Indonesia and made specifically for Indonesian players. Garuda Pancasila is the national emblem of Indonesia and it symbolizes the morality of knowledge, power, bravery, loyalty, and discipline.
Airi Sakura Fubuki: Japan
Limited edition of skin that speaks for Japanese culture. The skin is designed based on a Japanese theme by combining traditional Kimono dress and the national flower of Japan, the cherry blossom or Sakura flower, which symbolizes a time of renewal and optimism, and the transience of life.
4 Warriors: Thailand
Special Thai warrior skins that speak for Thai traditions and cultures. These 4 different skins are unique and very special. One of the reason why there are many Thai skins in the game is because RoV is working closely together with Thailand’s the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to host many design contests where people can compete to design new Thai skins and the skin that win the contest will be features in the game. Not only it encouraging people to show their talents and creativity, but also it is a way to promote Thai cultures, traditions, and tourism as well.
Everywhere you go, you will come across numerous types of advertisements. Whether it is on your smartphone, social media platforms, billboards, radio, newspapers, magazines. You named it. It is literally everywhere! And advertisements came in different forms as well. Of course, the contents of the ads were made differently in order to be able to catch the attention of different types of people from different segments. But, in the end, it all comes down to the same purpose which is to communicate with the people by:
- Informing: giving information about themselves, their products or services, and what they stands for
- Persuading: convincing the audience to change their behaviour and make purchase
- Reminding: reminding the audience of their existence
Most good copywriters.. fall into two categories. Poets and Killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end. If you are both killer and poet, you get rich.
Beauty Industry: Skin Care
The definition of beauty in Thailand has established itself as credibility for what the ideal Thai woman should look like. This aesthetic ideal for women to look natural with fair flawless skin and tiny noses has led Thai women to feel that it would provide them with better work prospects. While this is true, Thailand’s beauty perceptions are very straight. Models that are shooting for production companies, advertisement agencies, music videos, feature films, and TV series must reach their ‘standards’ which are, slim straight (non-curvy body), young, active, with long straight silky hair, super light, and most importantly white skin. This depiction of an attractive Thai woman establishes a false standard, which can undermine young people’s confidence and self-worth.
With Thailand’s population linked on different social networks, it’s fair to say that commercials are a part of Thai citizens’ daily lives. So much so that on every given day, just about anywhere in Thailand, one will find themselves continuously spammed by advertising companies. In Thailand, production houses put up images of advertisements and objects collaged together to make a very specific illustration of how the perfect person ought to be, what items they should use, how she/he must carry on, how she/he has to dress like, the tone in which an individual discusses even the condition of her or his nose. In Thai culture, having light skin is known as an indicator of a higher social status, allowing skin whitening cosmetics to conquer the market and rendering it almost difficult to find a product that does not contain whitening additives. While skin whitening is common in Thailand, a Thai commercial for skin whitening recently received online backlash for illustrating racism. This advertisement depicts two Asian women, one with white fair skin and the other with dark skin, with the message “Just be white, you will win”. The ad received several critical remarks about the video and the company’s promotion of whiteness. South Korea eventually withdrew the video, claiming that it was never meant to encourage racism but rather to portray self-improvement by physical attractiveness.
While other majorities of western countries promote every skin tone type and even advertise tanning products to people in case they want to give some colour to the skin. This illustrates that having tan or dark skin doesn’t make you ugly or have less value in society, instead people see it as healthy and shining skin, which in Thia culture doesn’t exist just yet. Plus, with the Black Lives Matter campaign that has gained traction in recent months, the makeup industry has been subjected to increased scrutiny over racial equality. Aside from the diversity of product categories (e.g., different foundation shades), the attention has also been focusing on brand messaging campaigns and messages, especially for whitening product categories.
While Thai society has its standards, many Thai women and men are beginning to question Thai expectations of health and appearance. This expanded recognition would allow people to recognize that they are all beautiful and that each of them should retain a healthy sense of self-esteem in ways that differ from how it shows in advertising.
Beauty Industry: Shape-wear
For a significant occasion or even daily basis; Shapewear has been one of the must underwear required for women to complete an outfit nowadays. Therefore, advertisers in some regions may have different values in transmitting the message of shapewear to their audience. We can easily distinguish the differences between the advert from the Thai brand and the American brand.
The most obvious factor would be the colour presentation of the product displayed on the advert poster from both brands. As we can see Up & Under provide their customers with fewer shades of nude tone while Skims give customers a wider range of colour selection which could be more diverse compared to Up & Under in terms of their target audiences.
We can clearly see the colour selection of Shape-wear from both brands. And easily determined their differences in target audience in both skin tone and shape size. Since Skims has extensively portrayed their brand identity on all women with different body appearance on their Shape-wear advertisement campaign. While Up & Under tends to miss out those factors by characterizing their product in one aspect of women’s body shape even though they also provide a wide range of sizes, therefore they haven’t differ the display of their advert to be more diverse like Skims.
As well as the Brand intended its products to provide “Solutions for everybody”. Where Skims declared their brand to all body types whilst Up & Under stated that they are claiming to aim on “Asian Physique”. This highlighted the main contrast of each brand and their aim to engage with different audiences. On the other hand western part of the world is more accessible for wider audiences since the western part of the world consists of citizens of a vast nationality. That is why Skims as a western brand tends to release their product to engage with wider customers.
Although Asian brands like Up & Under do not market their brand too broadly and focus on their niche audience instead of aiming at a mass market. This brings them to produce a limited selection on their product along with their public relation which is likely to incline in a typical standard body physique which in reality it is not a type of body physique that is mass in the Asian side of the world or even in Thailand. This is a form of typical stereotype where Thai’s may not give importance to the actual aspect of body shape and skin tone. And chose to project a stereotypical body type and skin on their product advert and at the same time, it could eliminate their potential clients due to how they use a model with a model body shape and fair skin tone to display their product and not use extensive models with different range of appearance. Perhaps, Skims manage to accomplish that matter in her brand image and through her products varieties of colours and sizes available, in which it is more universal and any women could purchase the product that best suits themselves.
Talking about the food industry, The way Thai people promote their product is unlike other countries. Cultural difference is also the reason why the advertisement is presented in a different way. Some products might exist in Thailand, and some products may not. Therefore, Every country has different values which mean we have interests in different products and brands as well. Food advertisement is what we always see in our daily life. We could see it from television, laptop or mobile phone. Fast food is the kind of food that is mostly advertising.
For example, No matter you lived in Thailand or other countries. You might be familiar with the “I’m loving it” jingle from the MacDonald advertisement. MacDonald is a well-known restaurant around the world and it is located in a lot of countries. The first Macdonald is opened in 1940, however, there were no Macdonald in Thailand until 1985. So, for Macdonald to target the U.S market. They use celebrity like Justin Timberlake to make an “I’m lovin it” in the music video, also how they filmed the ads is not the same. Each country has different culture and lifestyle. Most American people are more independent than Thai people, so in the ads you could see in the music video, the way they present people eating Mcdonalds is more independent like only one person enjoys eating.
However, in Thailand, it is more into the family, group meal because in Thailand we tend to live together more like a big family. In the U.S., Macdonald is a cheap and convenient food or what we called “junk food”. People eat it because it is very cheap and tasty.
On the other hand, Thailand promote it more like an expensive restaurant to adapt to Thai people lifestyle as the price of Macdonald in Thailand is higher than U.S. Macdonald ads in Thailand also use an actor or famous people especially teenagers to promote the ads. In Thailand, It is emphasized relationship and food quality while in the U.S. they emphasize fun over family and give more importance to quantity over quality. So the Mcdonalds ads in Thailand try to show that they use a good quality of food such as meat, pork or chicken while in the U.S. They just emphasize that you don’t need to spend a lot of money but you still can get a lot of food from Macdonald.
No matter where you are in the world, media contents in various industries are similar in a way but also very much different. The reason for the differences all came down to the importance of audiences. Different backgrounds, cultures, traditions, beliefs, traits, and many other factors that influence the way people act are the key to the process of audience fragmentation that media producers must be able to master. That is why certain contents are appropriate in some regions while changes or adaptations must be made in other regions.
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