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History of Entertainment Education


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Title: History of Entertainment Education

History of Entertainment Education
  • Acompañame ("Come Along With Me") to the
  • Origins of Family Planning Soaps
  • The Enter-Educate Movement, 1969-present
  • Sarah N. Keller, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor, Health Communication
  • Emerson College

  • Define entertainment education (1 minute short

  • Entertainment educationalso termed
    enter-educate, pro-social entertainment,
    pro-development entertainment, edu-tainment and
    infotainmentis defined as
  • the process of putting educational content in
    entertaining formats and messages in order to
  • increase knowledge
  • create favorable attitudes
  • change overt behavior concerning an educational

  • History
  • of broadcast media uses to communicate social
    goals through entertainment
  • Mexican television producer Miguel Sabido
  • produced and aired the first television soap
    operas to promote specific behavior change or
    moral values among a national audience
  • Efforts to promote Third World development
  • through mass media, which began shortly after
    World War II
  • Case study Acompaname
  • 1977-78
  • Mexican soap opera to promote family planning

Question 1
  • How do you think entertainment education got it
    start? When and where? (1 min. short writing

  • 1951 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • the British radio soap opera The Archers promoted
    agricultural innovations and was immensely
    popular among farmers.
  • 1959 Jamaican government
  • a radio drama, Raymond the Sprayman, to promote
    mosquito eradication and urban migration.
  • 1969 television in Peru
  • Simplemente María, a Cinderella story of a young
    woman who emigrates from the Andes to take a job
    as a maid in Lima
  • not designed intentionally to impact viewers'
  • watershed event in the history of pro-social mass
  • immense popularity throughout Latin America
  • impact on human behavior

Televisa Miguel Sabido
  • 1975-81 Televisa aired six pro-social soap operas
  • 1975 Ven Conmigo (Come with Me), a soap opera to
    promote literacy
  • 1977 Acompañame to promote family planning
  • 1984 Indian government and Population
    Communication International
  • launched Hum Log (We People) to teach people the
    dangers of uncontrolled population growth
  • 50 million viewers
  • 1986 Johns Hopkins University Center for
    Communication Programs
  • enlisted two popular music singers, Tatiana and
    Johnny, to promote family planning in 12 Latin
    American countries

  • Today
  • entertainment education has been used to promote
    reproductive health in more than 20 countries
  • 6 U.S.-funded agencies use entertainment-education
  • Academy for Educational Development (AED)
  • Johns Hopkins University/Population Communication
    Services (JHU/PCS)
  • Population Communications International (PCI)
  • Population Services International (PSI)
  • Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Question 2
  • Summarize the history of entertainment education
    in a brief list. (1 min. exercise pair-share)

  • Although privately owned, Televisa was legally
    obligated to promote social responsibility
  • Mexican government 1960 TV access law
  • required commercial companies to give the
    government direct access to 12.5 of airtime
  • defined responsibilities of broadcast companies
    as affirming
  • respect for moral principles
  • human dignity
  • family relationships
  • preventing negative disturbances for the
    harmonious development of children
  • exalting the values of Mexican nationality

Question 3
  • A) Do you think it is the governments
    responsibility to mandate media companies to
    promote social responsibility goals?
  • B) If so, what should these goals be?
  • C) Do you think the United States currently holds
    a socially responsible policy with regards to the
    mass media? If so, what is it?
  • (group brainstorm)

U.S. TV access laws
  • U.S. Hutchins Commission in 1947
  • Five demands for an ideal role of communication
    in society
  • 1) a truthful, comprehensive account of the day's
  • 2) a forum for the exchange of comment and
  • 3) a representative picture of diverse social
  • 4) clarification of goals and values of society
  • 5) full access to the day's intelligence
  • 1934 Federal Communication Commission
  • mandated ad revenue as the source of funding for
    TV stations (eclipsed non-profit voices on the
  • Big Four networks resisted any government attempt
    to enforce media content

Miguel Sabido, TV Producer
  • Sabido is attributed with developing the genre of
    pro-social soap operas
  • He drew from psychology and communication
  • Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory
  • Jung's theory about the archetypes of collective
  • Peru's experience with Simplemente María

Entertainment Education Methodology
  • 1) the determination of a central educational
    value which all parties involved could agree on
  • 2) an integrated multi-disciplinary theoretical
  • 3) a well-defined telenovela production system

Entertainment-ed Methodology
  • Each of Sabido's soap operas contained
  • characters who support the central values
    (positive role models)
  • characters who reject those values (negative role
  • those who waiver in between (doubters)
  • The doubters represent different sociodemographic
    categories of audience and different stages along
    a continuum of behavior change
  • Gradually, each doubter shifts toward the new
    values and begins to adopt the corresponding
    socially desirable behavior
  • Each episode is reinforced by a 30-40-second
    epilogue, an advertisement for that day's
    educational message delivered by a national

Question 4
  • What do you think the political social context
    was at the time that entertainment education was
    developing? (1950s-70s)
  • What major events were occurring with regard to
    international development and media that may have
    affected it?
  • (Break up into pairs and discuss for 5 minutes)

Political-historical context
  • 1950s
  • strong optimism in media as the great multiplier
    of knowledge
  • emergence of new mass media technologies
  • use of film and radio for propaganda during World
    War II
  • newly independent nations of the post-war period
    were severely underdeveloped

Political-historical context
  • 1972 New World Information Order
  • UNESCO called for mass media companies to assume
    a positive responsibility in assisting the
    creation of a new global order
  • Treaty so bold that it prompted nations to
  • Western media organizations, the "Big Four"
    network companies in the United States
  • Only willing to lend limited technical support to
    developing countries
  • Refused to promise assistance in developing
    pro-social media campaigns
  • Objected most strongly to manipulation of program

Context (contd)
  • 1976
  • Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo adopted the
    UNESCO rhetoric supporting the "right to
  • applied it to domestic programming, requiring
    broadcast content to serve as an instrument of
    political and social development
  • U.S. federal agencies willing to support
    pro-social mass media campaigns --
  • as long as they were conducted by independent
    non-profit agencies or local media companies in
    the Third World

  • What motivated a successful television producer
    to dedicate his life's talent to promoting
    pro-social goals?
  • Why was such an altruistic endeavor blocked in
    the United States?

Case study
  • Acompañame
  • Story of a young married woman who decides she
    wants to stop having more children.
  • She has severe modesty and embarrassment about
    discussing sexual matters
  • Nonetheless, she visits a doctor seeking family
    planning advice.

Case study (contd)
  • Her husband doesn't know she is there.
  • Her friend, Marta, has told her some
    contraceptive information, but she is "very
    ignorant about these things" and fears that the
    "pill causes cancer.

Case study (contd)
  • Doctor agrees that five children (the number of
    children she has already had) are enough
  • He points out that her husband will likely
    appreciate the cost savings of limiting one's

  • Acompañame broadcast in Mexico by Televisa August
    1977-April 1978
  • 180 episodes achieved average audience viewing
    ratings of 29
  • Not as high as the 35 audience ratings of the
    most popular telenovelas in Mexico
  • 562,464 women visited clinics and adopted
    contraceptives while show was on the air, up 33
    over previous year
  • 2,500 women volunteered with Mexican National
    Plan for Family Planning -- promoted by the show

Evaluation questions
  • Why was Acompañame as popular as it was, and why
    was it not more popular?
  • What about the programming made it successful,
    and what limited its success?
  • Why did it become a model for similar programming
    around the world?

Key elements
  • timing
  • degree of audience identification
  • quality of acting
  • viewing context
  • novelty of the programming
  • to what extent the product was culturally

Question 5
  • Brainstorm in small groups for 5 minutes on what
    cultural/economic aspects affected the popularity
    of shows like Acompaname from 1969-78?

Timing Decade that both Simplemente María and
Acompañame aired, 1969-1978
  • television audiences expanding rapidly
  • urban migration, class struggle salient
  • women were entering workforce
  • popular culture changing
  • changing structure of the family
  • shifting gender roles
  • birth control was becoming popular
  • divorce more acceptable
  • single motherhood

  • But
  • What aspects of the storyline might not have fit
    with the culture?

  • Personal and social appeals were missing
  • Lead character was not socially mobile

Simplemente María
  • A content analysis shows the advancement of women
    to be the single most common theme in the series.
  • 18 episodes of the series classified according
  • immigration, marriage, differences between social
    classes, the advancement of women, definitions of
    love, sons as vehicles of promotion, the
    personality of Maria, the personality of Esteben,
    the personality of Teresa, the mystique of money,
    and suffering.
  • The central themes, in order of prevalence, were
  • the advancement of women, class differences, the
    personality of Maria, marriage and definitions of

Advancement of women
  • Possibly, Maria held wider appeal because she
    confronted social as well as personal conflicts
  • romantic frustrations,
  • abandonment by a man,
  • raising a child alone,
  • poverty,
  • struggle to move up the social ladder.

Future research
  • Saruchi Sood outlined various recommendations for
    future research
  • Research on audience involvement could refine the
    elements of audience involvement (e. g.,
    researchers could hypothesize about the
    relationship between identification with
    characters and the prosocial and antisocial
    qualities exhibited by the characters in a media
  • Because the process of audience involvement is
    important to understand, the antecedents and
    consequences should also be analysed (e. g.,
    exposure to a media program).
  • Research is also needed on the affective nature
    of messages and the responses they generate, as
    well as the cognitive process through which
    information is processed by audiences.
  • Research efforts should focus on the influence of
    culture on patterns of behavior

  • http//www.jhuccp.org/pubs/sp/21/chp6.shtml
  • Research Panel "Challenges in Entertainment-Educa
    tion Theory"
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do
  • Lawrence Kincaid
  • Peter Vaughan
  • Saruchi Sood
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