Engaging with and applying theory
This essay will explore how political economy theories apply to traditional media in a more modern setting. A specific example will be used to observe the relationship between media and the economy and how this translates into the patterns of political behaviour. The television show, My Kitchen Rules, will be used to highlight how a traditional medium has a symbiotic relationship with the economy and society and how political economy theories can explain how this works.
The Seven Network’s My Kitchen Rules was renewed for a sixth season this year. The cooking series is a shining example of how the economy and money affects the content shown on our televisions and how this manifests outside of the show. Thus, the theories of political economy can be used to analyse the program. Most notably, My Kitchen Rules uses us (the viewers) and its contestants as a commodity for the network to exploit and capitalize on and uses a number of product placements and features sponsors, which has its own implications.
There is no denying that My Kitchen Rules rakes in ratings for Seven. The season six launch on February 2 garnered 1,596,000 viewers, with the series (so far) peaking at 1,780,000 for episode 23, which aired on March 10 (Knox 2015). Up until now, even at its lowest, My Kitchen Rules had a nationwide audience of 1,373,000 and still managed to be the most viewed program (Knox 2015). There are a number of factors contributing to the show’s success.
Riding on the coattails of Network Ten’s Masterchef Australia, the show comes at a time where Australians have moved their focus away from food that is cooked solely for efficiency or for sustenance, but to cook for pleasure, taste and aesthetics or to entertain others. Food, especially homemade, is a cultural symbol for “bonding, families, groups, and friends” and also “conciliation”, i.e. “feel[ing] good” when “we … eat together”, and this has attributed to both shows’ success...