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The Flashnews as a Commercial Session of Political Marketing: The Content Analysis of the Embedded Political Narratives in Non-Political Media Products

Authors: Zsolt Szabolcsi

Abstract:

Political communication in Hungary has undergone a significant change in the 2010s. One element of the transformation is the Flashnews. This media product was launched in March 2015 and since then 40-50 blocks are broadcasted, daily, on 5 channels. Flashnews blocks are condensed news sessions, containing the summary of political narratives. It starts with the introduction of the narrator, then, usually four news topics are presented and, finally, the narrator concludes the block. The block lasts only one minute and, therefore, it provides a blink session into the main narratives of political communication at the time. Beyond its rapid pace, what makes its avoidance difficult is that these blocks are always in the first position in the commercial break of a non-political media product. Although it is only one minute long, its significance is high. The content of the Flashnews reflects the main governmental narratives and, therefore, the Flashnews is part of the agenda-setting capacity of political communication. It reaches media consumers who have limited knowledge and interest in politics, and their use of media products is not politically related. For this audience, the Flashnews pops up in the same way as commercials. Due to its structure and appearance, the impact of Flashnews seems to be similar to commercials, imbedded into the break of media products. It activates existing knowledge constructs, builds up associational links and maintains their presence in a way that the recipient is not aware of the phenomenon. The research aims to examine the extent to which the Flashnews and the main news narratives are identical in their content. This aim is realized with the content analysis of the two news products by examining the Flashnews and the evening news during main sport events from 2016 to 2018. The initial hypothesis of the research is that Flashnews is a contribution to the news management technique for an effective articulation of political narratives in public service media channels.

Keywords: Political Communication, political marketing, flashnews, news management

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