This part of the globalissues. Topics include media conglomeration, mega mergers, concentration of ownership, advertising and media and consumerism essay influence, free market ideology and its impact on the media and more. Advertising is the art of arresting the human intelligence just long enough to get money from it. Ever since mass media became mass media, companies have naturally used this means of communications to let a large number of people know about their products.
There is nothing wrong with that, as it allows innovative ideas and concepts to be shared with others. However, as the years have progressed, the sophistication of advertising methods and techniques has advanced, enticing and shaping and even creating consumerism and needs where there has been none before, or turning luxuries into necessities. This section introduces some of the issues and concerns this raises. Advertorials — Advertisements disguised as News! Advertainment — Advertisements disguised as Entertainment!
Various free media such as the numerous channels available in America and other nations are naturally subsidized with advertising to help pay the costs. As corporate competition has increased, so too has the need for returns on massive expenditures on advertising. Industries spend millions, even billions of dollars to win our hearts and minds, and to influence our choices towards their products and ideas. This often means such media outlets attract greater funds than those outlets funded through public funding or TV licenses.
It can mean that such outlets can also then afford better programming of key events and programs. New York Times, it too has to sell products to its customers. For the New York Times and other such companies, Chomsky points out that the product is the audience, and the customers are the corporate advertisers. This at first thought doesn’t seem to make sense.
However, although readers buy the paper, he argues that readers fit a demographic and it is this that is valuable information that can be used by advertisers. Hence, to the advertisers, the product that the New York Times and such companies bring to them is the audience itself and it is the advertisers that bring the money to the media companies, not the audience. They don’t make money when you buy the newspaper. They are happy to put it on the worldwide web for free. They actually lose money when you buy the newspaper. But the audience is the product. Whether it is television or newspapers, or whatever, they are selling audiences.
Corporations sell audiences to other corporations. Slowly then, the content of media isn’t as important as the type of person being targeted by the ads. The influence of advertising on magazines reached a point where editors began selecting articles not only on the basis of their expected interest for readers but for their influence on advertisements. Serious articles were not always the best support for ads. An article that put the reader in an analytical frame of mind did not encourage the reader to take seriously an ad that depended on fantasy or promoted a trivial product. The next step, seen often in mid-twentieth century magazines, was commissioning articles solely to attract readers who were good prospects to buy products advertised in the magazine.
After that came the magazine phenomenon of the 1970s — creating magazines for an identifiable special audience and selling them to particular advertisers. But many have pointed out that this subtle manipulation often goes too far. As such it can contribute to anxieties and stress when growing up and even last into adulthood. The bigotry in fashion, cosmetics, advertising, TV and Hollywood hasn’t damaged black women, it’s saved them! She even adds that white women aren’t really represented appropriately in the mass media either because of the unrealistic imagery. Globally, there is very little regulation about this kind of manipulation as there are many grey areas making it difficult to provide definitive guidelines.