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Modelling the audience marketplace

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Philip M. Napoli’s book is a broad and systematic analysis of the many economic factors that shape the business of measuring audiences for use in financial transactions in the broadcast, cable, and online industries in the United States. At first glance, then, Audience Economics appears to boldly go where many scholars have gone before. Indeed, a number of seminal works have explored the processes by which media institutions conduct research about the audience and process this information into commodified abstractions which often bear little resemblance to actual viewers (e.g. Ang 1991; Ettema and Whitney 1994; Gitlin 1983; Meehan 1984, 1990, 1993; Turow 1997; Webster and Phalen 1997). Summing up the thrust of much of this critique, Ang (1991) aptly described the notion of television audiences generated by media industries as little more than ‘taxonomic collectives’; intangible groups of individuals brought together simply by virtue of their simultaneous attention to the same audio-visual source.

Keywords: audience research; content market; financial transaction; media institutions; minority group; taxonomic collectives

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Muhlenberg College

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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