Sunday, April 04, 2004

What Does Mainstream Media Sell? and to Whom?

Though somewhat dissonant, I find this a more logical way of looking at the mainstream media, and the business model it follows.

The conventional way of looking at media is that it serves a valuable social purpose in the free society. It frees the content - news, views, entertainment - to reach it to common man. One assumes also that this information, provided by media, helps the common man to make more informed decisions.

But, often we tend to forget that media - specifically, the mainstream media - is also a business. It creates, packages and sells a service to its customers, and gets paid by them for the quality of service provided.

It is this perspective which turns the conventional view of media on its head...

... most of us tend to believe - somewhat naively - that when we buy a magazine or a newspaper, or watch a TV channel, we are the customers, because we pay for it (even if nominally).

We tend to ignore that the media revenues come, not from subscriptions paid by its readers/ audience, but from advertisements paid for by businesses.

So, perhaps, a more rational way of looking at media should be like this: Media sells its subscribers/ audience/ spectators/ readers to its primary customers - the businesses, and gets paid for that service!!!

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