You're not the customer, you're the product

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Tom Johnson

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Jun 22, 2001, 4:11:38 PM6/22/01
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There seems to be some confusion in this group about the nature of
advertiser supported television. We keep talking about consumers,
meaning people who watch television. The customers for television
aren't the people who watch it. TV's customers are the advertisers,
who pay for the audiences the TV channels manufacture by airing
different programs. We, the audience, are bought and sold every time
we watch TV.

That's not reprehensible, by the way. It is, in fact, a guarantee
that we, the audience, will get what we want, because that's the only
way the networks can get our attention.

It does make television amoral, in that it doesn't care how it
captures our attention so long as it captures it. And it also
excludes groups that either can't or won't allow themselves to be
subject to advertising messages. The elderly, for example, have more
money than any other demographic group, but their brand preferences
are long established. You can show them hundreds of ads, and they
won't change the toothpaste they've used for 40 years.

The reason that younger demographics are a more desirable product for
TV nets to assemble is not that they have a lot of money. It's that
younger demographics are stupidly susceptable to advertising. Show
them a supermodel with a can of Bud and they'll change what kind of
beer they drink.

To review: Television viewers aren't the customers, they're the
product, and younger demographics are more desirable to advertisers
because they're dumb enough to pay attention to ads.

Now, you may resume your discussion. Happy viewing.

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