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Commercialization: Impact on Media Content

John A. Fortunato


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No industry exists without a product or service to offer to customers. For mass media organizations the product they offer is their content. The primary business of the mass media is to produce content – fill the broadcast hours, the print pages, the Internet site. Because of limits of time and space, selection of content is a necessary function. Mass media organizations have to make difficult decisions in evaluating their story options and determining which content to provide to an audience. Some stories never become “content” and are not exposed to a mass audience. Many internal and external factors influence the mass media content decision-making process (e.g., Shoemaker & Reese 1996 ; Croteau & Hoynes 2001 ; Fortunato 2005 ; →  Media Production and Content ). Primary among those factors is the economics of the industry. Advertisers are an essential external factor in any evaluation of the business aspects of the mass media because they generate all of the revenue for privately owned broadcast media and most of the revenue for the print and Internet media. The size and demographics of the audience help determine the amount of money that mass media organizations can charge advertisers. Because it is the audience determining the advertising rate, Wenner (1989 , 22) points out “the content per se is not what is being sold; rather it is the audience for that content that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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