Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Anderson, "Free 101"

In "Free 101," Anderson discusses the different ways in which the concept of "free" can be understood and explained to consumers. In discussing the three-party market, we are given a bit of insight into the relationship that exists among the companies that produce content, the advertisers, and us, the audience. The corporations and the advertising firms truly do hold the power in this situation, manipulating the consumers into believing that what they are receiving is in fact, free, when realistically we are actually paying for the services that are being provided to us in indirect fashions.

To put the word free into quotation marks is necessary in discussing the three-party market due to this manipulation. Stations such as The CW and NBC allow us to enjoy their programming "free" of cost when in reality, advertising companies that promote products on these channels ultimately end up convincing us to spend more money. Whether or not that money goes directly back into the pockets of the stations from which we first discovered these products is of little importance in this scenario, because at the end of the day, in being involved in this three-party system, the channels gain a little bit of money back indirectly as well.

In my opinion, those that advertise turn out to be the party that is particularly powerful in this system. In all reality, advertisers are at the top of our consumerist society: they have the ability to dictate our lives through manipulative means that have been established by our materialist ideology. We are automatically tricked into believing that what is "free" is truly FREE, but this is not the case when we look more closely at the corporate incentive that is present in our everyday lives.

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