The article begins by illustrating the idea that when we use the word “free,” we are doing so in a multitude of ways. I liked the analogy the article made between the “buy one, and get one free.” We’ve all seen that deal before, but we rarely picture what it actually is saying (both items are 50% off)…This also then relates to ads on TV, as well as the internet. The article makes an interesting point about blogs. When we visit a blog such as this one, we assume that we are not necessarily benefiting anything financially, however the number of users that visit the page is indeed being kept count of. The more visitors, the more appeal, the more expensive advertisements on the page cost. The same goes for television networks.
This brings us to the Three-Party-Market. This system uses the advertisers as a keystone to the whole operation. Advertisers pay for the airtimes in which their ads are shown, to appeal to the largest number of viewers. These viewers then ideally go on and purchase the products advertised, and in return, expect the producer to let them watch the shows for “free.” It’s a great system (as long as the ads are working), and enables the big networks to keep running their shows on TV for “free.” This system, and idea of how this all works, is why the article puts “free” in quotation marks. Because while we assume we are being given the shows for free, we are not necessarily 100% correct. We are still expected to return the favor by keeping the advertisers satisfied so they can keep paying the networks who supply our pleasure.
Really interesting stuff…I’ve kind of always wondered if advertisers claimed the sole responsibility for allowing us to watch “free” TV.