When television producers give consumers the “free” content we desire, they do so knowing full well that this “free” content will actually be paid for. In this three-market system, producers are able to create “free” programs through the money generated from advertisements, and in reality, consumers. If a producer is in control of a show that is very popular, the amount of companies that wish to advertise are plentiful. These companies may wish to purchase ad space during the show’s commercials, or place their product in the media text itself. Companies pay the networks for time on the airwaves to promote their product. Similar to the producers, companies are willing to engage in heavy spending toward advertisements as they know this money will be reimbursed through consumers purchasing the products they advertise. This cycle allows the consumers to get what they believe is “free” programming, when in actuality they fuel the cycle through their consumption of the advertiser’s products. Through this cycle, we get to watch the major stations like CBS or FOX for “free”.
It’s hard not to think to yourself that audiences get the better deal, and consider yourself a “rational” buyer; one not influenced by the images and messages we see on TV. Surely, I want to believe that TV programs and commercials do not influence what I purchase and the brands I choose. However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that I subliminally make choices when I purchase certain products, based on the ads that I find smart or entertaining. If I see a particular product on an ad that I find annoying or unintelligent, I'll be less likely to purchase said product, even if I wish this wasn't the case. Unfortunately, it's hard to deny the impact media has on our everyday purchases.
I believe the advertisers really have it the best. Networks take the chance of producing shows that are unsuccessful, with limited viewership. Advertisers can then look at the ratings of the shows, and determine that these media texts are not worth their time or investment. Therefore, networks have immense pressure to put out quality texts each and every time, or shows that will develop a large fan following. Advertisers have the benefit of knowing which media texts reach which audiences, and invest their money based on this information. Through that knowledge, they are able to reach their target audience and get their product in front of the mass public. Hopefully, that product will generate interest and lead to an increase in consumption from public purchases.