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July 15, 2013 / C H Thompson

Media for profit

As mass media companies are business, their main aim is to make money. Though newspaper’s make money from selling their product, a significant proportion comes from selling advertising space.

It is newspapers dependence on advertising revenue which drives their sales towards a particular ‘target’ audience. Advertisers will usually only advertise if their product is reaching enough of the ‘correct’ type of audience. This explains why circulation figures are important to advertisers, as well as advertisers wanting to know the social-class of a newspaper’s readership.

A manufacturer is unlikely to want to advertise a very expensive car in a newspaper whose readership is predominantly working-class. This same principle is applied to television shows, magazines etc.

The significance of this process for sociologists is to what extent do media outlets ‘steer’ content towards issues which make them more attractive to advertisers.

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