"Why is the study of consumption central to how we understand
how the media works?"
The study of consumption is essential to understanding how the media works because all media are consumed in a particular way. Therefore, understanding how and why different media are consumed is essential in learning why different types of media are successful or not.
In order to understand consumerism we first of all need to understand the consumer. Unlike the term "customer", which is defined in terms of a specific firm, the term consumer generally refers to anyone that engages in consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour can be defined thus;
"The decision process and physical activity individuals engage
in when evaluating, acquiring, using or disposing of goods and
In the traditional sense of the word consumerism has been defined strictly in terms of economic goods and services. However, in recent years this viewpoint has been broadened so that many scholars now do not consider a monetary exchange necessary for consumption to take place.
In light of this new expanded view of consumerism it can be said that all aspects of the media, from television to free information available on the World Wide Web can be included in consumerism. Therefore, the way in which consumers decide which media to consume is central to the study of the media.
I believe that in modern society consumerism and the mass media go hand in hand. They each have a huge part in the success of the other. Without the mass media which is perhaps the most important part of marketing, consumerism would not be as much a part of everyday life as it is today. And without our culture of consumerism the mass media itself would not be as widely consumed and therefore, not the huge industry that it...