In the media literacy course that I teach, we study the media and its impact on society so that our students will have the skills needed to live in this media-centric world. Every year the students initially do not understand the following statement I present to them – “With television you are not the audience, you are the product.”
The purpose of television is not to entertain you and provide you with something to do and watch. The purpose of television is to advertise products to a mass audience. The television and cable networks only make money because they are able to guarantee to a company that you will be sitting in front of a TV at a particular time of day and therefore will watch the commercial about their product.
The reason TV must be so entertaining is that they must find ways to make sure you keep coming back and keep watching. So ultimately, in the cycle of life called television, you are what the television networks are selling to the corporations of the world.
With that in mind I encourage you to stop being somebody’s product, get outside, and experience the world around us. As you explore the beautiful island of Penang, enjoy the fact that once again you have become the audience.