The Production and Consumption of Signs
In the previous chapters the changed role of media users in the culture industries has been discussed, as well as the changed character of works and texts which follow partly from new technological possibilities, partly from re-organisations of media production (which also, at least in part, are born from the technological changes), and partly from the described changes in the behaviour of media users. In this chapter I will bring these discussions together in order to more generally discuss the commodities and objects that circulate in the production-consumption circuits surrounding media. I will argue that there has been a profound re-shaping of the circulating commodities, from having been in the form of either texts or audiences to a situation in which these two commodities are changing in shape and form, and especially the audience commodity takes on a more semiotic character despite the widespread belief from within the industries that we now have better tools for ‘grasping the digital consumer’ (see Chapter 3). This discussion will involve a thorough critique of the circuit of media production, from its basis in tangible commodities (or content specifically bound to specific material platforms) to the intangible commodities and ephemeral objects circulating in the digital media and cultural environment.