In Ideological analysis and television, Mimi White asserts that a viewer is “at once a consumer and a commodity” (171). I really enjoy this vicious, unbreakable cycle because of how true it is. White argues that viewers are consumers because “they are regularly subjected to a range of appeals for a variety of products,” but they are also “become commodities in the act of watching television” (171). This makes me think of MTV’s VMA. This Video Music Award is rigged (I mean, come on, we all know this). The whole point of it is to promote the artists that work with MTV. It is essentially a couple-hours long advertisement of various artists and their music packaged into the format of an award show. Through watching the VMA, a viewer is not only subjected to the products advertised in the commercial breaks, but also the constant reinforcement of artists and their products (their “award-winning” music) during the show. Moreover, White asserts that television “itself offers attractions to its audience” through the “nature of the meanings and pleasures that television offers through its programs” (172). I remember that one of the advertising gimmick for the VMA before it aired was that it contained the exclusive trailer to the new Twilight movie, New Moon. Again, bringing up the current popularity, if not obsession, of the Twilight series shown by MTV’s target segment, it seems highly strategic for the VMA to provide such an incentive. However, the irony lies in the fact that this New Moon trailer, a pleasure offered to a viewer, renders him or her, again, a consumer and a commodity. The viewer is a potential consumer of Twilight’s new movie but also a commodity for whoever owns the right to Twilight and its products.
Here is the “Exclusive” trailer for the New Moon movie… If you’re interested?