Robert Freedman: Noise Wars: Compulsory Media and Our Loss of Autonomy (2009)

31 January 2010, pht

“Let me place on your radar screen an issue that for most people goes by unnoticed. Every day it is there for all of us to see and hear— — but it’s drowned out by the noise, so to speak. This is the rising use of media, the use of media in abusive, penetrating ways. Our freedom to choose whether or not we consume that media is taken away from us.”
In this book Robert Freedman shows how media companies, with their business model coming under pressure from shrinking audiences, seek to regain their footing by forcing people to consume TV and other digital content outside the home by turning public and private settings into captive-audience platforms. He looks at how consumers are putting up resistance to being held captive to TV on buses, trains, elevators, taxis, subways, office lobbies, schools, stores, and street corners.

Freedman looks at the role of media in society in a unique way— by focusing exclusively on the emerging trend of audience captivity: the relocation of TV and other intrusive electronic media from our home, where we have personal control over it, to all the settings outside the home in which we don’t have control: buses, subways, taxis, elevators, retail stores, hotel and office lobbies, street corners, street furniture, and gas station pumps, among others.
Although the book comes down squarely against audience captivity as a media business model, it takes a conversational, even-handed approach that lets the facts speak for themselves. It does this by showing on the one hand the growth of captive-audience platforms and on the other the rise in people’s resentment—even anger—at being made captive to electronic media they haven’t asked for and from which they can’t escape without personal cost.
By approaching the topic in this way, the book makes a compelling case that the media industry’s growing reliance on audience captivity as a business model is setting up a values war not unlike the war between smokers and opponents of second-hand smoke. As the first systematic look at audience captivity from a social perspective, the book makes a crucial and timely contribution to research on and discussions about media and society.

Perfect Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Algora Publishing (August 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0875867146
ISBN-13: 978-0875867144

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