Article by Annenberg doctoral student Lee McGuigan.
This essay contributes to a materialist understanding of institutional dynamics in commercial television in the United States. It considers the mutual constitution of business administration and social developments in technology. It is argued herein that ongoing organizational shifts in television are motivated by the imperative to exploit the full productive capacity of commercial television. A case study of Canoe Ventures demonstrates that television increasingly employs the evaluative criteria of direct marketing to rationalize the process of producing audiences-as-commodities. The business of commercial television is being organized to verify return on investment and to locate causality between advertising and sales.