Trandall6’s Blog

Buying into American Idol

Posted on: April 21, 2009

H Jenkins 2006, Buying into American Idol, NYU Press, New York,.


Hi this week I will be talking about the text “Buying into American Idol”. The text begins by explaining that reality TV is the first major use of media convergence, which is when a group of previously separate media outlets are used for a common purpose. The American Idol series is used as an example of this as it contains albums, books, live events and internet material. Moreover material such as news reports keeps people interested when the show is not airing. This is described as being based around a theory of “affective economics”. This theory acknowledges the importance of fan communities that are attached to a certain product and attempts to profit off it, in American Idols case by shifting this attachment on to its sponsors. The text explains past model of audience engagement are outdated due to the proliferation of media distribution outlets that has divided viewers into small chunks rather than a singular viewing mass. I have noticed this manifested in the area of music where you see acts with niche followings such as heavy metal or country acts reaching the top of the charts. It outlines evidence that suggests that these fan communities are more likely participate in expression which is to pay attention to the program and its advertisements and inform others about it. I frequently find myself in conversations that I can not join into. I therefore later watch the program so I can.


Furthermore the text analyses the effects of such emotional investment that fans have. It explains Kevin Roberts’s theory of “lovemarks”, which is the love and respect one has for a brand. People with such feelings make far more purchases. I agree with this as I often see people with types of product that the brand is not associated with e.g. Harley Davidson T shirts. Loyalty gives this fan group a degree of power as the company must please this profitable group. In addition the text explains the different types of television viewers: zappers: people that scan through the channels until they find something that they like, casuals: those that watch specific programs although irregularly and loyals: the fans described above. American Idol has devised numerous means to turn zappers and fans into loyals such as explaining what happened in previous programs so people can easily catch up. I have personally been drawn into American Idol mid-season so I am aware that this works.

Thanks for reading.


Tim Randall




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  • trandall6: Thanks alot for that comment. I had never even considered the potental loss of data which could occur under such a model. Like you said, differnet per
  • indie69: Excellent part 3. You make some great points and bring up ideas that I hadn't thought of before. Different perspectives. The one thing I'd point o
  • indie69: Thanks for the comment on my blog. You've challenged some of my ideas, too. But really I just agree with you on the subscription model with the only r


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