By June Deery (auth.)
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Additional info for Consuming Reality: The Commercialization of Factual Entertainment
A more serious financial tug-of-war occurred in Britain in December 2009 when a few viewers organized a boycott of the single produced by the winner of The X Factor (ITV, 2004–) because they were frustrated by the predictable nature in which the winner would go on to secure the Christmas number one single slot and guarantee profits for the producers of the show (as it had for four years running). They encouraged people to buy instead a 1992 song by a left-wing, anticorporate rock group Rage Against the Machine.
The featured vehicle is often framed as literally providing mobility out of a stagnant situation as well as a way of keeping a family together. A more problematic example of sponsorship is Olive Garden’s occasional participation in the same series. As any American TV viewer will know, this restaurant chain’s slogo is: “When you’re here you’re Family” (the word “Family” being capitalized, perhaps because here it is such an abstract concept), an ironic claim given that this chain is putting the Mom-and-Pop model out of business (There is a similar irony in rival chain Applebee’s slogan “There’s no place like the neighborhood” as each neighborhood fills up with identical franchises).
Success breeds success. Even when voting can be seen as a form of audience resistance or counterorganization it still creates a profitable circuit: in fact, if resistance means viewers become more active, then all the better for associated business interests. For example, some viewers inspired more by regional pride than by an objective judging of singing ability have voted against official criteria in various versions of Idol around the world. Enthusiastic viewers of Indian Idol (SET, 2004–) have in the past set up telephone voting booths, distributed prepaid mobile phone cards, hired people to vote, funded marketing campaigns, and so on (Punathambekar 2011).
Consuming Reality: The Commercialization of Factual Entertainment by June Deery (auth.)