3. Audiences negotiate meaning in media. Even though media carry messages, they aren't received by everybody the same way. When you like a movie your friend hated, that's pretty clear. Each of us 'filters' meaning through our different experiences: our socio-economic status, cultural background, gender, whether we're tired, whether we know somebody involved in the story. But some meanings end up being more widely accepted than others, a fact that reflects the relative clout, or social power, of the filters which affect our different readings.
4. Media have commercial implications. Most media production in this country is a business, and must make a profit. Even the so-called "public" media - public television, public radio - have to raise money to survive. When you decode the media, you need to ask yourself: Who paid for this? What's the economic structure underpinning this piece of work? When the producer or writer or director chose the subject and began production, how did financial pressures affect his or her choices?
Mass media do not speak to individuals, but to groups of people - in fact, to demographic markets. You are part of several demographic markets - young people, men or women, people of your region, people with your particular hobby, etc. The more money you have to spend within any particular demographic, the more valuable you are to mass media's marketers.
Mass media's commercial implications also involve ownership in another way. If the same company owns a record company, a movie studio, a cable service, network television, videocassette recording and book and magazine publications (as does Time Warner), it has a powerful ability to control what is produced, distributed and therefore, seen.