Ten Little Jurors in the Training Camp: A Genealogy of Audience Simulation

Stefan Schwarzkopf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper argues that material valuation devices used in consumer research rely on moralized cultural techniques. The paper focuses in detail on one such valuation device, namely audience simulators, and recovers the deeply ascetic and disciplinary nature of this set of techniques. Audience simulation, and in particular the Continuous Response Measurement of media audiences (CRM) allows estimating audience reactions to movies and commercials by simulating the response these offerings would receive in ‘real’ life. The paper traces this simulation method and the material valuation devices it is made up of, namely push-buttons, dials, and polygraphs, back to interwar prediction systems for the success of radio shows. The simulation and valuation practices that perform CRM reveal a genealogy that links audience research to an ethics of religious training. While CRM settings ostensibly aim at audience simulation and programme valuation, they also rely on essentially pre-modern cultural techniques such as monastic pace-setting, congregational judgement, and confession.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cultural Economy
Number of pages18
ISSN1753-0350
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 23 Feb 2021.

Keywords

  • Simulation
  • Valuation
  • Cultural techniques
  • Jury method
  • Economic theology

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