From audiences to data points: The role of media agencies in the platformization of the news media industry

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Media agencies have become one of the key actors in the contemporary media industry: by channelling marketing budgets to some media and some platforms and not to others, media agencies play an important role in creating the digital media infrastructure and laying the tracks of the public sphere. Yet we know very little about these commercial middlemen between advertisers and audiences, what they do, and how we should understand their role in the digital media ecology. This article discusses the role of media agencies in relation to platformization with a focus on the news media sector. Based on interviews, publicly available material and trade journals, the article depicts an industry deeply engaged in digitizing, tracking and commodifying media audiences, while at the same time aware of ethical challenges of the digital media infrastructure. This leads to a call for more political attention and critical research on the democratic implications of the new value chains between platforms, advertisers, audiences, media agencies and news media as well as the many tech companies providing derived digital services and products.
TidsskriftMedia, Culture & Society
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)56-71
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2022


  • advertising
  • audiences
  • segmentation
  • public sphere
  • platformization
  • media infrastructure
  • media agencies
  • journalism
  • cultural intermediaries
  • big data

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