The audience commodity is not a material thing, but an abstraction that gains a reality in the commercial organization of media systems. It is an abstraction produced by the logic of acceleration inherent in capitalism's sphere of circulation. Following economic historian Karl Polanyi (2001), the audience commodity might be considered an "essential element of industry" and a central "organizing principle" of communication media (76). Just as land, labor and money are "obviously not commodities" in an "empirical sense" (76), the audience commodity is a fictitious commodity that serves a logistical and acceleratory function in reproducing capital both generally and specifically. [...] Mirroring the sale of labor as "labor power" in the sphere of production, the abstraction of the audience commodity allows the sale of "audience power" in the sphere of circulation.
the "acceleratory function" bit is fascinating. need to think more about what that means and how that concept could be translated into other domains