Media are basically the traditional communication channels or tools utilized to send and receive information or data. The word refers to various elements of the mass media communications world, including the print media, broadcasting, television, music, movies, photography, theatre, and publishing. The mass-media tends to utilize the most significant ways to deliver the information directly to the consumer such as television, radio, prints and now the internet. The mediums were primarily accessible only to the privileged elite with access to printed materials or media. But now, anyone can access all sorts of media in the online arena.
Media have changed significantly over the past years and there has been a rapid evolution in its forms and delivery methods. Initially, there were only printed newspapers and magazines. There were also radio and TV broadcasted through the public address system. And there were a few select films that were shown publicly using the VHS machine. These mediums have greatly been transformed in terms of their delivery mechanisms and delivery methods. Now there are dozens and even hundreds of online publications that are widely available on the internet as well as the traditional print media.
This huge expansion of online and broadcast media is unprecedented and is further fueled by the expansion of broadband and high speed internet services in both metropolitan and rural areas. The vast majority of newspapers and magazines are now available on the internet as e-publishing. And the number of radio stations that broadcast internationally has increased dramatically in recent years. As these changes continue to take place, so too will the role of the media in society.
Today the media in society is not as it used to be. The impact of two massive communication technologies on the media landscape is tremendous. On one hand, the growth of television and radio stations resulted in the growth of audience penetration of the overall population. This audience penetration then translated into an overall increase in media spending at the national level and regional levels.
On the other hand, with the development of the digital camera and the ability to easily store content on digital memory cards, the impact of the expanding media universe on the media has become even more pronounced. Digital storage of video and audio means that a broad range of communications can be made available to the general population at very little cost or effort. The result: a marked increase in audience penetration for both television and radio programs at both the local and national levels.
It’s important to remember that the advantages and disadvantages of this new medium are not binary. Television and radio stations face certain challenges as they try to adjust to the new mediums. But it is also true that there are both advantages and disadvantages of all forms of media in society. And there will likely be more of both as time goes by. Because of this, it is important for interested parties to engage in a wide-ranging discussion about this ever-changing communications landscape. By doing so, they can ensure that current interests and needs are reflected in the decisions made about media and communications in the coming years.