Mass Media as Industries

Mass Media as Industries Mass media was shaped by seven industries: newspapers, magazines, books, recordings, movies, radio, and television. Although under siege today from Internet- based companies, these legacy industries have shaped the modern media as we know them. Modern mass media came into existence in 1833, when a near-penniless New York printer, Benjamin Day, discovered a mass audience with his New York Sun. Never before had anyone reached so many people so quickly and so regularly.

5.2 Business Models The sponsorship of newspapers quickly changed from partisan interests to commercial interests. Advertising-dependence became the dominant business model that remains today for the newspaper, magazine, radio, and television industries. The book, recording, and movie industries rely mostly on revenue directly from consumers. All legacy media and Internet-based media use business structures that newspapers developed in the 1830s and are dependent on technological advancement and cultivation of revenue streams from the sale of advertising space.

5.3 Ink-on-Paper Industries For 150 years newspapers were the dominant mass medium. With competition from television as a news source U.S. newspaper circulation began a slow decline. The implications were masked by severe cost-cutting that kept profits high. But with additional competition from the Internet in the early millennium years, the dominance

of print media ended. New challenges included finding new audiences in the crowded online marketplace. The book industry, however, made a near-seamless switch to digital delivery.

5.4 Sound Media Industries Edison’s 1877 phonograph was the recorded music industry’s foundation. Fanning, a college freshman in 1988, fashioned a software program that allowed people to share music free online. As a result, music sales plummeted. Traditional radio suffered as well, as listening via the Internet streaming and other digital innovations gained popularity. However, the Internet has helped new musicians promote their songs and expand their fan base; MP3 technology has made it possible for people to create their personal playlists without ads.

5.5 Motion Media Industries Once-rival, motion media industries—movies and television—have formed a generally profitable, mutually satisfying relationship. The main media conglomerates produce movies and television series, and screen their movies on television. Disney, with its Disney Channel, is an excellent example of this. Content originating in Hollywood (or in other booming film production centers in the United States) is readily transferable to television, including networks, cable, and local stations. Actors, directors, and technicians move seamlessly among the big screen, small screen, computer screen, and handheld screen.

5.6 Platform-Neutral Future Latter-day media barons were comfy with profit-making formulas that date back to Ben Day and the Penny Press era. Big mistake. Audience losses going back to the 1980s should have alerted executives that old ways weren’t going to work forever. They misjudged the data, mistaking a trend as mere temporary blips. They were blind- sided by a rapid shift in audience preferences for Internet-based media. The complacency ruined the newspaper, magazine, recording, and radio industries as they were historically constituted.

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