scope of entertainment

Before mass media came into existence in the mid-1400s, people created their own diversion, entertainment, and amusement. Villagers got together to sing and swap stories. Traveling jugglers, magicians, and performers dropped by. What a difference mass media have made since then. More than 75 million people in North America alone saw the James Cameron movie Avatar in its first four months. In light of Avatar’s strong message of respecting indigenous cultures and lands, its ability to attract such a large audience is powerful. The long-awaited seventh installment of the Star Wars movie series, The Force Awakens (www.starwars.com), had equal expectations as Avatar, with regard to its opening weekend and longevity, prior to its box office opening in December of 2015. The week before the film was set to open, film critics predicted that The Force Awakens would break all previously set earnings records, perhaps even exceeding 1 billion in total box office sales. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not only an excellent example of the power of film to entertain mass audiences, but as the first-ever film to feature a woman and an African American as the primary protagonists. It is also a great example of the power of film to both influence and reflect social mores.

In addition, with the advent of the Internet and portable electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, people can now be entertained by media throughout the day and evening, regardless of their other activities or responsibilities. Just walk into an airport or restaurant and look around—what you’ll likely see is that most people are looking into their smartphone or other portable electronic device watching some form of media for entertainment purposes, perhaps on Hulu.com or Netflix.com, or any number of other streaming services. In fact, streaming media has never been easier, particularly in urban areas where cellular signals are strong and wi-fi is readily available. We can now begin watching our favorite television show or sports team at home on our smart TV, transition to our tablet when traveling, and then when we arrive we can transition to our smartphone if necessary. This is possible not only because of the technology that allows for personal device integration, but also because most cable providers now allow consumers to watch live television on their personal electronic devices.

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