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Media Industry Structural Changes Critical Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2019


The subject of media is quite broad and interesting. Therefore, it is critical to picture the main topics that were covered to provide a solid foundation for the other topics in the subject. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to explore three of the main topics that were covered in the subject. These are:

  1. A Changing Media Landscape: Key Contemporary Shifts?
  2. Contemporary Advertising: Monetizing Changing Media Audiences
  3. Has the Digital Revolution Caused the Demise of Traditional Journalism? The paper seeks to enhance the level of understanding of these topics through an analytical review of the underlying theories and concepts.

A Changing Media Landscape: Key Contemporary Shifts?

This topic explores a number of issues concerning the structural changes that are eminent in the media industry. The emerging media landscape depicts changes in the media content and the techniques of delivering the content to the audience. Therefore, I examine three key areas under this topic.

These are: the digitization of media, the degree of commercialization of media in the contemporary times, and the continued embrace of integration between different players in the media industry. Under this, I review the entertainment aspect and socialization of the media. To begin with, it is important to note that the media industry is witnessing a revolution.

Structural changes in the media industry pose both a challenge and an opportunity for the media companies. The revolution in the media industry is depicted by the widespread structural changes in media practices due to the introduction of new technologies and new practices.

According to Kaul (2012), a large number of the structural changes that are taking place in the media industry resonate from the emergence of digital technologies. Digital technologies results in what most people refer to as the digitalization of media. Digital technologies continue to broaden the meaning of media.

The adoption of the Internet in communication at different levels of interaction, individual, organizational, and family among others broadens the conception of new media in that the individual, group, or organization becomes a complete media in itself. It is easy to source for information and pass the information to different people, as well as receive feedback from the audience with the adoption of digital technology.

The digitalization of the new media implies that the systems of communication in the modern times are expansive. This quickens the pace at which information is relayed from the source to the receiver.

Jenkins et al. (2006) argue that the new media landscape requires new skills and competencies in order to attain participatory communication. I comprehend the issue of participatory communication from the perspective of the presence of digital tools of communication and their supportive communication software that enable people to interact with either other people, or with the media companies.

One must not only be aware of the technology, but also know how to use the technology for communication to maximize interactive communication. Web 2.0 technologies are one of the platforms on which tools of interactive communication have been developed.

The expanded social space in media means that the media is not used as a source of information, but also a place where social interaction and entertainment takes place. Here, I can name a number of the new media platforms that enhanced entertainment, as well as social and formal interaction. They include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and My Space, among others.

Borrowing from Jenkins (2006), I ascertain that one of the features of the new media landscape is that it is networked. Networking can be looked at from two perspectives. First is the ability of the new media to reach different people in different destinations from a single source.

This can be likened to the aspect of globalization of media where the deployment of communication networks enables people in one destination to interact with other people across the globe. The second perspective is the ability of media companies to expand their capacity to deliver through the establishment of business networks with other companies that are operating in the media, as well as the information technology industry.

Within the realms of the communication in the changing media landscape, communication is molded around conglomerates in the media business. Media business is operated locally and globally at the same time. Online communication firms that operate in a commercial platform have emerged.

Therefore, media organizations around the world continue to embrace partnerships with different players in the communication industry to broaden the platform on which they offer their services to the people. The aim of most media firms is to increase to expand their operations and reach as many people as possible.

This, in turn, increases their competitiveness in the market, especially when it comes to the aspect of marketing for business firms. This, in turn, invites competition between media firms, where each firm seeks to attain a better position through the diversification of the techniques that are used in the delivery of information to the people (Castells & Cardoso 2005).

Arsenault and Castells (2008) present a clear picture of the manner in which media organizations across the world are integrating in order to develop competitive news cartels.

The two authors give examples of the news cartels that have been formed out of the network between different media organizations across the world. In an analytical point of view, networking is embraced because it enables media firms to enhance their abilities to reach wider audiences, thence competitiveness and profitability.

The media today is largely commercialized. The media industry in the present times is highly privatized, contrary to the early times when the media were largely seen as public entities with the responsibility of informing the public. The most outstanding media houses today are private entities that largely operate as business corporations (Devereux 2007).

I also note that most of the revenues for media houses come from the commercials that are carried in the media. Businesses have discovered the essence of publicizing their products and services. Therefore, firms are willing to spend huge sums of money in terms of advertising fees to place their commercials in the media.

Thus, competition between media houses is quite high as media houses strive to attain dominance in the space of communication. This competition results in a lot of issues of regulation and the control of the media to avoid a stalemate situation in the industry. An observation of the trends in the media industry denotes that partnership and cross investments between diversified Internet and media companies are bound to accelerate.

This will be beneficial to the consumers of media companies because of the improvement of the media content and the techniques of delivering the content to the consumers (Arsenault & Castells 2008).

Contemporary Advertising: Monetizing Changing Media Audiences

This is a critical topic considering the fact that the changing media landscape has resulted in a shift in the modalities of advertising. The emerging media landscape offers a wide range of platforms on which individuals and companies can conduct marketing practices. In this part, I present an analysis of the key changes in modern advertising, branding and marketing.

I also look into the development of web 2.0 technologies and the Internet and how they are causing a shift in contemporary advertising. Therefore, the question of whether traditional advertising still holds value is pictured. I also review the impact of modern advertising on the consumer culture.

Advertising is a critical field in the marketing realm. Advertising has largely seen as a field that is dominated by advertising companies since the mid-year of the 20th century. Running into the last decade of the 20th century, advertising firms had peculiar ways of branding products in the market.

Therefore, the consumer culture during the 20th century was purely molded around the branding content that was shaped by the advertising companies. However, the emergence of new information technologies provided a platform on which a lot of changes in the advertising industry have been implemented.

It became easy for people to place brands in the market as the Internet gained widespread usage in the 1990s. Therefore, more companies are shifting to the Internet and the digital technologies when it comes to branding and advertising.

Andrejevic (2007) observed that advertising is aptly shifting from the traditional forms of advertising to the modern forms of advertising through the Internet. Internet advertising is more of an experience than just a mere activity of extending brands in the market. The implication here is that the quality of a given brand does not matter, but what matters is the platform that is used to advertise and place the brand in the market.

Andrejevic further notes that the digital landscape offers consumers a broad sense of choosing, accessing, and participating in determining the worthiness of products and services in the market. Companies are forced to place advertisements on different media platforms that are appealing to different audiences (consumers) in the market.

Unlike in the past where the same media was used to reach consumers, different generations of consumers in the contemporary times align with certain forms of media, forcing advertising companies to switch to the different platforms to reach and appeal to a wider audience.

This poses huge cost implications for firms. For example, the youth in the contemporary market cannot be reached by the audio media since most of them embrace the social media; thus they can only be easily reached through the social media platform (Napoli 2011).

Borrowing from the cardinal utility analysis, consumers in the modern times do not simply buy products because they satisfy their needs, but largely because of the platform of advertisement that is used to advertise the product. This is an indicator of the influence that modern forms of advertising due to the changes in media are posing to the theories and concepts of consumer behavior.

The psychological connotation in the conception of consumer behavior in contemporary marketing is largely affected by the emergence of new media platforms. Modern techniques of advertising present products and services not as cultural resources in the society, but largely as material resources.

According to Arvidsson (2005), the expansiveness of the contemporary media presents a situation where cognitive knowledge about brands among the audience competes with the aesthetic experiences that are based on new media (Barker 2011).

Therefore, the context of advertisement determines the trends of consumption of a particular product or service in the market. Thus, a consumerism culture is promoted in the contemporary society. Ethical issues in the production process are, to a large extent, overlooked because of the concentration on brands. The concentration of brands comes from the intense capitalization on new media by firms.

This ensures that those companies’ products remain appealing to the customers (Arvidsson 2007). Contemporary advertising appears to be more centered on pulling the audience towards the products and services in the market, instead of letting the audience interact with the brands in the market and make informed choices about the brands basing on their needs due to the digital technologies in the media industry.

Based on the online platform, producers can only come up with the basic codes of products and give the room to the audience to mold different applications. It is worthwhile to conclude that the contemporary virtual world largely revolves around brand, which is eminent in virtual aesthetics (Kornberger 2010).

Images of products and services are highly projected in the media, making it hard for the consumers sway their minds from these products. The media largely affects the choices and perceptions of consumers about brands. Looking it from another sense, the modern media platform offers a wide space for consumers to interact, enabling them to share their experiences and opinions about brands.

Thus, it can also be concluded that the contemporary media offer a space and chance to the consumers to interact with brands. The more companies expand their brands on different media platforms, the more they give a room for the consumers to inspect the brands and make informed choices on the brands.

Companies get a chance of extending their products to a wider audience with the diversified media, thereby giving them more power to ascertain the quality of brands (Sinclair 2012).

Most of the developments that point to the establishment of brands in the markets denote a monetary implication on the audiences where the users are supposed to undergo extra costs in accessing information on products and services. This does not only point to online marketing of products and services, but also the personalization of advertising where users are supposed to subscribe to certain contents at a fee.

However, trends in media and advertising show that the monetizing of audiences is becoming difficult because of the diversification of the channels of accessing and distributing information. Therefore, the revenue of advertising shall keep going down as the audience continues to embrace modes of communication that enable them to access information without spending much (Deuze 2007).

Has the Digital Revolution Caused the Demise of Traditional Journalism?

The commonly observed trend in the media industry is the continued embrace of digital technologies by different players in the media industry. One of the contemporary and most resounding shifts in the media industry is the adoption of digital technologies in the media industry. Therefore, I present several critical issues that surround digital revolution and its impact on media.

The issues are embedded in three perspectives of arguments. The first perspective of the argument is that the digital revolution depicts an end to aspects of journalism that were embedded in traditional journalism.

The second perspective of the argument is that the digital revolution presents a lot of opportunities for the improvement and growth of journalism due to the diversification of the channels of communication under the virtual media platform. The third perspective is that multimedia journalism and traditional journalism can be integrated.

To begin with, it is important to note that the digital revolution is reaching a level where nobody in the society can resist the influence and role of virtual technology in modern communication. Prior to the digital revolution, most people associated journalism with news only. The implication is that people no longer wait to receive information because the digital technology helps individuals to source, access, and distribute information.

The ability and the ease with which people can access and share new information makes the new forms of information delivery archaic in that people no longer wait to receive information from certain sources. Individuals have the capacity to tap information on a primary basis and distribute the information using the digital technologies.

Therefore, the traditional mode of information delivery is losing meaning in the contemporary virtual era. Mass media, which is derived from traditional journalism, continue to lose monopoly as the ways of obtaining information through the digital platform continue to increase.

The availability of computers, increased Internet access and the mobile technology pose a great challenge to the traditional forms of information distribution through the analog platform. Radio and television are the most renowned tools on which the information was passed to the public by journalists (Kaul 2013).

However, it is worthwhile to note that the Internet and the presence of digital tools and technologies provide a favorable basis on which journalism can be improved. The digital revolution broadens the platform on which the public can access information.

While a number of commentaries point to the growth in citizen journalism where the ethics of communication are not practiced, other commentators argue for the possibility of developing a desirable platform in the media industry.

This quickens the pace at which the information is accessed and synthesized in desirable modes by journalists before it is delivered to the widest audience. Journalists can easily establish virtual links with as many individuals as possible through the digital platform. These individuals volunteer new information to journalists (Curran 2012).

According to Curran (2012), a high level of confusion in the media industry today is largely associated with the Internet and the revolution in the information technology industry. Contrary to the structured model of delivering information to the public, the continued embrace of digital media, combined with the social media, makes it quite daunting to enforce ethics in communication.

Moreover, a lot of questions about the regulation of communication as was present in traditional journalism emerge. The concern raised by a substantial number of people amidst the digitalization of the contemporary society is whether the content flow in the digital media can be monitored and controlled effectively.

With the digital technologies, it is quite difficult to ascertain the validity of certain information or whether the information is not ascertained before it spreads across the media. Validity of information is an essential factor in journalism, yet the inability to control the flow of information on the digital platform makes it almost impossible to validate information before it reaches the audience.

In addition, people rarely moderate the language that they use to deliver information. From the cultural perspective, the choice of language was an important factor in traditional journalism that can no longer be practiced in the modern times due to the widespread ability of people to attain and circulate information without being regulated.

Niblock (2010) supports the observation that competition is another notable thing in the digital society. The digital platform is looked at by most players in the media industry as an opportunity for them to extend their dominance in the industry. The process and practice of journalism are already undergoing alteration due to the diversification of the platform on which the media content is offered.

Linking this to the issue of the monetization of the media, it can be argued that the commercialization of journalism is in its pick in the present digital society. Media firms are actively engaged in corporate activities to expand their capacity to deliver.

These activities are depicted in the search for partnerships and acquisitions. Business has taken shape and dominated the media industry, with the firms that have the potential to attract a wider audience being traded at higher profits. I can, perhaps, take the example of the Huffington Post to AOL at $ 315 million, with the company having been established using only $ 1 million.

The leading companies in the media industry are actively engaged in the expansion of their capacities to reach a wider audience through the development of their capacities to deliver their content on different digital platforms without paying much attention to the ethical issues in communication (Charalambous 2013). An example of the new form of journalism is blogging.

Blogging, according to a substantial number of commentators, breaches the long-held professional standards of journalism.

Blogging as a form of journalism in the digital era highly deploys impressive figures of writing like sarcasm only to draw the attention and increase their fame due to the rise in the number of people who follow their news content. The function, status, and the authority of journalism have been altered. The aesthetic nature of contemporary journalism makes most journalists lose objectivity (Craig 2011).

A critical look into the three entries

From the three entries, it is apparent that many of the changes in the contemporary media industry are driven by changes in technology.

This acts as an incentive to the players in the media industry. Technological revolution affects the media industry in two main ways; there is a change in the needs and preferences of the modern audience, and technological revolution presents a platform on which firms can increase their competitiveness.

The media industry is now highly digitized due to the presence of modern information and communication technology. This is found in the third entry. Based on the digital content framework, firms in the media industry are developing new modalities of delivering content to their customers.

An example is the crafting of new marketing and advertising techniques based on contemporary techniques, which come out strongly in the second entry. Based on the first entry, it is worthwhile to note that the media industry is witnessing a revolution that is leading to the demise of the old forms of journalism and media content delivery.

With the changing media landscape come a lot of challenges, as well as opportunities for the direct players in the industry. They include media firms, the audience, and indirect players who include firms that use the media to reach their customers.

Competition is bound to mount in the industry as diversity in the modalities of consumption in the media industry is embraced. This will make the embrace of ethical standards in the media industry questionable.

Reference List

Andrejevic, M. 2007, ISPY: Surveillance and power in the interactive era, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Arsenault, A. H. & Castells, M. 2008, ‘The structure and dynamics of globalmulti-media business networks’, International Journal of Communication, vol. 2, pp. 707-748.

Arvidsson, A. 2005, ‘Brands: A critical perspective’, Journal of Consumer Culture, vol. 5 no. 2, pp. 235-258.

Arvidsson, A. 2007, The logic of the brand. Web.

Barker, S. 2011, Social media marketing: a strategic approach, 1st ed., Cengage Learning, New York, NY.

Castells, M. & Cardoso, G., eds. 2005, The network society: from knowledge to policy, Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations, Washington, DC.

Charalambous, S. 2013, (but not the internal organs). Web.

Craig, D. A. 2011, Excellence in online journalism: Exploring current practices in an evolving environment, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Curran, J. 2012, Web.

Deuze, M. 2007, Media work, Polity, Cambridge.

Devereux, E. 2007, Understanding the media, SAGE Publications, Los Angeles, CA.

Jenkins, H. 2006, . Web.

Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. 2006, . Web.

Kaul, V. 2012, ‘Changing paradigms of media landscape in the digital age’, J Mass Communicat Journalism, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 110-119.

Kaul, V. 2013, ‘Journalism in the age of digital technology’, Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 125-143.

Kornberger, M. 2010, Brand society: How brands transform management and lifestyle, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Napoli, P. M. 2011, Audience evolution: New technologies and the transformation of media audiences, Columbia University Press, New York, NY.

Niblock, S. 2010, Journalism: A beginner’s guide, One World Publications, London.

Sinclair, J. 2012, Advertising, the media and globalization: A world in motion, Routledge, New York, NY.

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