What is Media?- Definition, Examples and types

What is Media?- Definition, Examples and types

What is Media?

Media is the term we use to refer to different types of media that provide us with important information and knowledge. Media has always been part of our society, even when people used paintings and writings to share information.

Mass media refers to media technologies used to disseminate information to a wide audience.

The key function of mass media is to communicate various messages through television, movies, advertising, radio, the internet, magazines, and newspapers.

Management’s, producers, promoter’s advertisers, etc know about their products or services.

The person to communicate may be:

Customers, so that they may become aware of/get interested in and be attracted to what is on offer from the communicator,

Employees, so that they may know how the organization has grown and proposes to grow: what their own prospects may be and so on; and at the same time feel a sense of belongingness or pride in their organization and contribute more

1. Enthusiastically.

2. The general public, suppliers etc. so that they may know the organization’s products, activities and impact and may feel favorably inclined towards it.

Organizations use 'media' to communicate messages hat inform, attract attention, create interest, generate desire and persuade others, that inform, attract attention, create interest, generate desire and persuade others, that the communicator and his products (the products may be goods or services) are worthy of support and patronage. Such communications through media are known as promotion.

Promotion is done through media and the idea is to communicate a message to a potential user of tourism services. All such messages are referred to as "advertisements" in this unit. Although some, like window displays, may not be called advertisements in common parlance.

Types of Media

The goal of media is to convey an advertising message to the audience through the most appropriate media channel for their product. 

In general, you can classify media in three main categories.

1. Print Media

2. Broadcast Media

3. Electronic Media


Print Media

This type of news media used to be the only way of delivering information to the public. For the generations of the 80s and 90s, print media was the only media of entertain. People relied on newspapers and magazines to learn everything, from recipes and entertainment news to important information about the country or the world. It also comprises of daily newspapers (morning, evening), weekly newspapers; periodicals; magazines of general or special interest to sports fans, women, children, literary minded tourist, fashion designers, gardeners, wildlife enthusiasts etc; or trade journals of interest to different business. These carry articles, news items and advertisements, for example the hospitality is the media of the hospitality industry and its producers use to communicate with their customers to provide information to tourists. Print media, particularly newspapers and magazines, still dominates the scene.

For example of Print media includes:

1.   Newspapers: Printed and distributed on a daily or weekly basis. They include news related to sports, politics, technology, science, local news, national news, international news, birth notices, as well as entertainment news related to fashion, celebrities, and movies. Today’s parents grew up with this type of printed media.

2. Magazines:  Printed on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. It contains information about finance, food, lifestyle, fashion, sports, etc.

3.   Books: Focused on a particular topic or subject, giving the reader a chance to spread their knowledge about their favorite topic.

4. Banners: Used to advertise a company’s services and products, hung on easily-noticed sights to attract people’s attention.

5.  Billboards: Huge advertisements created with the help of computers. Their goal is to attract people passing by.

6.   Brochures: A type of booklet that includes everything about one company – its products, services, terms and conditions, contact details, address, etc. They are either distributed with the newspapers or hand over to people. Check this article to learn more on how to ease the brochure design process here

7.   Flyers: Used mostly by small companies due to the low cost of advertising. They contain the basic information about a company, their name, logo, service or product, and contact information, and they are distributed in public areas. 


Broadcast Media

This comprises of radio and television. Messages are transmitted by these media through the atmosphere and received by the viewers and listeners at their respective places. They carry sports sponsored programmes and commercials etc. for example the BBC TV programme to travel motivate a number of tourists.

Broadcasting media includes videos, audios, or written content that provides important or entertaining information shared by different methods:

a)    Television: In the past, there were a few channels sharing various types of content, whereas now we have hundreds of TV channels to choose from. Each channel delivers a different type of content, so you have a separate channel for news, drama, movies, sports, animation, nature, travel, politics, cartoon, and religion. It’s the number one broadcasting media due to its reach to the audience.

b)    Radio: Uses radio waves to transmit entertaining, informative, and educative content to the public. Due to its high reach to the audience, radio is widely used for advertising products and services. Radio is one of the oldest means of entertainment, and today people often hear it to find out the weather and traffic while commuting. 

c)   Movies: Film, motion picture, screenplay, moving picture, or movie has world-wide reach ability. It’s the best type of mass media to promote cultures and spread social awareness. Movies have always played a huge part in the entertainment world.


Electronic Media

This comprise of audio and video tapes. These are used by tourism departments, tour operators etc. for promotional purposes. Audio tapes are now being used more and more for guiding services also in museums etc.

This comprises of:

a) Hoardings (also called bill boards) which are printed and located at public places like busy streets or parks,

b)  Illuminated signs which may remain steady or keep flashing and changing,

c) Wall paintings and posters (which are printed bulletins) put up at railway stations, airports, offices or carried by person on the streets,

d)  Panels which are small, painted or printed and attached to kiosks on lamp posts, buses (inside as well as outside), railway compartments taxis; exhibitions, trade shows and fairs, signs and banners at retail outlets,

e)   Window displays,

f)    Sky balloons and skywriting,

g)  Banners on boats anchored at water fronts, etc. Another way of classifying media is in terms of:

h)  Audio comprising of displays print, cinema slides, etc. that make sound,

i)     Visual comprising of displays print, cinema slides, etc.

j)    Audio-visual comprising of video tapes, TV cinema.

Media like, newspapers, cinema, radio and T. V., which are managed by people other than the advertisers are known as 'Above the line' media. Other media like direct mail, exhibitions, demonstrations, posters, bulletins etc., are referred to as 'Below the line media. This distinction is because of a practice of some agents to bill for the first type of media used, draw a line below, after providing for commission on them and then billing of the costs of the other media, below the line.


Functions of Media

Media has been one of the most significant forces in modern culture. All types of media communication whether written, broadcast or spoken reach a larger audience thus creating a massive impact. Here are the important functions of Media:

1)  Mass media plays a crucial role in shaping how we view the world.

2)  Intensive use of mass media has resulted in the world to appear smaller and closer.

3)  It also promotes the distribution of goods and services.

4) The fundamental objectives of mass media are to inform, educate and entertain the masses.

5) It is known to be an important player in democracy and the smooth functioning of the nation.

6)  Media is the watchdog of society.

7)  Media works to transmit heritage and cultural values.

8) The rise of new mass media creates a global platform to bring people together.


Why is media important?

Preferred movies on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, news on TV and radio, articles in newspapers and magazines make mass media an integral part of our everyday life. Since it has a vast influence on people all over the world, brands use various platforms to appeal to their leads and customers and pitch their goods.

Companies run an endless marathon to reach success with the help of mass media. Brands use either traditional or digital media to connect with their target audience and build brand awareness. Entrepreneurs consider various platforms to convey a company’s image and create a good reputation. With mass media, brands can effectively promote their goods and services, reach broader audiences, boost brand engagement, and increase sales volume.

At the present, when you know about the importance of mass media technologies, let’s proceed to their functions.


Media Terms

While discussing media and its uses certain words are usually used. These words have specific meanings which may not be the same as commonly understood.

Hence, such words and their specific meanings are explained below:

Advertisement: Is the use of space in a publication or time in a broadcast, which has been paid for, to convey a message. Direct mail is also advertising because the space, though not in publication, has to be paid for by the advertiser.

Audience: Refers to the people who see or hear or read the messages in the media. Audience profile refers to the characteristics of the audience it terms of demographics and other factors like literacy, attitudes and interests, social and economic location, etc. This profile varies. For example, those who read national newspapers might act or behave differently from those who read regional newspapers or professional journals; those who like to watch super story on TV may not be the same as those who watch izozo. Those who may see the posters in the airport are not the same as those who may see the bus panel.

Campaign: Refers to a planned programme to communicate or promote, using media (one or more), with repetition and/or variety during a specified period of time.

Circulation: is the number of copies (of newspaper or journal or magazine) sold.

Commercial: Is an advertisement message broadcast on T. V.

Copy: Is what appears in an advertisement by way of words and illustrations. The copy translates the abstract ideas and concept of the advertiser’s message into a tangible form.

Coverage: Refers to the number of persons from the target audience that sees, hear or read the message. Coverage is less than 'exposure', because not all who see a message may in fact see it.

Cumulative Audience (Gross): Is the sum of exposure to all media in a campaign.

Demographics: Refer to the description of a population (market or audience) in terms of sex, age, family size, occupation etc.

Duplication: Is the overlap between media because of difference media reaching the same persons.

Exposure (or Reach): Refers to those of the target audience having an opportunity to see or hear or read the message in the medium in a period of time. For example a specific T. V. programme may not be seen by all persons having T. V. sets. But only some of them will be the target audience. In the case of a newspaper also exposure can be more than the circulation.

Flexibility: Is the scope for variation in regionality, timeliness and creativity'. Some media allow more scope for creativity in terms of colour, sound or movement.

Frequency: Is the number of times an audience has an opportunity to see or hear or read the message over a period of time. This will depend on the number of times the media has carried the message according to the schedules.

Image of a medium: Is the public perception of the medium's modernity, honesty, quality of content, etc. The image affects, positively or otherwise, the message carried by the medium.

Impact: Is the effect on the coverage in terms of recognition, recall or memory and influence on the audience.

Intensity: Is the degree of thoroughness with which the audience sees, hears or reads.

Jingle: Is an advertisement message set to music, usually broadcast on radio.

Layout: Refers to the manner in which the advertisement space has been used, the manner in which the copy has been presented in the advertisement. It includes size of letters and spacing of words and illustrations. The copy and layout together make the impact.

P. O. P (Point-of-Purchase): Refers to the displays at the retail outlets. Reach is the same as exposure. It indicates the capability of the medium to reach the target audience.

Schedule: Is the programme of use of the media like sequence, dates, time, etc.

Selectivity: Means the ability of the medium to reach a target audience specified by geographic, demographic or other factors.

Spots: Refer to the time for advertisement in a radio or T. V.

Visual: Refers to the illustrations in the copy.


Media Differences

There are considerable differences between the different media, in terms of coverage exposure, flexibility and other characteristics.

Some media go to where the audience is, for example, print and electronic media. Some of the display media, hoardings for example, or cinema do not move. Hence exposure is limited to those who go to where the medium is. Some media like radio, T. V. or some magazines, have an international or a nationwide reach, while others are exposed only to audiences within a limited geographical linguistic or professional boundary.

Some media are also pursued at the convenience of the audience, while some present the messages according to the conveniences of the media owner. If the messages are not noticed, when being shown, they are missed. They cannot be recalled for a fresh look. If the message is not clear, one cannot ask for a repeat. If you are watching a video, you can ask for a repeat, but not while watching a T. V. or listening to a radio broadcast unless you have recorded it yourself. If the medium is a newspaper or a magazine, you can read it even after some lapse of time.

The print media, particularly newspapers, have very large exposures. Advertisements for newspapers are relatively easy to prepare. Newspapers and magazines may carry exclusive pages as supplements. Newspapers are heavily crowded with all kinds of advertisements. Coverage could be poor despite large exposure, unless the advertisements occupies a lot of space and/or is appropriately positioned.

Magazines range from weeklies to biannual. They are read repeatedly.

Very few people read a magazine from the beginning to the end in one sitting. Magazines may also be referred to after some time and they have longer lives than newspapers which are usually discarded within a few hours.

The reach of the direct mail is as good as -the mailing list. Mailing lists can be compiled from directories, sales personnel, customers or membership (of clubs and associations). Target audiences outside the mailing list are ignored. Direct mail has a personal touch and can use more words and illustrations than other print media. It is read at leisure. Cinema and film slides shown in theatres have high memory value. Using colour, sound and movement they can carry a wide range of communication at a time.

However, the limitations are:

1. They are expensive and wastage is high

2. There is very little selectivity in terms of target audience

3. The audience profile for cinema is changing over time. It also changes according to the film being shown

4. Advertisements are shown only at the beginning of the show or at the start after the interval. These timings being known, the audience can avoid viewing. On the other hand ratio of coverage to exposure is low but the impact is high. The involvement of the audience in cinema is considerably more than in T. V. In T. V. the attention to the small screen is less concentrated and less consistent. There are distractions also in the case of T. V. because of being watched at home.

T. V has become the most important medium because of its accessibility in more households than of any other medium. Exposure and coverage are both increasing even in the rural areas. Selectivity is possible if the audience profile is carefully determined. Audience profile changes according to the programme of the broadcast, as well as the time of the broadcast. Impact depends partly on the position of the advertisement in the sequence of commercials preceding and succeeding. As a medium, it overcomes the handicaps of illiteracy.

Commercial costs a lot to prepare and the charges for medium usage are also very high. Audience tends to relax while watching T. V. commercial combines attributes of storytelling and demonstration. It can convey demonstrations and messages on how to use. Hence, it is considered the fasted and the most dynamic medium for selling brands and services, the impact being more through the visuals.

Radio has a wider exposure than the print media and perhaps also more than the T. V. outside urban areas for the present. Flexibility is less than.

T. V. as only sound can be used. The jingles become popular and are often sung by listeners. Messages can be detailed and made appealing in the form of dialogues using local slang and jargon. Selectivity depends on the programme and timing as in the case of T. V. it reaches all social strata and overcomes the problem of illiteracy.

Radio is not confined to a place as it moves along with the listener. We must remember that for a listener, the message is not durable and it may also be ignored.

The value of outdoor media, like hoardings, posters, signs etc. depends entirely on the location. They have long life and are seen repeatedly by audiences. They have a high geographic selectivity but demographic selectivity is poor. The message can be varied very frequently. Messages have to be brief. They must be capable of being seen and read from distances in a short time as one passes by. Nobody stops in front of these to read. If the angle of the hoarding to the direction of traffic is not proper, passersby will not even notice it. They are relatively less expensive, but the space will have to be bought for on a long term contract.

Exhibitions and Fairs can be conducted by hiring out stalls in an event in which other exhibition where there will be no other exhibits. Either way, the visitor to an exhibition comes specifically for the purpose of viewing the exhibits, combined perhaps, with some entertainment.

The attention of the viewer is therefore almost complete to the messages being conveyed through the:

1.   Panels

2.   Personal explanations

3.   Pamphlets and leaflets

4.   Samples

5.   Working models

6.   Films

7.   Audio and video tapes.

The exhibition provides an opportunity to combine a variety of media into a single location. Messages therefore can be detailed and useful.

The world of media is also changing today. Video and cable T. V. etc. are replacing the cinema theatre. The audience is also becoming larger. For example, household viewing of satellite T. V. had increased tremendously in the recent times. Similarly, satellite viewers are increasing. Also, the numbers of satellite channels are increasing.

Satellite transmissions are viewed in about 40 countries.

Very often, advertisements in video cassettes are totally wasted as copies of the cassette are made eliminating advertisements. The viewers may also 'fast forward' what they do not want to se.

Cable T. V. operators, however, provide effective local advertising which is not part of the video cassette. These will have geographical selectivity but not audience selectivity. They can be repeated several times in a day depending upon the operator.


Media Research

As a tourism professional, suppose you have to plan a campaign to promote your product. This could be a tour, destination, hotel, emporium etc. as a first step in this regard you would decide on:

1. What media to use?

2. What is to be presented in the media and how oft en?

Besides, the characteristics mentioned earlier as well as details on exposure, coverage, usage etc. have to be also taken into consideration while choosing the media for the campaign.

Media selection has to depend on answers to questions like:

a)   How many people see it?

b)  What kinds of people see it?

c)   How much does it cost?

d)  What is the impact, etc?

You would not like to advertise if it is not read or seen by people of the kind you want to address. For example, a souvenir issued at the time of a special event contains many advertisements. However, experience has shown that nobody seriously looks at them. Hence such advertisements are not intended as communication. They are intended to provide support to the publisher of the souvenir i.e. the organizer of the event where the souvenir is released. On the contrary, an advertisement on the big screen behind the batsman in a cricket test match is seen by thousands present in the ground or millions watching the T. V. telecast of the match. Naturally you may go for the latter option provided you meet the costs, etc.

Similarly, while going for a campaign in a newspaper (which may frequently be there at local destination level one has to take into account various considerations. For example, all readers do not notice all the advertisements in a newspaper. Some skip through the headlines. Some do not look at certain pages at all. Many people do not look at advertisement at all, unless it is very big or the visual is very striking. Sometimes the smallness of the type in the midst of a lot of empty space attracts attention.

Pick up any newspaper and you will see that there are some pages reserved for special kinds of advertisements. For example, tender notices will appear only in specific pages. Similarly, employment notices, entertainment schedules, trade notices, legal notices shipping news, etc, will appear on particular pages. These pages will be gone through by those who are interested in such matters.

Better knowledge about readership patterns and behaviour helps make more valid decisions on the choice and use of media. It is here that through media research one gathers this knowledge.

Media research provides estimates of:

1. Readership or viewership of average issue or pro gramme profiled by age, sex, class, exposure to other media, purchasing patterns etc.

2. Where, when, how and how much do they read (see or hear)

3. Response function, which is an expression, usually in numbers, of the value to the advertiser of repeated advertisement exposures; how much forgetting occurs between exposures and what is the nature of this decay in terms of time; additional impact of every subsequent advertisement, may be the same, more or less, more for the second and/or third and diminishing thereafter. This will depend on the interval between advertisements.

4. Effectiveness of different sizes of posters, or of colours on them

5. Site evaluation of hoardings, etc.

There are several problems in researching media

For example, Readers may be casual, flipping through, or thorough, hence distinguishing them is difficult,

Readers who read the same or past issues repeatedly inflate the readership figures, a reader may be regular, but may not have read any

issues during the period, although he may never have seen it before, and one may listen to a radio programme, without recognizing the station broadcasting it, etc. Media research provides estimates of numbers and types of people in particular segments. They can be reached by any of a variety of ways using the media for a given cost. It is a specialized and costly study but of great help for advertisers to plan their campaigns. At times, media owners themselves provide research data. But mostly these are arrived mainly to establish the competitive superiority of the media they own. The total advertising budget is very large and increasing. Media owners are interested in enhancing their share of this budget. In the case of newspapers, for example, the cost of production of the daily issue is met substantially by the advertisement revenue, thus keeping the cover price of the issue low.

An owner can levy higher advertisement tariffs if he can establish superior reach and impact over other media. Advertisement agencies need the research data to be able to advise their clients properly, independent agencies conduct media research and supply the findings to whoever is interested at a price. Some do so, on specific requests to answer specific question. Some do it on an ongoing basis. The studies are done on sampling methodologies in selected areas. The findings are good enough to make decisions although the same size may be less than half percent.

Some of the considerations in choosing media are qualitative and intangible. You must remember that audiences attribute values to advertisements that appear in different media according to the media image. This is the reputation for honesty or class of a particular media. For example, a product advertised in the national magazine is perceived as having grater prestige, value and/or reliability than one in a regional newspaper with limited local circulation. A hoarding in an important commercial centre conveys high class than one in the market place. The costs of the media vary according to these differences but do not fully reflect the differences in quality.


Media Costs

The cost of using media is an important consideration while planning a campaign. One must utilize the budget for the campaign for maximum benefits.

You must know that every medium has fixed rate tariffs for carrying advertisements.

These rates vary according to the space or time used. For example:

a)  Cover pages of magazines cost more than inside p ages,

b) Colour ads cost more than black and white ads,

c)  Classified ads pages cost much less than display ads in other editorial pages,

d) National newspapers cost more than regional newspapers.

e) Newspapers which publish simultaneously from man y centres offer concessions if more than one edition is used.

Similarly, Radio and T. V. charge differently according to the time. Prime time costs more than non-prime time, the distinction being according to the exposure at any time.

Cost efficiency is more important than the actual cost of using the medium. Cost efficient is usually defined as the number of exposures which the ad in a particular medium will deliver for a given budget. This indicates value for money.

Cost efficiency is usually calculated as cost per thousand. The question to ask is, 'how much does it cost to reach 1000 of the target audience?' it can be argued that coverage is more important than reach, in which case the cost to get a coverage is more important than reach, in which case the cost to get a coverage of 1000 can be calculated.

A further refinement is to work out the impact of an ad and then work out the cost per thousand. The cost on the basis of a 45 second T. V. commercial will work out differently from a 15 second commercial, because the coverage and impact will not be only proportional to time (3 times). The cost on the basis of a one-page ad in a newspaper will work out differently from a 4-inch 2-column ad.

Cost efficiency comparisons should ideally include audience estimates relating to the same time period. Media that vary significantly in flexibility are not easy to compare. Costs include cost of production of ads, which in turn have differential impact. It is not easy to separate the impact due to the medium from the impact of the creativity in the message itself.

Cost efficiency data are obtained from research agencies who study audience profiles for different media through surveys, interviews and other researching methodologies. The impact however is dependent on specific ads. Those who use media rather heavily could benefit by studying the impact of their own campaigns.

Some of the relevant factors to note while calculating cost efficiency are, cost of inserting the ads, readership target segment exposed etc.

Cost of advert per full page, half page, 1/4 page etc. are usually advertised in some Nigerian dailies.


Media Planning

These are the stage of Media Planning. It involves the determination of:

1)     What media to use?

2)     Frequency of use, and timing or space.

Planning decides on:

a)   Details of media schedule,

b)  Desirable extent of duplication if more than one medium is used,

c)   Whether the ads should be spread evenly through a period or intermittently with thrusts of heavy ads and periods of relative inactivity,

d)  Options-descriptions of ad characteristics, other than the copy and artwork,

e)   How budget is to be allocated between the media.

While doing so the considerations are:

a) Exposures (how many, how intense)

b)Segmentation effect (who is to be exposed, what percentage of target)

c) Media option source effect (qualitative value of media option, relative impact).

d)Response function (related to class like T. V. better than magazine; option like full page better than column, etc.)

Today computer software is also available which can help decision makers evaluate and correlate the several data with the advertiser's objectives. The programme would suggest the combinations of publications and insertions that would most nearly meet one's requirements in terms of reach, frequency of exposure and cost.

It is difficult to incorporate so many considerations and arrive at judicious decisions on media planning.


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