INFORMATION @ 1 RUPEE

Dr. A. Nagraj


Media runs the world and this is evident in our immediate environment; media makes us look back into our past, presents the current environment and predicts the future. Governments and capitalist across the world depend on media not only for their survival and existence but to have their hegemony over others.  Capitalist and media promote each other for their own survival by making people pay, they promote consumerism through advertisements, what we see today in media are more advertisements and less information.  Advertisements have become part of our life and we have no choice but to accept and put with them.  Though the earlier advertisements were largely confined to print media, slowly they were able to make themselves visible on the electronic media and now taking over the new media. The advertising industry is heavily dependent on media, and the media is happy to host the advertisements as long as they are able to make profit. Advertisements today are omnipresent, one has to either adapt to the situation that prevails in our environment or ignore them completely. One has to accept the former as you cannot ignore the advertisements because, you need information, and for getting the required information one has to bear with extra information even though one is not interested, and this trend is not confined to just one medium alone, we are bombarded with extra information on print, radio, television, new media or any other media.

We can trace the early history of advertising to the Roman Empire though oral form of advertising was used it had less significance, the written form of advertising gained popularity and played a vital role with the coming of printing press invented by Johannes Guttenberg. The growth in transportation sector and industrial revolution contributed to the growth of advertising, this in turn has helped the advertising agencies to flourish and cater to the specific needs of industries. Technology played a vital role in improving the communication between people and also making the information readily available for the desired, technology made the boundaries invisible with regard to information flow; one would find no difference between the metros, urban and rural population when it comes to sharing and accessing information. Required information is able to reach the rich and poor if one is ready to pay. The reach of communication networks in to remote areas made the product manufacturing industries to reach out to larger sections of society through their advertisements especially in media and other modes of communication.

Advertisements are able to reach across the world cutting across the cultures and classes with the coming of www or World Wide Web. Media organizations are able to reap the monetary benefits not only through the publishing industry (print) but also being Online (internet). The convergence has enabled the print, visual and audio data to be readily available on the same platform, Media organizations that were reluctant to foray in the online publishing business few years back had to inevitably change their stands and start their online editions by 1990. The coming of technology made even the regional media organizations across the nations to go online this in turn helped to reach wider audience.  Media organizations that are online are in the business not only to expand their readership and viewership but to earn monetary benefits through advertisements. Slowly but steadily the advertisers are preferring internet, the preference to be online over the offline is the availability of readership and viewership 24x7 and being visible worldwide. We have seen how the advertisers have preferred print before the coming of radio and later television; today product manufacturers prefer new media over the television. Though many of the media houses are earning revenues through advertisements in print and television they are equally earning revenues through online publication.
 
Media houses are able to make money by making the reader pay for the news one wishes to read without any interruption i.e. Pay Rs 1 to Read Without Ads” or you can enjoy reading the news and other articles in the website with advertisements “Continue FREE with Ads” though this is annoying at times, but this is reality one has to put with. We live in a society where every action by the media is interrelated to commerce. Though few media houses are still sticking to the primary responsibility of serving people with the information and avoiding any kind of monetary gains, many media houses around the world are willing to walk the capitalistic path. The “liberal” view of media history claims advertising has a positive effect on the media, highlighting how the revenues enable newspapers to be independent from states and political parties. The “regulatory” view, on the other hand, argues that media may distort their coverage to accommodate advertiser concerns, even claiming that excessive commercialism in news and media content weakens the participatory foundations of democracy (Ellman and Germano, 2009).

We have enough examples to show the nexus between the governments/political parties and media organizations. The liberal view and the regulatory view are the two faces of the same coin and the media takes advantage of any one of the above views. It is understood that media needs revenue for survival. From the first newspaper started by Hickey the Bengal Gazette (1780) to the latest newspapers that have come up in India had to depend on advertisements or are forced to depend on advertisements, and in the process had to compromise. Too much or lack of dependency on advertisements is also making media organizations to sell information online @ Rs 1. In the near future one has to take subscription even for reading news online or any other related information, though there is no production cost involved in online publication. Gone are the days where people would enjoy reading the information, finding the required information will be a challenge for the people who read the newspapers, as they have to search for the required news in a maze of advertisements. This is not confined to print alone; the online content is anything but advertisements, the moment you open any media website you have advertisement that plays for 15-8 seconds. People are not able to enjoying the information that they want to read, that is because they have to put up with advertisements that surround the information, the movement one starts to read, the page goes left or right to display the advertisement, or at times advertisement to the right would popup and superimpose over the information one is reading. Many a times one would also here the audio and video playing in the background as we are reading the information distracting our senses. To avoid any kind of distraction on the internet people prefer to install the Ad blocker, so that one can read the information without any interruption. Though we have the software that has the ability to stop the advertisements from playing, the media houses are one step ahead to make the people who enabled the software to disable it, as one would not be able to go to the links or read the required information until the Ad blocker is disabled.

Be prepared to pay for the required information you want to read or be prepared for putting up with advertisements and get distracted while reading the required information.

Reference
  • M. Ellman and F. Germano (2009). What do the papers sell? A model of advertising and media bias. The Economic Journal, 119(537): pp.680-704.

About the author: The author, Dr. A. Nagraj is serving as Assistant Professor at the department of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad after 12 years rendering services at Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam.

2 comments:

  1. Nice piece. Thought provoking and informative. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice piece. Thought provoking and informative. Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete

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