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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Over the recent years, media has undergone rapid changes that result from the technological advancements in virtually all aspects of society. To get a clear picture of the changes it is important to begin with a look at the social changes that have initiated the restructuring of media coverage and access to information. In this assessment of modern media trends the biggest influencer for change is digitization (Jenkins et al., 2013). The digitization era changed the perspectives of people towards news and information. Before the creation of Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, interactivity was not as advanced as it is today. People trusted the print media for news and information from across the world. However, one shortcoming of print media was the delays that often affected the timely delivery of information. Today, the younger generations have influenced changes in media coverage by their growing dependency on the Internet.   

Media outlet houses thrive on their access to information and the amount and relevance of content presented to their audiences. The access that a company and/or individual have to information can be determined by looking at its digital archives which host all-content that has been distributed to the public. Modern-day media outlets use digitized archives to keep all records of previous content. Due to this modern trend, the internet is flooding with articles, pictures, videos, and other digital media posted by individuals and groups using a wide range of internet resources. Today's content is not restricted to print media. Media formats of video and audio recordings create a new experience in the media landscape such that the audience feels like they were present physically when an incident occurred (Jenkins et al., 2013. n.d). However, the trend of online content production has opened easy pathways for new entrants in the media business. All that a serious investor needs to enter the media business is a team to research recent incidences that are relevant to the targeted audience. New media companies experience less barriers of entry because they have easy access to numerous sources of content, which is the most crucial necessity in the media industry.

Social media is undoubtedly one of the biggest influencers of change for the modern societies. Social media has influenced behavior, attitudes, and perceptions in most parts of the developed and developing world (Croteau and Hoynes, 2013). Particularly, social media changed the people's perception of information. Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been able to reach parts of the world that media outlets of the past could not. However, all the credit cannot be given to social media. Innovators of internet functionalities and mobile technology have made equally significant contributions to the modern trend of interactivity. The Internet of Things is a network connecting billions of users across the world. The achievements that Tech gurus have attained in social interactivity are felt most by media outlets whose sole business is built on information. For many years Media companies struggled to expand their network of regular customers (Croteau and Hoynes, 2013). In all their efforts, the biggest challenge has been keeping this consumer-base integrated. Social media has achieved this objective in a pan of less than two decades within which it has reached all corners of the global society.

Generational shifts affect media operations in many ways. Media markets its content to specific segments of the society. The specific needs for information in any segment are influenced significantly by their age bracket. Traditionally, media outlets targeted the boomer generation which is comprised of older individuals because this market segment was considered to be more concerned with emerging news and politics (Trainor et al., 2014. Pg. 1204). However, the recent changes in technology have spurred an interest for news among individuals in the millennial generation. Studies on information consumption reveal that the millennial generations are characterized by the demand for authentic information that is often about current trends in society. The young generations have been the biggest influencers behind the advancement of technology such as social media and mobile phone. Unlike traditional media systems that focused almost exclusively on political and financial news, newer media outlets allocate higher levels of their resources on other information such as fashion and entertainment. Therefore, recent trends in interactive technology have created generational shifts that are relevant in the marketing strategies for media content. This aspect of generational shifts is a primary area of research for existing and upcoming media outlets because they need to keep in touch with the new needs for information.

Impact on media industries

The media industry reports massive restructures in their operational frameworks that is a result of the changes in the global society. The technological age has brought with it new demands and sources of information. For instance, the internet is an information platform that connects users from all corners of the world, speeding the sharing of information and increasing convenience in its access. The effect of this technological advancement on the media houses can be described as multi-dimensional in the sense that there are both positive and negative effects (Trainor et al., 2014. Pg. 1206). Interactive technology such as social media avails a wide range of information to media companies and reduces the tasks of data collection and reporting. Today, media companies have invested heavily on the internet by allocating sufficient resources to filter relevant information. Media companies have over the years reduced the number of personnel sent to gather news on-the-ground. This restructure in resource management is advantageous because of its convenience and cost-efficiency. On the other hand, technology advancement has created the risks of misinformation and other accruing costs such as legal violations. Also, some of the equipment used to filter information cost the company in areas of implementation. In this regard, some big media companies are required to make hefty payments to be granted access to use satellites to collect information from inaccessible areas. The high levels of expertise needed to operate such equipment can be costly. Therefore, media houses have reaped some benefits from the modern trends in the industry but there are also some negative effects that limit their efficiency.

Media coverage has undergone major changes in its operational frameworks as a result of the gradual advancements in the world of information. Modern journalists have a wider access to information than traditional journalists who mainly relied on word of mouth and other individual interactions with the scenes where incidences occurred (Straubhaar, LaRose, and Davenport, 2013). Today, journalists are forced to change traditional approaches because they have to be more selective in the content they present as news. In this age of social media, journalists are often confused by the amounts of information. They have a bigger task of categorizing this information based on their relevance and accuracy. In this regard, the internet is a hub for falsified information posted by malicious individuals for their personal interests. Due to this wide pool of unverifiable information, journalists have adopted stricter measures to filter information because their audience still expects them to present accurate news that is not based on rumors from social media. Media houses have gradually devised ways to create these filters in an attempt to simplify their coverage. One effective strategy used by media companies is the creation of networks which are comprised of individuals serving specific topics. Additionally, the network of journalists for each segment of media coverage divides roles and operates in an integrated design to maximize content delivery, filtering, and broadcasting. Journalists acknowledge that they cannot work independently in a world where information reaches the end-consumer even before it reaches them. Freelance reporters are efficient in the field while more experienced and skilled personnel sort through the incoming information. This chain of information is efficient because it attempts to mimic the existing information frameworks in the society. Due to the changes in Tech and information journalists face the risk of losing their instinctual drive but the integrated approach narrows their search for the biggest stories.

Changes in the media industry can be explained with various communication theories that address the shifts in social structures as a result of communication. One such theory is the modernization theory which focuses on the changing structures of communication and media use for past and current generations. The modernization theory covers societal changes since the 1950s when the aspect of economic development emerged to the modern world where interactive media define the industry (Williams and Carpini, 2011). Modernization theorists identify the western style of living as the initial stage of the advancements of the modern civilizations. In the first wave of modernization, mass media was used to promote economic development, literacy, cultural identity, and national identity. In the subsequent waves, mass media created closer ties between individual users as it approached the universal connectivity supported by the internet and other modern technologies.

The media dependency theory supports the hypothesis of mass media being an influencer and a subject of social change.  Also explains the modern consumption trends of audiences. According to the theory, developed countries are defined by their dependency on mass media while developing countries portray lower levels of dependency. The modern age of technology and interactivity gave way to faster, more efficient mediums that were embraced gratefully by the global societies (Williams and Carpini, 2011). Media houses attribute this mass digitization to the rapid changes that have affected not only print media but all information structures.  Digitization is a common term used to refer to the ongoing trend of advancement of gadgets and devices. This rapid growth in cheaper technologies has broken traditional barriers of generational preference and ease of use that slowed the digitization process. In this regard, more seniors are subjects of digital compliance. Gadget manufacturers and stores report a growing trend where more seniors purchase the newest models of sophisticated gadgets, a habit that was associated with the younger generations. Therefore, mass digitization can be traced to the collaborated efforts of innovators, employers, governments, and individuals (Williams and Carpini, 2011). In every sector today, people are encouraged to be computer-literate and capable of integrating modern technologies in their assigned roles. In the media dependency theory, mass digitization is a prevalent trend that has been a major influencer in all structures of the society and, particularly, in media coverage.   

The evolution of the structures of information has affected the individual usage of media for most people living in the modern era. As a habit and a social necessity, I often find myself browsing through web pages to check for any updates on developing stories which are yet to be broadcasted through other media. Sometimes, I browse the internet to seek clarity on other news or simply to see different versions of the story from individuals on social media. Truly, we millennia's have a unique demand for news because we want multiple sources to guarantee the authenticity and accuracy of information. I often find it more informative to read conversations that people hold in different social media platforms than to watch or read the actual news. Social media offers a good environment to interact with new people, but it is also an excellent source of information because most of the news on TV and in newspapers has already been discussed on social media platforms.

The media industry is undergoing rapid changes that are driven by the advancements in digital channels of communication. Modern societies have overcome traditional barriers to this advancement which mainly originated from generational perceptions of technology and its ease of use. Today, most people have access to vast amounts of information reporting on situations from across the world. In this era of digitization, media companies are forced to restructure their operational frameworks as they adapt to changing demands from their audience and the increased risks of misguided information. Major changes are seen in the human resources and budgetary allocations for various operations in the media business. To improve competiveness in the rapidly changing industry, media houses must adopt new strategies that filter the most relevant, accurate, and time-sensitive information for their audience.  

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