Mass media – which is the media reaching a large audience – have always been observed closely. Their influence and effects on the population are among the most important and relevant topics in communication research, as well as in marketing and public relations industries.
Traditionally, only TV, radio and print media have been mentioned when referring to mass media, but that changed with the digital revolution and the rising popularity of the Internet – particularly that of digital platforms.
In short, the mass media today encompasses a greater number of sources that people turn to for information on a daily basis. Thus, the questions of how and to what extent the mass media influences the audience has become more relevant than ever.
On the one hand, the concept of “mass media” has some negative connotations. Some people still somewhat link it to control and the manipulation of citizens, or point at a strategy to disseminate untruthful and biased information.
The case of the Russian media is perhaps the most relevant contemporary example to look at. Every other day we hear about the government turning to mass media and using it as a “soft power tool” to change the population’s perception of current situations and thus trying to dominate a conflict.
The negative effects of mass media are scientifically supported by the so-called “class-dominant theory”. Supporters of this theory claim that the media reflect the views of a minority elite (government, companies or media producers) and control the information that people consume.
On the other hand, there are people who support a more positive view of mass media and its influence. It keeps people informed, connected, and allows collaboration and development, among other things.
Today, most people around the globe benefit from being able to actively choose what to consume from a wide range of sources and for how long, which limits the negative effects of the media – especially on people who are well informed.
This idea is supported by other relevant scientific theories – namely the limited-effects theory and the culturalist theory – which indicate that the audience is active, not passive, and perceives the information very individually.
In other words, a person watching TV or reading an article online interprets the content based on their experience and knowledge. When looking at media effects from this perspective, the profile of the audience or the target group is an important factor to be considered.
For good or bad, it is clear that the mass media has an influence upon each individual as well as upon society – at least to some extent.
Sociologists show that the media reflects our culture but also influences and develops it through the dissemination of information – which consists not only of news but also of advertising.
Every day, TV, radio, press and digital platforms publish opinions, attitudes and perceptions about a topic or a product. This is why media content analysis is so interesting for market research, PR and marketing professionals : this type of analysis provides relevant clues about consumers and the market and fuels their business strategies.
When it comes to analyzing media content, the type of media makes a real difference. But what is even more important when trying to understand its effects and influence is the content itself.
To be able to get an overview of the countless media contributions and track down content of interest , a workable solution is needed. Media monitoring tools do just that: they collect all the relevant content and make it available to the user in the most convenient way.
The most advanced media monitoring services perform the task automatically, 24/7 , so that no information is lost. Worldwide coverage from a wide range of media types and channels, sentiment analysis, and analytical visualizations are just some of the many features these tools have to offer.
The results of media content analysis can be examined and compared, leading to reliable conclusions about how mass media present specific topics and thus how they influence the audience.
Decisions based on these insights can contribute to improve your strategies and, ultimately, boost your business .
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