In mass communication, media are basically the communication tools or resources utilized to transmit and store data or information quickly. The word literally denotes elements of the large mass communications system, including print media, broadcast, television, cinema, the Internet, photography, and the radio. Media has many different categories, including book media (printed media); electronic media (radio, television, and films); multimedia (the Internet, movies, and music); visual media (such as photographs and paintings);, and printed advertising materials. Today, there is a rapid expansion of the use of multimedia as a medium of choice in mass communications. This article provides an introduction to the media systems, briefly describing their types, functions, and limitations.
Mass Media: In the broadest sense, mass media are communications that reach a mass audience without special effort or expense. Examples include news broadcasts and information dissemination through electronic means (such as the Internet), and print media (newspapers and magazines). Examples of mass media include the television set, radio, and the printed media. Examples of social media include online social networking websites (such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter), blogging, news websites, news portals, and magazines.
Mass Media by Distribution: There are four main categories of mass media by distribution: broadcast, cable, satellite, and Internet. Each category offers different types of channels and programming for the viewing consumer. The major distribution services include broadcast TV, radio, and cinema. Satellite TV offers a variety of programs and options for different types of viewers, such as family and sports events.
Mass Media by Platform: There are different types of mediums for distributing information. These include print media (which includes books, periodicals, periodical papers, magazines, newspapers), film (also known as motion pictures or video films), music videos, visual art (such as paintings and sculptures), and digital media (which includes computer software, sound tracks, images, video clips, and interactive applications). Some mass media by platform also provide television viewing through the internet (known as webcasting) and/or telecommunication networks via satellite and cable lines. Other examples include the following: newsprint, periodical press, brochure press, book publishing, motion picture production, radio, and television broadcast.
Media by Advertising: Advertising forms the most popular medium of mass communication. It is a form of mass medium that makes its content available to a large audience immediately via print, visual images, or audio-visual transmission. There are two types of advertising media: print and visual ads. The former forms of media are distributed directly to the masses, while the latter ones (like TV, movie theaters, etc.) reach only a specific segment of the population at a time.
This article aims to categorize mass media according to its nature. Different types of media may have different properties based on their nature. It will be very useful for students of mass communications to be aware of these various types, so they can create a glossary of modern-day media. Also, media scholars can make use of the glossary to distinguish and compare media types in the future. Finally, media scholars can learn how to cite sources in their research papers.