The commercialisation of media opens up many avenues for commercial interests to take over from public benefit.
What is the relation of media to advertising and consumer behavior?
Media takes many forms, particularly since the development of the internet, but broadly it relates to individuals and organisations presenting information to the public in an organised manner.
Media organisations have long been considered to have an important effect on those who are exposed to them, particularly in the case of large and/or trusted organisations. The issues around the influence and the ethics of media are growing in prominence due to scandals such as the widespread hacking of phones (an illegal action) in the UK by newspapers (Jounalism.co.uk). In addition, some online media organisations have been caught up in moral and legal controversy (such as Gawker (Mac, 2016)).
The media is widely accepted to have a very strong influence over public opinions through the information it provides them, and in doing so has control over consumer behaviour. As an extreme example of the power of media, State media companies, for example in North Korea, have been used as a method of indoctrination, with apparent success.
Media can directly or indirectly influence consumer behaviour, such as their attitude toward a company or product, through reviews, opinions or selective release of information. Social media allows an even more direct avenue to interact with the public, allowing quicker and more frequent influence.
An important element to this is that media companies are often heavily reliant on advertising revenue to stay operational. This then may create a conflict of interest where media may favour their advertisers or sponsors, or may attack that company’s competitors.
They can also exert influence on both companies and consumers through their acceptance or refusal to publish adverts of particular companies.
Whilst the existence of largely unrestricted media is meant to be beneficial for society, the commercialisation of media opens up many avenues for commercial interests to take over from public benefit.
Mac, R., (2016), This Silicon Valley Billionaire Has Been Secretly Funding Hulk Hogan’s Lawsuits Against Gawker (online), Forbes, Available: [http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2016/05/24/this-silicon-valley-billionaire-has-been-secretly-funding-hulk-hogans-lawsuits-against-gawker/#6ab1899b7805], Accessed: 12/09/2016
Journalism.co.uk, 2016, Phone Hacking (online), Available: [https://www.journalism.co.uk/phone-hacking/s278/], Accessed: 12/09/16