Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mass Media, Decline of
The term mass media refers to the channels and institutions of mass communication that produce and deliver media messages to a large, heterogeneous, and scattered “mass audience.” The term originated in the 1920s with the creation of countrywide radio networks, mass-circulation newspapers, and magazines. In the twenty-first century, the term mass media is used to describe a much broader array of both print and electronic media, including television, film, radio and sound recording, books, and magazines, as well as so-called new media, such as the Internet and video games. However, as new media proliferate, three interconnecting trends—audience fragmentation, specialized media content, and content customization—are challenging and reshaping conceptualizations of the terms mass media and mass audience . Audience fragmentation is often described as the process through which large, heterogeneous audiences are divided into smaller groups who consume specialized media content from an increasing array of media outlets. Today's overall audience ...