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Madhu Bala Institute of Communication
& Electronic Media
New Delhi


Semester VI
BJ(MC) 304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Srimoy Patra
Unit - I
An Overview of Media Technology

Overview of Theatre
The study of the history of “theatre” begins with a definition of the term itself. Even if
we uploaded an entire book on the history of theatre, we would first have to deter-
mine what to include and what was not relevant to our primary interest and inquiry.
Here, we deal with the development of theatre as an art form consisting of works
written for the stage and intended to be performed by actors on a stage.

Greek Theatre
If theatre is to be defined as involving the art of acting a part on stage, that is the
dramatic impersonation of another character than yourself, we begin with Thespis in
534 B.C. with which the dramatic arts are associated in our word “Thespian”. Greek
theatre took place in large (the largest ultimately held twenty thousand people) hillside

The players included a chorus which performed in the “orchestra”. Indeed, the con-
cept of “actors” themselves was not originally a part of Greek theatre, but was devel-
oped a consequently. Greek drama was dominated by the works and innovations of
five playwrights over the 200 years following Thespis. The first three of these were

Aeschylus (525-456 B.C. the Oresteia), Sophocles (496-406 B.C. Oedipus Rex)
and Euripides (480-406 B.C.). The last two Greek playwrights were the authors of
comedies: Aristophanes (448-380 B.C.) and Menander (342-292 B.C.). As has
been true throughout the history of theatre, the comedies, dependent on topical humor
and satire for much of their content, have not survived the ages as well as tragedy —
which deals with more universal themes.

Tragedy was at its height in Greek society when that society was at its height, while
comedy — an outlet for the frustrations of society as well as a diversion for the
masses — was most popular during the decline of Greek government.

Roman Theatre
The decline of Greek government and society coincided with the rise of the Roman
Republic and subsequent empire. The Romans borrowed extensively from Greek
theatre. The word “play” itself was derived from a literal translation of the Latin word
ludus, which means recreation or play. Roman theatre took two forms:
Fabula Palliata and Fabula Togata.

Fabula Palliata
were primarily translations of Greek plays into Latin. Terence (190-159 B.C.) intro-
duced the concept of a subplot. Another author was Plautus (c.250-184 B.C.). How-
ever, the greatest impact Rome may have had on the theatre was to lower it in the
esteem of the Church — an impact that was to retard the growth of the dramatic arts
for several centuries. Plays, or ludii were associated with either comedy of a coarse
and scurrilous nature, or with pagan rituals and holidays. It was the latter, however,
which may account for the survival of theatre through the Middle Ages.

5 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes Medieval Theatre
Some have written that theatre died following the fall of the Roman Empire, and its
memory was kept alive only in the performances of roving bands of jongleurs : itiner-
ant street players, jugglers, acrobats and animal trainers. However, while such troupes
did help to maintain certain aspects of theatrical art, particularly that involving stock
characters, the Church itself contributed to the preservation of theatre. At first the
parts played in these simple religious re-enactments of the nativity and adoration of
the Magi were played by priests in the sanctuary of the church. Known as passion
plays, miracle plays and morality plays, they continued their close connection with the
Church and church holidays, but began to introduce elements of stock characters that
were more contemporary in nature. With the growth of towns and the introduction of
stable governments in Europe, the stage was set for the Protestant Reformation, the
Catholic Counter-Reformation and the secularization of theatre as it emerged from
the influence of the Medieval Church.

Renaissance and Reformation

During the 15th and 16th Centuries, European Society was influenced by the Renais-
sance — a “rebirth” or rediscovery of the classical worlds of Rome and Greece. The
impact of these changes on the theatre went beyond mere secularization of an artform
that had been dominated for centuries by the Church.The Renaissance, while having a
major impact on the other arts, had less influence on theatre in England than in Italy,
where classic Roman plays were revived for performance. Of greater impact was the
Protestant Reformation and the movement toward nationalism which accompanied
the Reformation. The rediscovery of the classics did influence the development of the
stage — first in Italy, then in France and England and the rest of Europe. It was in Italy
that the first steps were taken toward the development of the proscenium, or “picture
frame”, stage with which we are so familiar today.

In the England of the 15th and 16th Centuries, however, the proscenium stage was
still in the future. The emphasis was on dialogue as opposed to blocking or action, and
the plays still had a moralistic tone. The themes of religious virtue were replaced by
those of loyalty to government or to a stable society. The Protestant Reformation and
the break of England from the Catholic Church during the reign of Henry VIII influ-
enced a change in this pattern. England in the 16th Century moved back and forth
from Catholicism to Protestantism. It’s no wonder that playwrights began to avoid a
revival of the classics in favor of original, secular works of a general, non-political and
non-religious nature. In the view of the wives of play-goers, theatres were associated
with the women of ill-repute who frequented the areas surrounding the play-houses
and public inns where performances took place. Ultimately, these concerns led to the
licensing of official companies by the throne, and the domination of theatre by the

Elizabethan Theatre and Shakespeare

It was in this world that William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote and acted in his
plays in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries. Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre
produced a number of notable playwrights, including Christopher Marlowe and Ben
Jonson; but Shakespeare towers above them. He wrote plays that are timeless for
their understanding of human nature and character. Shakespeare and his contempo-
raries did encourage a more natural style of speaking, as opposed to the declamatory

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 6

demagogueing then practiced by some, but was not likely an advocate of the type of Notes
realism and natural character portrayal that we see in today’s theatres.

The Republic and The Restoration

From 1642 to 1660, we have little of theatre in that country. However, it was during
this time that the influence of French theatre, and through it, Italian notions of theatre
architecture, was experienced by English actors and royalists in exile. Theatre in France,
and subsequently in England, was beginning to focus more on the mechanics of scen-
ery and spectacle. The plays themselves were often masques in which costume, dance
and clever scenery and scene changes were more emphasized than acting and plot.
Theatres began to display the proscenium style of architecture, although the forestage
remained the principal place. Theatre was also influenced by two French playwrights,
Jean Racine (1639-1699) and Molière (1622-1673) who had an influence in turning
theatre away from classical style into more contemporary subject matter. It was at the
time of the Restoration of the Crown in England, that women first began to appear on
stage (a convention borrowed from the French), instead of female roles being played
by boys and young men.

The Eighteenth Century

Theatre in England during the 18th Century was dominated by an actor of genius,
David Garrick (1717-1779), who emphasized a more natural form of speaking and
acting that mimicked life from which ultimately grew movements such as realism and
naturalism. With advances in technology, Europe and North America began to find
the time and means for leisurely occupations such as patronizing commercial theatre.
It was also in the 18th Century that commercial theatre began to make its appearance
in the colonies of North America.

The Nineteenth Century

During the 19th Century, the Industrial Revolution changed the way people lived and
worked — and it changed the face of theatre as well. Gas lighting was first introduced in
1817, in London’s Drury Lane Theatre. Arc-lighting followed and, by the end of the
century, electrical lighting made its appearance on stage. The poor quality of lighting
probably contributed to the growth of melodrama in the mid-19th Century, where the
emphasis was less on content and acting, and more on action and spectacle. Elaborate
mechanisms for the changing and flying of scenery were developed, including fly-lofts,
elevators, and revolving stages. Some famous play writers of this era are Henrik Ibsen
(1828-1906), George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), and Anton Chekov (1860-1904).

The Twentieth Century

The 20th Century has witnessed the two greatest wars in history and the movements
of the “proletariat” were manifested in theatre by such movements as realism, natural-
ism, symbolism, impressionism. At the same time, commercial theatre advanced full
force. Ever greater technological advances permitted spectacular shows such as The
Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon to offer competition to another new innova-
tion. Serious drama also advanced in the works of Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) in
his trilogy Mourning Becomes Electra and in The Iceman Cometh;

Throughout history, all great theatre cultures have used technology as an important
part of performance: as a means to shift and change scenic appearance, and as visual

7 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes rhetoric, spectacle and show. Revolutionary scientific thinking in the twentieth cen-
tury, alongside the technology to use electric light in performance, served to underpin
the ideas of Appia, Craig, Meyerhold, Terence Gray, Caspar Neher and Josef Svoboda.
Distinctive though their ideas remain, they were unified in their firm belief that new
forms of performance would only be achievable through a detailed and close study
of artistic resources and technologies. Their practices and understandings have served
both to significantly expand and to create distinctive new connections and possibilities
between technology, scenography and performance.

Overview of Printing
From Phoenecian stone tablets to Gutenberg to offset, printing has undergone many
transformations over the years. But the one thing that has remained constant is the
need for people to communicate. Those who have been doing this long enough to
actually remember mechanicals, waxers and veloxes often look at the current state of
the industry and breathe a sigh of relief. Some look back in nostalgia. But, they’ll get
over it.

Printing, in its broadest sense, is any process whereby one or more identical copies
are produced from a master image. The master image can range from an inscription
engraved in stone to an illustration cut into a wood block or a text stored as digital
information in a computer. Image transfer, from master to copy, is usually accom-
plished with ink, and the transferring agent is most often the printing press. The devel-
opment of new technologies has blurred traditional definitions of printing, however:
office copiers, for example, reproduce master images using electrostatically charged
graphite toner.

The routine, though rudimentary, reproduction of textual matter first occurred near the
beginning of the 8th century AD, when the Chinese began to experiment with the
printing of relief, or raised, images cut in wood blocks. During the 11th century both
the Koreans and the Chinese experimented with the manufacture of movable type
made from clay and wood and, later, from bronze and iron. Although the notion of
movable type was a major advance in printing technology, the complex characters
that formed the written languages were too difficult to produce as individual pieces of

The German Johann GUTENBERG, working 400 years later, enjoyed the advantage
of a simple alphabet, and he worked out a method of casting type and printing so
successful that its fundamental principles were not improved until well into the 19th
century. Gutenberg’s first book, a Latin Bible, was completed about the year 1455.

Printing Presses
The essential features of Gutenberg’s invention included lead-alloy type cast in an
adjustable mold, oil-based inks, and a wooden printing press in which a large screw
moved the upper part, the platen, up or down against paper laid over type on the
lower surface, the bed. Later improvements to Gutenberg’s screw press were largely
devoted to increasing impression power, improving the clarity of the printed image,
and devising a return mechanism for the press handle.

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 8

About 1800, Charles, 3d Earl Stanhope, developed an all-metal press, and in 1813, Notes
George Clymer dispensed with the screw, substituting instead a system of power-
multiplying levers. Although 19th-century designers continued to improve the effi-
ciency of the iron handpress, its practical limits were soon reached. Until recently,
though, small-job printers continued to use the platen press, invented in the early 19th
century, in which the flatbed was vertically positioned and power was supplied by a
foot treadle or by steam.

In 1811, Friedrich Koenig patented the first FLATBED CYLINDER PRESS, using
a revolving cylinder instead of a flat platen to press sheets of paper against a flatbed
of type. The bed moved under inking rollers between each cylinder impression. A
steam-powered Koenig press installed by the Times of London could print over 1,000
sheets per hour. Even greater speed came with the invention of the rotary press in
1844 by the American Richard Hoe. Hoe attached metal type to the surface of a
cylinder, thus replacing the flatbed. Several small cylinders supplied the pressure. The
web press, a rotary press that printed a continuous reel of paper, was patented (1835)
by Rowland Hill of England. The first operating web-fed rotary press was built in the
United States in 1837. The difficulty of making curved relief printing plates slowed
the acceptance of the rotary press. By the 1870s, however, curved STEREOTYPE
plates could be accurately cast, and they replaced Hoe’s metal type. From that point
until well into the 20th century, the press of choice—especially for newspaper pub-
lishers—became the automatic rotary cylinder press, printing both sides of a continu-
ous web of paper. Steam provided power for the early machine presses; electric
power was used from the end of the 19th century.

Most printing technology was based on letterpress, the printing of images that pro-
jected above nonprinting areas. In 1796, Alois SENEFELDER invented a
planographic, or flat-plane, printing process later called LITHOGRAPHY. He found
that an image, no matter how detailed, that was drawn with a greasy substance on the
face of a water-absorbent stone and then inked could be printed onto paper with
absolute fidelity. Lithography was ideally suited for illustration and enjoyed a phe-
nomenal popularity during the 19th century, especially for color printing, which re-
quired a separate
stone to print each color. Eventually, it was found that the image on the stone could be
transferred, using a special starch-coated transfer paper, from the stone to a metal
plate that was used for the actual printing.

Offset Lithography
Lithographic metal plates had only rarely been used for commercial printing, in part
because the image on the plate was often worn through by the printing paper. In 1904
an American printer, Ira S. Rubel, accidentally discovered that the lithographic image
could be transferred, or offset, to a rubber cylinder that could then print as perfectly
as the plate and would last indefinitely. Rubel’s three-cylinder offset press was the
first in the field of OFFSET LITHOGRAPHY, which would become the most popu-
lar printing process because of its economy, long plate life, and ability to print on
many different textures.

9 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes Color Printing
Halftone color printing, the process still used today to reproduce full color, was intro-
duced in the 1890s, but many years passed before its full potential was realized.
Although color reproduction theory was fairly well understood, the lack of color film
restricted color work to studios where the necessary separation negatives had to be
made directly from the subject, under the most exacting conditions. Reliable color
film became available in the 1930s and ’40s, and color reproduction grew both more
common and more accurate.

Throughout the 19th century, attempts to mechanize the processes of typemaking
(casting) and composition (typesetting) resulted in a number of ingenious inventions,
some incorporating both casting and composing operations. The LINOTYPE ma-
chine of Ottmar Mergenthaler and the MONOTYPE invented by Tolbert Lanston,
both introduced in 1887, proved to be so clearly superior to rival devices that no
better mechanical systems for letterpress composition were ever developed. The Li-
notype was a keyboard-operated machine that composed and cast a justified line of
type and was particularly suitable for newspapers. The Monotype’s keyboard pro-
duced a punched tape that instructed a separate typecaster to produce individual
characters in complete, justified lines. The Monotype was used largely for book printing.
The type used to make offset lithographic plates originally came from proofs taken
from letterpress type. As offset printing grew in popularity, a more efficient method
was sought. In 1954 the Photon machine became the first commercially successful
electronic photocomposition system. Its key elements, which were used by later ma-
chines as well, were a stroboscopic light source and a spinning film matrix disk through
which photographic film was exposed with images of type previously composed on a

Computer Printing
Computers play a vital role in nearly every area of printing, from typesetting to on-
press control of the many variables subject to change during a print run. Digital stor-
age and manipulation of text, whether at a word-processing station or a typesetting
terminal, were early computer-printing operations. When paired with long-distance
digital transmission technology, numerous possibilities became evident. When an is-
sue is ready for printing, a central production facility can electronically transmit the
entire contents to regional printing plants, speeding up both printing and distribution.
Increasingly powerful systems can now provide the vast storage required for very
high-resolution graphics, as well as providing methods for sophisticated image ma-
nipulation. The operator of a typical system can scan a color photograph into the
computer, then call the image up to a display screen where a number of editing proc-
esses can be employed: rotation of the image, increased shading, color correction or
color changing, the moving of parts of the image or its entire deletion. The final, edited
image is sent to an output laser scanner, which produces a set of color film separa-
tions that will be used to make the printing plates.

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 10

Overview of Electronic Media Notes

Electronic media
are media that use electronics or electromechanical energy for the end user (audi-
ence) to access the content. This is in contrast to static media (mainly print media),
which are most often created electronically, but don’t require electronics to be accessed
by the end user in the printed form. The primary electronic media sources familiar to
the general public are better known as video recordings, audio recordings, multime-
dia presentations, slide presentations, CD-ROM and Online Content. Most new
media are in the form of digital media. However, electronic media may be in either
analog or digital format.

Although the term is usually associated with content recorded on a storage medium,
recordings are not required for live broadcasting and online networking. Any equip-
ment used in the electronic communication process (e.g. television, radio, telephone,
desktop computer, game console, handheld device) may also be considered elec-
tronic media.

Digital media
(as opposed to analog media) are usually electronic media that work on digital codes.
Today, computing is primarily based on the binary numeral system. In this case digital
refers to the discrete states of “0” and “1” for representing arbitrary data. Computers
are machines that (usually) interpret binary digital data as information and thus repre-
sent the predominating class of digital information processing machines. Digital media
(“Formats for presenting information” according to Wiktionary:media) like digital au-
dio, digital video and other digital content can be created, referred to and distributed
via digital information processing machines. Digital media represents a profound change
from previous (analog) media. Digital data is per se independent of its interpretation
(hence representation). An arbitrary sequence of digital code like “0100 0001” might
be interpreted as the decimal number 65, the hexadecimal number 41 or the glyph
“A”. Florida’s digital media industry association, Digital Media Alliance Florida, de-
fines digital media as “the creative convergence of digital arts, science, technology
and business for human expression, communication, social interaction and educa-
There is a rich history of non-binary digital media and computers.

Telegraph 1795-1832
Facsimile 1843-1861
Telephone 1849-1877
Cable 1962 (Coaxial /Standard)
Fiber Optics 1956-1970

Radio 1897-1920
Satellite 1958-1972
Free Space Optics 1960s

11 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes Internet
Download 1969 (RFC/Protocol)
Live Streaming 1996 (RTP /Protocol)

Display and Output

Information Processing 1940’s
Galvanometer 1832
Telegraph Sounder 1844
Telephone Receiver 1849-1877
Light Bulb 1801-1883
Neon 1893-1902
Teletype Receiver 1910
CRT 1922

Radio/Television Tuner 1894-1927

Speaker/Headphones 1876-1928/1930s
LED/LCD 1955-1962/1968
Laser Light Show 1970s
Computer Monitor 1950s/1976 (for PCs)
Large Electronic Display 1985
HDTV 1936 (Term) 1990s (Standards)
HMD 1968-current

Signal Processing
Capture 1745 (Capacitor)
Analog Encoding 1830’s (morse code)
Electronic Modulating 1832-1927
Electronic Multiplexing 1853 (TDM)
Digitizing 1903 (PCM Telephone)
Electronic Encryption 1935-1945
Online Routing 1969
Electronic Programming 1943-current

Electronic Information Storage

Recording Medium
Punch Card and Paper Tape 1725/1846
Phonograph Cylinder and Disk 1857-1958
Film 1876-1889
Magnetic Storage 1898-2003
RAM 1941-current
Barcodes 1952/1973 (UPC)
Laser Disc 1969-1978
Compact Disc/DVD 1982/1993-current

Content Formats
Content in general 1877-current
Audio Recording 1877-current
Video Recording 1952-current
Digital File Formats
Database Content and Formats 1963-current

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 12

Interactivity Notes
Control Panel
Input Device
Game Controller
Wired Glove
Brain computer interface (BCI)

Overview of Satellite Media

Arthur C Clarke can be identified as the first person to popularize the idea of using
satellites as a means of broadcasting TV programs over the globe in his article for
Wireless World in 1945; he had been working as an RAF electronics officer in the
Second World War. It was not until the launch of Sputnik 1 that the public realized
space technology was going to be a part of everyday life in the twentieth century.
Satellite communications systems are the only accepted commercial space technol-
ogy, providing global coverage for a plethora of communications.

The Beginning of Satellite Communications Services

Sputnik 1 did more than alert the world to the fact that space was an area of explo-
ration well within reach. It proved that the idea of bouncing radio waves off “reflec-
tors” in space was a possibility. Get the skills you need with University of Phoenix -
the number one choice for working professionals. By 1964 there were several sat-
ellites operating in space, just in time for the newly formed Communications Satellite
Corporation (COMSAT) to contract them for their satellite communications sys-
tems. By 1966, COMSAT had launched Early Bird into a geosynchronous (station-
ary) orbit and global commercial satellite communications services were here to

COMSAT had been busy on the ground during these years. By 1964 there were
communications earth stations established in the United Kingdom, France, Ger-
many, Italy, Brazil, and Japan; the International Telecommunications Satellite Or-
ganization (INTELSAT) had been established and the creation of international satel-
lite communications systems was possible. The launch of Early Bird finally estab-
lished the Global Village. These satellite communications systems carried telephone
calls and hours of television services. They continued to be developed during the
1960s; global coverage was completed just days before the live broadcast of Apollo
11’s landing on the moon in July 20th, 1969. International satellite communications
systems have continued to be developed and membership of INTELSAT has ex-
panded until the present day; consequently costs have reduced phenomenally, to the
point where international communications costs have become nominal.

Local Satellite Communications Systems

The 1970s saw the development of localized satellite communications systems, giv-
ing cheaper telephone calls and the advent of realistic satellite television. Movie
channels and super stations became available to most of the population in America.
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13 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes much of the technology for satellite communications systems had been devised by
1960, it was not really possible to implement it satisfactorily. Later years and further
development has meant that satellites have become smaller and lighter, launch sys-
tems cheaper and more reliable, and power more readily available. Today satellites
are all geosynchronous, have three-axis stabilization (they do not spin in order to
stay stable), and typically have 15 foot reflector dishes as opposed to the 100 foot
dishes of the 1960s. Earth stations that cost $10 million (1960 dollar) now are an-
tennas costing $30,000 (1990 dollar). And of course we have seen the advent of
direct broadcast antennas, a foot in diameter and costing a few hundred dollars.
Satellite communications services have also changed. As well as telephone and tel-
evision, we see the capability of transmitting data, giving a global backbone to the
Internet and allowing direct broadcasts to individuals.

Today satellite communications systems are big business, and careers in the technol-
ogy have proliferated. In the 1960s, only the brightest and best of the scientific re-
search community would be involved, and they are still required for developmental
work. However, today the volume demand is for technicians and engineers to be
able to install and maintain the thousands of satellite communications systems and
their components in business and for personal use. Training in the necessary skills is
available in colleges and universities, from distance learning organizations and from
technological institutions. If you are interested in a career in satellite communications,
you will become a part of a developing history.

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 14

History of Media
Media is basically defined as a means of carrying or communicating information. There
has been a major paradigm shift as far as the advancement in media technology is
concerened in the recent past. "Mediology," even, is a recognized and ever-expand-
ing field of study. French radical theoretician, Regis Debray, for instance, proposes
three historical ages of transmission technologies: the logosphere (the age of writing,
technology, kingdom, and faith), the graphosphere (the age of print, political ideolo-
gies, nations and laws), and the newly born videosphere (the age of multimedia broad-
casting, models, individuals, and opinions). Even if Debray’s work have not been
widely accepted, it shows that the technologies of transmission have immense power
as media now get credit for shaping not only to the information we distribute and
consume, but our powers of perception, our political, social and economic systems,
and our general constructions of truth.

Media and their wide-ranging effects have been around ever since humanity has been
conglomerating into tribes and nations and developing methods of communication.
The Paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux, in other words, are no less important (al-
though less universal) expressions of media than TV shows and magazines of today.
But the systematic analysis of media --- the recognition and study of its impact on
every aspect of social living, is only a few decades old. Carlyle may have claimed in This is a 16,000 year
the 1830s that the printing press destroyed feudalism and created the modern world; old cave painting from
Plato, as Derrida emphasizes, may have pointed to the effects of writng 2,500 years Lascaux, France
ago, but the wide-ranging attention today given to media and their effects is, on the
whole, unprecedented. Even more fundamental, the concept of the malleable indi-
vidual constructed by his "field of cultural production," as Pierre Bordieu called it, has
been tossed around for centuries. Back to the days when the actors of the ancient
Greek and Roman stage jumped in an out of personalities as quickly as they affixed
their various masks, notions of the inconstancy of the human condition have been

The nineteenth century brought about major ideological change that set the stage for
media studies. Darwin had come up with a convincing theory of evolution which chal-
lenged God-fearing members of the Victorian Age in their face. He dismantled on a
grand scale the moral, spiritual, and even political, foundations of the Western world-
-- a world hitherto comfortably centered around the almighty God who bestowed
tidy, immutable essences in each one of His human creations. Darwin, along with a
heady battalion of progressive philosophers and scientists --- including pioneers of
the brand new social sciences: sociology, psychology, anthropology, et al --- quite
effectively threw into question the fundamental meaning for human existence. The
notion that human beings have malleable personalities largely constructed by the envi-
ronment in which they develop --- the subjectivity of experience --- began to gain This is an Egyptian
currency and scientific evidence in the late 1800s, and established the foundation on alphabet from
which the grandfather of media theory, Marshall McLuhan, would base his claims half 1700 B.C.
a century later .

McLuhan introduced into the language our present usage of the term media, as well as
a number of other concepts, including "the global village," "the medium is the mes-
sage," and "The Age of Information," that since have become commonplaces. By fall

15 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes of 1965, his most popular and optimistic book, Understanding Media: The Ex-
tensions of Man, had procured him a position as a modern social theorist and, to
some, even a prophet.
The Diamond Sutra
Printed in China
A Brief History of Communications
868 A.D. 60,000 years ago - People started to speak

5,000 years ago - People started to write

600 years ago - People started to publish

Gutenberg printed 180 110 years ago - Radio was invented

copies of the Bible
in Europe (1455 A.D.) 80 years ago - Television was invented

45 years ago - Internet was born

Modern Media
• Modern media is made by a small number of people

• Media is shared to a large number of people

• Usually relies on technology

The London Gazette
in 1666 was the first
commercial newspaper • Media with storage and transmission began more than 30,000 years ago (cave

• The first alphabet is over 3000 years old.

• The Diamond Sutra was the 1st dated book and was printed with wooden
Phonograph was blocks.
patented by Thomas
Edison in 1877
• Johannes Gutenberg invented 1st printing press. It was popularly known as the
Gutenberg Press. The first book to be printed was the Bible.

• With mass printing available newspapers could be made in 1640 in England.

• Phonograph – home audio and people could finally store and transmit audio.

The Kodak Brownie

• Photographs - Even if the idea was more than 1000 years old, George Kodak
Produced in 1910 made it more available to the public in 1888.

• Radio - Finally wireless and paperless transmission of information is available in

1894 with the invention of Radio.

• Movie Theatres - the first public movie show was in New York, 1896. Now,
people could store and transmit video
Marconi or
Nikola Tesla
was most likely first to
invent the radio
BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 16

19 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology


BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 20


Media convergence
It is a theory in communications where every mass medium eventually merges to the
point where they become one medium due to the advent of new communication
In fact, today, there is no need for having a television and a computer separate from
each other, since both are able to do the job of the other. We also see print media
eventually collaborating with the new media.

Examples: Web TV, E-paper, Mobile Phones

21 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Technology, Media and Culture –
their relationship and interdependence

Culture can be defined as the way of life which includes beliefs, aesthetics and institu-
tions of a civilization. Considering today’s way of life, we would be lying if we didn’t
admit that media is not an influential entity in our culture. Lately the media theories that
regard the audience as a passive entity have been discarded and advanced media
theories that take into account the audience response have been formulated. It is still
a fact that despite cognitive abilities of the audience, the media has been successfully
ingraining several values and elements into a large section of our society.

There is no doubt about the fact that there are certain media elements affecting our
culture for better because had it not been for media, quick and easy flow of useful
information and education would not have been possible. The media has played a
major role in positive developments like fight against racism, fight against gender bias,
world poverty and spreading awareness about the world peace.

This being said, it is also true that certain media messages are detrimental to our
society. We need to realize that although media is a reflection of the society we live in
but at times, the media needs to do much more than reflect the surroundings - it has to
exaggerate, sensationalize and at times even trivialize the matters of utmost impor-
tance to
make way for entertainment. The media creates celebrities; it creates idols - celebri-
ties who thrive on fans, followers, and groupies! When we say a certain type of music
or a certain genre of movies is popular, it means a large number of people are follow-
ing an ideology or a concept, which lies at the heart of that song or the movie. One of
the most
striking examples in this case would have to be the popularity of violent and abusive
rap songs amongst teenagers. The glorification of violence, drug abuse and other
unhealthy habits has a major role in the outburst of unfortunate incidents where chil-
dren have gotten extremely violent and out of control.

Be it the advertisements touting products that promise a fairer skin or bods-to-die for
or the television shows and films, which portray violence, sexually explicit content and
abusive language. There are music videos and rock bands that give out the message
that alcohol; drugs and sex are an inevitable part of life. These ideals created by the
media might not be necessarily appropriate.

However, owing to the mass-acceptance and popularity hype created - most of the
people accept these as a part of today’s culture. We have reached a stage where
media literacy is the dire need of the hour. It is time to start thinking and analyzing what
media is dishing out to us.

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 22

Primitive Era Notes
The cyclical co-dependence, co-influence, co-production of technology upon cul-
ture has been there since time immeorial. This synergistic relationship occurred from
the evolution of mankind, with the invention of the simple tools; and continues into
modern technologies such as the printing press and computers. The importance of
stone tools, almost 2.5 million years ago, is considered fundamental in human devel-
opment. It is also said that the control of fire by early humans and the associated
development of cooking was the spark that radically changed human evolution.

Modern Era
There are an extraordinary number of examples how science and technology has
helped us that can be seen in society today. Ever since the invention of the telephone,
society was in need of a more portable device that they could use to talk to people.
This led to the invention of the mobile phone, which did, and still does, greatly influ-
ence society and the way people live their lives. Accessibility, Internet access, are
further examples of the cycle of co-production. This has in turn influenced the way
we live our lives. As people rely more and more on mobile phones, additional fea-
tures were requested. This is also true with today’s modern media player. In place of
cassettes, compact disks, were used which were smaller and could hold more data.
Later, compact disks were again too large and did not hold enough data that forced
today’s manufactures to create MP3 players which are small and holds large amount
of data. Today’s society determined the course of events that many manufactures
took to improving their products so today’s consumers will purchase their products.

Economics and technological development

In the past, economics was the occasional, spontaneous exchange of goods and
services began to occur on a less occasional, less spontaneous basis. It probably did
not take long for the maker of arrowheads to realize that he could probably do a lot
better by concentrating on the making of arrowheads and barter for his other needs.
Clearly, regardless of the goods and services bartered, some amount of technology
was involved—if no more than in the making of shell and bead jewellry. Even the
shaman’s potions and sacred objects can be said to have involved some technology.So,
from the very beginnings, technology can be said to have spurred the development of
more elaborate economies.

In the modern world, superior technologies, resources, geography, and history give
rise to robust economies; and in a well-functioning, robust economy, economic ex-
cess naturally flows into greater use of technology. Moreover, because technology is
such an inseparable part of human society, especially in its economic aspects, funding
sources for (new) technological endeavors are virtually illimitable. However, while in
the beginning, technological investment involved little more than the time, efforts, and
skills of one or a few men, today, such investment may involve the collective labor
and skills of many millions.

Government funding for new technology

The government is a major contributor to the development of new technology in
many ways. In the United States alone, many government agencies specifically invest
billions of dollars in new technology.

23 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes Technology has frequently been driven by the military, with many modern applications
being developed for the military before being adapted for civilian use. However, this
has always been a two-way flow, with industry often taking the lead in developing and
adopting a technology which is only later adopted by the military.

Entire government agencies are specifically dedicated to research, such as America’s

National Science Foundation, the United Kingdom’s scientific research institutes,
America’s Small Business Innovative Research effort. Many other government agen-
cies dedicate a major portion of their budget to research and development.

Private funding
Research and development is one of the biggest areas of investments made by corpo-
rations toward new and innovative technology. Many foundations and other nonprofit
organizations contribute to the development of technology. In the OECD, about two-
thirds of research and development in scientific and technical fields is carried out by

Other economic considerations

Appropriate technology, sometimes called “intermediate” technology, more of an eco-
nomics concern, refers to compromises between central and expensive technologies
of developed nations and those which developing nations find most effective to de-
ploy given an excess of labour and scarcity of cash.

Sociological factors and effects

The use of technology has a great many effects; these may be separated into intended
effects and unintended effects. Unintended effects are usually also unanticipated, and
often unknown before the arrival of a new technology. Nevertheless, they are often as
important as the intended effect.

The implementation of technology influences the values of a society by changing ex-
pectations and realities. The implementation of technology is also influenced by val-
ues. There are (at least) three major, interrelated values that inform, and are informed
by, technological innovations:

Challenges traditional ethical norms: Because technology impacts relationships
among individuals, it challenges how individuals deal with each other, even in ethical
ways. One example of this is challenging the definition of “human life” as embodied by
debates in the areas of abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, etc., which all in-
volve modern technological developments.

Creates an aggregation of effects: One of the greatest problems with technology is

that its detrimental effects are often small, but cumulative. Such is the case with the
pollution from the burning of fossil fuels in automobiles. Each individual automobile
creates a very small, almost negligible, amount of pollution, however the cumulative
effect could possibly contribute to the global warming effect. Other examples include
accumulations of chemical pollutants in the human body, urbanization effects on the
environment, etc.

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 24

Changes the distribution of justice: In essence, those with technology tend to have Notes
higher access to justice systems. Or, justice is not distributed equally to those with
technology versus those without.

Provides great power: Not only does technology amplify the ability, and hence the
strength, of humans, it also provides a great strategic advantage to the human(s) who
hold the greatest amount of technology. Consider the strategic advantage gained by
having greater technological innovations in the military, pharmaceuticals, computers,
etc. For example, Bill Gates has considerable influence (even outside of the computer
industry) in the course of human affairs due to his successful implementation of com-
puter technology.

In many ways, technology simplifies life.
The rise of a leisure class
A more informed society
Sets the stage for more complex learning tasks
Increases multi-tasking (although this may not be simplifying)
Global networking
Creates denser social circles
Cheaper prices
Greater specialization in jobs

Pollution is a serious problem in a technologically advanced society (from acid rain to
Chernobyl and Bhopal)
The increase in transportation technology has brought congestion in some areas
Technicism (although this may not be complicating)
New forms of danger existing as a consequence of new forms of technology, such as
the first generation of nuclear reactors
New forms of entertainment, such as video games and internet access could have
possible social effects on areas such as academic performance
Increased probability of some diseases and disorders, such as obesity
Social separation of singular human interaction. Technology has increased the need to
talk to more people faster.
Structural unemployment
Anthropogenic climate change

Institutions and groups

Technology often enables organizational and bureaucratic group structures that oth-
erwise and heretofore were simply not possible. Examples of this might include:
The rise of very large organizations: e.g., governments, the military, health and social
welfare institutions, supranational corporations.
The commercialization of leisure: sports events, products, etc. (McGinn)
The almost instantaneous dispersal of information (especially news) and entertain-
ment around the world.

25 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes International
Technology enables greater knowledge of international issues, values, and cultures.
Due mostly to mass transportation and mass media, the world seems to be a much
smaller place, due to the following, among others:
Globalization of ideas
Embeddedness of values
Population growth and control

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 26

New Media & Culture
The concept of media and social significance of the “New Media”
The goal of considerations on the definition of media is to develop an understanding
of the media which is adequate for the project’s needs, to classify the variety of
technical media concepts and identify conceptual one-sidedness such as the re-
garding media merely as neutral channels where the technical and systemic features
are irrelevant and all that matters is the processes of user acquisition (which Rammert
characterises as “a communications-theory bottleneck”).

One difference in orientation which is pervasive in the media discourse is regarding

media either primarily as technical systems on the one hand or as socio-cultural
practices on the other hand. For the purposes of the present project, however, it is
important to see both the technical and socio-cultural sides of the media. This is
because the interactions constitute the problems for study. It is still necessary to
distinguish between two levels: at the first level there are interactions which can be
directly identified and described as the reality of the New Media, e.g. as media use,
while the second level involves “secondary” effects in the sense of cultural phenom-
ena which are subsumed in the interactions at the first level, so that they are not
directly evident (e.g. a different attitude to space as a result of using a cell phone).
In the present context media are understood as the socio-technical and cultural
practices of distributing and storing information which are used to shape communi-
cation and interaction and so help determine collective perception and experience
in the everyday world. “New Media” are media based technically on digitalisation,
miniaturisation, data compression, networking and convergence. The New Media
are expected to transform the modes of communication in a way which departs
from the established familiar forms of interpersonal communication, either direct or
via media.

Developments in media use

The description of overarching trends in media use sets the context for the central
section of the report. The presentation is strongly oriented towards empirical re-
search, where the selected areas are the development of users and use on the
Internet, the description of “media user types” representing specific lifestyles, and
changes in readership and reading behaviour.

To place these three fields in a broader framework, we use the findings of the
unique series of international surveys of mass communication, continued in 2000
(although with a modified approach) and a development model which runs to 2010.
Where current media development (the mass communication surveys started in
1964) can be described as “the more, the more” – in other words, newly-emerging
media did not edge out existing ones – there has been a shift in trend since 1993/94
with the New Media (PCs with multimedia capability, Internet, mobile radio). “Com-
petition through supplementation is increasingly turning into predatory competition
for increasingly scarce time budgets” (Schrape, 2001). The question of media com-
petition or coexistence is accordingly central to the prospects for the coming years.
Undoubtedly, this will involve complex restructurings rather than simple substitu-

27 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes This is also clear from the analysis of media use types, which have different levels
of Internet use, display different patterns of reception of cultural content, and are
receptive to differing degrees to shifts in media use patterns. Increased online use
is (as shown by the survey data) at the expense of TV viewing, and also of news-
paper reading. This decline is not reflected in measured average TV viewing time,
but this need not be a contradiction. In future we can in any case expect greater
individualisation and differentiation in media use patterns, the “average user” will
ultimately become a construct remote from reality.

Changes in readership and reading behaviour are studied on the basis of the latest
results of the “Stiftung Lesen” foundation, which published its report on these in
2001. There were some dramatic changes in reading strategies (increase in selec-
tive readers) and reading motivation, which has become particularly threatened in
recent years. This threatens to erode a cultural technique which is the basis not
only for reading books and newspapers but also for using the New Media.

Changes in understanding and concepts of culture – interactions between

the New Media and culture
Trends in scientific concepts of culture
To determine relevant interactions between the changes in cultural concepts and
the development of the New Media, it is also necessary to look at historical proc-
esses of change in the understanding of culture. Using the example of the history of
concepts of culture in the social sciences (specifically, sociology and ethnology),
trends in the understanding of culture can be identified which are still relevant to the
debates about the New Media.

The outstanding characteristics of recent processes of transformation in concepts

of culture in the social sciences include an almost general expansion of the concept
of culture, a renewed interest in the culture of the individual, groups and humanity
as a whole (in comparison e.g. with nation and people) and finally the increase in
the importance for the understanding of culture of new (or what are perceived as
new) cultural communities, groups and contexts. Recently the history of concepts
of culture in social sciences is frequently being regarded and criticised as a success
story for the “container” concepts of culture. In these concepts, cultures are con-
sidered to be closed units and are generally assigned to national societies. The
success story of these concepts of culture is based to a high degree on the influ-
ence of ethnology. This was based on an understanding of culture inspired by
Herder as a way of investigating the lifestyles, everyday practices, ideas and social
relationships of “primitive peoples” as a culture. Among other things, this had the
effect of reducing the importance of philosophical concepts of culture aligned with
the individual and humanity as a whole.

In the course of overcoming colonialism and in the context of growing interest in

cultural differences within “civilised” societies, ethnological concepts of culture came
to occupy a central position for the understanding of culture by the social sciences
generally (and also for everyday understanding of “culture”). These concepts of
culture were more descriptive than normative in nature and relatively broad, and
still have central importance for national and international discussions on cultural
policy. However, in the last few years they have come under increasing criticism

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 28

from a position which sees cultures in principle as open, with individuals always Notes
having a number of cultural identities. This makes cross-border movements,
interculturalism and hybridisation more important for cultural theory; media devel-
opment, transnational cultural relationships, intercultural exchange and migration
become even more important topics for research.

Cultural development, New Media and media culture

In the recent debates about the interactions between cultural and media develop-
ment, the media is mostly given outstanding and still growing cultural significance.
There is disagreement inter alia about whether cultural development is tending to
blend with media development (or already has blended with it) and whether cultural
theory should accordingly be primarily (or even exclusively) pursued in terms of
media cultural theory. In the context of this project, particular importance is likely to
attach to theoretical approaches which take account of the outstanding significance
of the media for culture while at the same time avoiding subsuming cultural evolution
entirely in media development. At this point it is useful to refer to two approaches of
this kind (S.J. Schmidt, M. Castells) which illustrate the forms of modelling which
would be required in the second phase of the project.

For Schmidt, the current status of the concept of culture in science and politics is
not a fashionable phenomenon, but rather “evidence of a significant social develop-
ment”, a “development from the domination of things to a domination of knowl-
edge” (Schmidt 200b, pp. 32 et seq.), which in turn is decisively influenced by the
development of information and communications technologies. He accordingly fa-
vours a concept of culture “which is based on programmes for socially relevant
production and interpretation of phenomena, rather than phenomena themselves”
(Schmidt 200b,pp. 33 et seq.). For him, culture is the programme for thematisation,
evaluation and normative assessment of fundamental social dichotomies. By con-
trast, Castells’ approach attempts to extrapolate developments already present in
the mass media (inter alia the diversification and globalisation of content and the
cultural segmentation of the public) and combine these with developments emerging
in the New Media and the Internet, specifically in the form of networks of compu-
terised communication which will be decisive as “a new symbolic environment”
(which he calls “the culture of real virtuality”).

In addition to such media culture theories, many other contributions to the debate
can be adduced if it is necessary to investigate the interactions between more recent
developments in the media and the change in concepts of culture. The debates over
these interactions show on the one hand that the development of the New Media
has aroused (often vague-seeming) fears and hopes, while euphoria over technol-
ogy and pessimism over culture are relatively evenly divided between the political
and social trends. Conversely, there is also the tendency in these debates to pursue
older scientific arguments and view the development of the New Media in the con-
text of specific media-historical, socialtheoretical or philosophical considerations.
The wealth of contributions to the debate can accordingly be organised in terms of
the specific media history approaches and normative orientations. Two overarching
hypotheses can be identified which characterise a number of contributions, a conti-
nuity hypothesis and a discontinuity hypothesis. Under the first, current changes
appear as a continuation of processes of media and cultural development inherent in

29 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes earlier phases; under the second, these appear as a break with these processes.
Three sub-variants can be distinguished in both hypotheses. Under the continuity
hypotheses, current cultural impacts of present media development can be seen
either as the continuation of a trend present throughout media history (C1), or as
the continuation of a modern trend (C2) or finally as a continuation of a trend which
first emerged with wireless media (C3). Under the discontinuity hypotheses, three
sub-variants can also be distinguished. Here, current media developments are seen
either as a break with traditions of “western” culture reaching far back into history,
or as a break with traditions of the modern age as shaped by printing and science,
or finally as a break with the more recent traditions of the mass media system.

The sub-variants of both hypotheses can be combined in each case with contrary
conclusions, yielding further possible subdivisions in terms of the discussions of this
issue. However, this only identifies the extremes, although this should make possi-
ble at least a rough classification. We shall now do this for C1-C3. For example,
sub-variant C1 can be combined either with the idea of a process of emancipation
from original communities and “nature” or with concern about man’s continuous
alienation from these. With regard to sub-variant C2 there are the opposed favour-
able assessments of modernisation processes and warnings of a loss of the sense of
community and a moral crisis. Finally, subvariant C3 can be combined with either
hopes of a revival of the individual and strengthened cultural exchange or the un-
pleasant picture of a standardised global culture.

Cultural globalisation and the New Media

In dealing with the interactions between the change in concepts of culture and re-
cent media development, the mutually impacting trends of individualisation and cul-
tural globalisation become issues leading to further depths. Both issues are ex-
tremely important for the current debate on media development. The sociological
theory of individualisation must be distinguished from the concept of “individualisa-
tion” or “personalisation” which frequently appears in discussions on media serv-
ices with a customised nature. It also seems advisable to distinguish between socio-
logical theories of individualisation as such. Besides socio-structural individualisa-
tion promoted inter alia by decoupling class membership and consumption, proc-
esses like isolation/privatisation and autonomisation – in other words, competent
coping with media-based growth in cultural options for choice and action – should
be noted (A. Honneth). In this context the question also arises of the cultural signifi-
cance of new forms of community formation (e.g. “youth cultures” or “virtual com-
munities”) to the individual. Further, in the context of cultural globalisation proc-
esses, the social environment of the individual apparently expands and changes
through the possibilities of transnational networking.

Promoted inter alia by processes of economic globalisation, there has been in-
creasing discussion recently of processes of cultural globalisation. Both economic
and cultural globalisation are highly controversial issues in political and scientific
debate. There is, however, unanimous agreement that the New Media, and par-
ticularly the Internet, are of central importance. Important lines in the debate are
concerned with which concepts of culture to use in order to adequately capture
developments, how global and local factors are acting, whether we are looking
more at a standardised global culture or an increase in cultural diversity and cultural

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 30

exchange, and how “transnational states” (not strongly tied to territorial limits) might Notes
look. In the discussion on cultural globalisation, the individual becomes again the
focus of interest for culture theory. Here we also see a trend towards “liquefaction”
and “deterritorialisation” of the concept of culture. Culture is no longer regarded as a
precisely defined unit or “container”.

The current crisis in traditional concepts of culture is apparently closely connected

with the recent development in the media, as the New Media change the cultural
significance of physical proximity and separation. Connected individuals – according
to a widespread view – grow through interactive and communicative actions beyond
the limits of local communities and national societies, and are able to participate in
transnational cultural exchanges and make themselves felt as an individual, a member
of a group or of an international movement.

Media markets in transformation

For a project investigating the impacts which are involved (or will possibly be in-
volved) with the development and use of the New Media, a detailed analysis of the
development of media markets is absolutely necessary. The report by Booz-Allen &
Hamilton, on which this part of the report is based, falls into two main sections –
general characterisation of the media markets and more detailed issues. In the first
main section the basic data and industry features of the individual markets are brought
together: this can be done using three key characteristics, namely “content”, “chan-
nels of communication” and “terminals”. This demonstrates the economic power and
dynamism of a market, the industry structure and impending (or current) innovations
which should be seen as the basis for further social and cultural developments.

The second main section consists of the in-depth issues (in the music business, for
example, developments in connection with MP3), where in each case a partial mar-
ket is treated as a case study (besides MP3 these are online book retailing, e-books
and audio books; interactive digital TV; web radio; online games and web-enables
game consoles; Internet use and marketing; mobile radio and UMTS cell phones;
and a special study on e-government).

The present report largely adopts the rough characterisation of the media markets, as
the market and industry data have information in their own right which cannot be
enhanced by classification or abstraction. By contrast, only two indepth issues are
incorporated, namely interactive digital TV and mobile radio and UMTS cell phones.
The first topic is interesting because it is the nub of the so-called convergence hy-
pothesis, and the German situation with its highquality free TV structure offers en-
tirely different conditions for interactive digital TV than, say, the UK, where this TV
format developed very dynamically. The expert analyses on this topic are being sup-
plemented by TAB using information from studies not yet available to the experts.
The topic of mobile radio and UMTS is interesting because there are important inno-
vations pending here which will have far-reaching cultural consequences.

Media markets: an overview

The starting point for the analysis is the review of turnover in the markets, using prices
to consumers. Market sizes accordingly reflect what the consumer pays for the rel-
evant content (e.g. a book or film), for the communications channel (e.g. Internet

31 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes access) or a terminal (including the necessary components, such as hardware and
software). Total turnover in the media markets defined in this way amounted to
DEM 208 billion in 1999. “Content” account for half of this (DEM 106 billion),
which also reflects the fact that there is still very high vertical integration in the
valueadded chain in this sector.

The major sub-markets here do not involve electronic or audiovisual media (as the
media clamour about the New Media would suggest), but printed matter (newspa-
pers, periodicals, book retailing). Only the TV market at DEM 16.7 billion has
comparable size. In many sub-markets there is only small growth or even slight
declines, so that the
pressure to innovate comes not only from the technology (in the cinema sector for
example the impending digitalisation, particularly in playback, which involves sub-
stantial costs and whose distribution remains to be negotiated within the industry).

The choice of “content” as a focus does not mean that it exists in isolation, as it were:
content is tied to media (although it can be liberated from specific storage media
through digitalisation). The traditional media sectors (cinema, print, music) today are
still strongly vertically integrated in the value-added chain, commercially and organi-
sationally (consider, for example, the book and publishing sector). The threat to
traditional media has impacted the music industry above all in recent years. The key
element here is the fact that the music industry has already reached the second stage
of digitalisation, i.e. music can also be delivered digitally using efficient compression
technologies. It remains to be
seen whether or not established cooperation models will remain viable in the long
Business models under which consumers are willing to pay for content supplied via
the Internet are being created and tested, but still have to prove themselves. Cur-
rently, there is no charge for most Internet content – the general user mentality is
“Internet is for free”. As a result, most business models currently have to finance
themselves indirectly (e.g. through advertising or sponsorships). The lack of readi-
ness to pay on the part of private Internet users and the simplicity of copying digital
content pose a major challenge to established and new content providers.

The threatening disappearance of parts of the value-added change can also circum-
vent established filters for content, i.e. readers and publishers, music studios and
labels etc. Content is then potentially accessible unfiltered to anybody, anywhere –
with all the attendant advantages and disadvantages.

Communication channels
The key characteristic “communication channels” represents a market with a value
of almost DEM 43 billion (in 1999). The lion’s share of this is accounted for by
mobile radio connection fees, a sector of high economic dynamism. Digitalisation
increases the capacity of many communication channels. Forms of access and use
for content which are currently only possible through e.g. TV, cinema or VHS cas-
sette, will be made available in this way with constant quality through alternative
communication channels. Broadband transmission capacity will be created in both

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 32

the static network and mobile radio sectors; the “next generation telcos” like Callino Notes
and Firstmark Communications (new telecom providers concentrating on broadband
technology) offer broadband static phone and data lines, the broadband cable is
being upgraded to 860 MHz, and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and sub-
sequently UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) bring mobility to
possible high transfer capacity.

Static Internet access is currently on the way to becoming a “commodity”. In the

year 2000 price cuts for Internet access and static phone fees resulted in 17.1 million
German residents between 14-59 having Internet access in their homes which they
used at least occasionally (according to surveys by GfK Online Monitor). More
recent surveys by ARD put the figure in 2001 at 24.4 million.

Terminals and associated components

Digitalisation and miniaturisation make possible terminals with applications and
functionalities for which previously specialist individual terminals were used, a trend
which is widely discussed under the heading of “convergence”. For example, a game
console is no longer just a controller for the game, but itself a multifunctional unit with
CD-ROM or DVD drive and Internet connection. Consumers are experiencing a
“battle for the living room”.

It remains to be seen which terminal will come out on top. It also remains to be seen
how far use habits can be changed, for example whether lean-forward applications
on the TV screen will be broadly accepted, or whether users will habitually prefer
other terminals (such as PCs) for interactive applications.

Digital interactive TV
Consideration of “interactive TV”, offered as “digital” and “free TV” and as “pay
TV” is based on the results of the study by Booz-Allen & Hamilton, which takes as
an international comparison the development and state-of-use of pay TV in the UK
before looking in more detail at the situation in Germany. Here, UPC Nederland is
used to examine the strategy of a cable operator which also acts as a programme
provider for TV, including interactive services, and is accordingly seeking vertical
integration in the value-added chain. This could be a possible business model for
future privatised cable operators on German soil, and has considerable relevance as
an industrial policy element (including media and anti-trust questions).

The central paradigm of the convergence hypothesis is the combination of TV, PC

and Internet station. This convergence is naturally possible at the level of technology,
so that the question is whether it makes sense in use (which is also a question of
cultural factors). This question remains to be answered. However, this internal point
is decisive for
the future development of applications and markets. The selected perspective was
accordingly the possible “interactivation of a mass medium”.

As the available studies show, the use of digital interactive TV leads to even more
viewing and the neglect of activities outside the home (e.g. going to the cinema).
Naturally, it remains to be seen whether these effects will stabilise in future.

33 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes Mobile radio and UMTS
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) will come – or rather will
have to come, in the eyes of network operators and in view of the immense front-
end costs. Whether this imperative is equally pressing for consumers is another question.

The market strategy of network operators could be to start out with a high-price
strategy and tailor their services to professional users promising high turnover. In the
second stage, high-price services to private users would follow. It is doubtful that
they would follow A mass market strategy with low-price hardware and services
from the start is questionable. Prices will possibly fall only gradually, in the same way
as GSM network prices in the early days. Due to the large number of licensees and
providers, however, it is also possible that the downward price spiral will get off to a
vigorous start and proceed far more dynamically than in the initial years of the GSM

In the event of an initial high-price strategy there will be a second “mobile” variant of
the “digital divide”, at least for a transitional period. However, countervailing effects
are also conceivable, such as that the cell phone will open up groups to Internet
access who have previously shunned the more complicated route using PCs, special
software and service providers. UMTS would then act as an access technology
through easy-to-use terminals and with limited display possibilities. Another possi-
bility would be separate cell phone networks for closed user groups (like the earlier
T-Online or CompuServe). This would really make UMTS cell phones more than
just a new access technology. Including the agreed information formats, they would
then constitute a separate world.

If UMTS succeeds in penetrating the mass market and cell phones with multimedia
capability become an everyday feature, this would result in very extensive opportu-
nities for users which would potentially have a lasting impact not only on media use
but on leisure behaviour as a whole and parts of working life.

New forms of production, distribution and reception in selected cultural fields

Three selected cultural areas – literature, music and film – are being studied for
emerging processes of transformation. These are established areas, so that no spe-
cial concept of culture was required. For each area the forms of production, distri-
bution and reception are described in terms of stages in a coherent cultural value-
added process. This focus on process is supplemented by an actor-related view (for
the areas music and film, discussions were also held with experts which revealed the
viewpoint of the individual actors).

The three areas were selected specifically in terms of the severity of the current
impact on them even before digitalisation, so that developments in one area can be
used to draw conclusions about developments in another area, under a type of transfer

Following the availability of digitalised music on audio CDs and the development of
efficient compression technologies, the music area has already reached the second
stage of digitalisation, i.e. music can now be delivered digitally in nonphysical form

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 34

with high quality. By comparison, the cinema area still has a certain grace period, as Notes
the transfer times and modalities are still too complicated – although the threatening
development is obvious. However, the question whether the exchange of music files
(Napster is the classic example) is affecting CD buying remains controversial. Sales
in fact are continuing to rise again in both Germany and the USA.

The three areas are not covered at equal length or in equal detail in the present
report. Literature and music are covered only briefly, while case studies for film (and
video) are given more space, reflecting inter alia the consideration that this is first of
all an area facing major change, secondly has high cultural relevance, and thirdly
provides a different view and approach compared to TV.

One of the most interesting phenomena in the area of literature is the way that profes-
sional societies can restructure themselves with the help of ICT, e.g. by creating a
journal which can be published entirely (including professional communication and
expert reporting) on the Internet. The example described in detail is the “Living Re-
views in Relativity” of the “Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik” (in Golm,
near Potsdam).

For the music area, the realisation emerged inter alia from discussions with experts
that although many artists without recording contracts are trying to become known
through the Internet and relevant music portals, few succeed. The Internet functions
better as a platform for established names and as a forum for fan clubs.

Digitalisation of production technology has already started in film. As this can save
costs, cut time, increase marketing opportunities and enhance artistic possibilities,
digitalisation offers many advantages. In terms of distribution, the Internet plays a
role primarily as a platform for communication and marketing. DVD is growing as a
storage medium.

Digitalisation of playback technology will come, in the opinion of the experts, but
involves considerable costs, whose distribution must first be negotiated for the indus-
Three key questions can be formulated for all three areas. a) Is the Internet and its
use closing the divide between culture makers and culture consumers? b) What is the
importance and function of the traditional intermediaries, and can they retain their
position or are they being threatened by new intermediaries? c) Are the New Media
with their
ability to change production, distribution and also reception of culture promoting
cultural diversity, or tending to promote homogeneity? The results of the Prognos
study show that the gap is narrowing (but not closed – a softwarebased paintbox
does not make you a painter, the question of talent is decisive). Traditional distribu-
tors are not simply abandoning the field or being pushed aside, they still determine
events – but new and additional distributors are appearing. Cultural diversity is being
promoted rather than levelled. As this aspect is of central importance, let us look at
the conclusion which the Prognos experts reached for the area of music.

“In terms of cultural policy, the positive effects associated with digitalisation appear
to outweigh the negative ones overall. The internet is opening up new creative scope,

35 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes brings music makers and music consumers closer together, and tends to break up
encrusted hegemonistic market power structures. However, hopes in many quarters
for “democratisation” of the cultural sector as a whole are proving deceptive. Even in
the online environment, intermediaries retain control of the mass market, new forms
of marketing offering music makers greater influence on marketing their works are
establishing themselves only at the margins or in niches. These approaches should
accordingly be taken into account in cultural policy, their development should be
promoted, and the transferability of this experience to other areas of culture should
be studied.”

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 36

Media Technology and
Globalisation Process
Globalization is a process. This process creates connectivity and convergence. It is
understood from four perspectives. One is cultural convergence. Second is political
perspective, which is concerned about free flow of information. Third is economic
perspective focusing on capitalism, consumerism, transnationalism, and globaliza-
tion. Fourth, media perspective focuses on media contribution to all the above men-
tioned three perspectives.

Globalization process can erode the autonomy of nation states when they have to
follow the prescriptive policy of the world financial institutions from which they may
borrow loan for development.

Information technology is important for the globalization process. It has impact on

globalization process and vice versa. Importance and impact of information and ICT
in the globalization process addresses three factors for rapid globalization. The lib-
eralization of the market; encouragement of competition between different systems;
and globalization processes in the context of third world.

The changes brought by ICT by the end of century are of tremendous concern. The
powerful flow of cultural commodities — information, news, and various television
programs saturate the world markets, as they become accessible via satellite-broad-
cast. The developing countries face serious challenges of whether *to hook with the
world telecommunication system or to avoid such integration in order to protect
their culture from direct influence of powerful cultural commodity flows.

The convergence of telecommunication and computer is of recent origin. It suggests

that distinctions are becoming less relevant as data can be moved across from one-
to other. The cable and the telephone network can now carry voice traffic, television
signals and data; satellite systems can transmit to many points, computers can assist
the information traffic, as well; enhancing the value of information they can handle.
These developments are further facilitated by digitalization; wherein all information is
converted into digital signals and then capable of i being processed by sophisticated
electronic hardware. Such a text CD-ROM linked to computers can reproduce
images and sound.

As boundaries between the different network systems are eroded, we can talk about
wider electronic communication infrastructure rather than separate technologies,
each transmitting I different information system.

Such changes are neither accidental nor positive fall-out of technological progress.
They are by product of telecommunication policies in an era of rapid technological

Existence of inequalities of access to communication 2 technologies is to be consid-

ered rather than technological change per se. Though these inequalities may not be
the product of technological change per se.

37 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Amartya Sen (1998) points that globalization sans social welfare is counterproduc-
tive. People in developing economies (India and Pakistan) are not able to compete in
the globalization. The problem arises when people enjoying protective environment
are suddenly pushed into hard competition. A country may have globalization at the
high speed but it creates problems for itself if it does not pay attention to lack of
social opportunities, illiteracy, and lack of health care, land reforms, and micro credit.
The blame does not lie with globalization but on the policies to achieve it. It needs
broader context of social and economic policies. The countries where human devel-
opment is low is threatened by globalization.

Further he has linked the strategies of development to economic and social develop-
ment. The solutions are healthcare, education, land reforms and empowerment to
people. The developing countries do not need ‘trickle down’ from western countries
but they can achieve development by developing their manpower. Human develop-
ment is the main focus. It is necessary to bring into the public domain discussions
about social deprivation’s and create a system for social opportunities. There is lack
of initiative to focus on unemployment even in richer economies. The effort has to
create a force so that benefits of liberalized economy reach the socially deprived.

Cultural Globalization Perspective

Tomilson John (1997) addresses theories of globalization and transnational cultural
process for their ‘iconoclasm’; that is their power in forcing us to rethink critical

The Iconoclasm of globalization refers to rapidly developing process of complex

interconnection among the societies, cultures, institutions, and individuals worldwide.
It is a process which involves compression of time and space, shrinking distances
through a dramatic reduction in time either physical or representational - to cross
them, so making the world seem smaller and bringing human beings closer to one
another. It is also a process that stretches social relationships - from local contexts to
global contexts. Giddens (1994) suggests that globalization can be understood as
‘action at distance’. The iconoclastic implications of the concept of globalization are
that it challenges the familiar ways of describing the world. It threatens to destroy the
images of the world cherished in so many intellectual and critical traditions; displacing
or forcing re-examination of certain givens of social and cultural analysis.

(Giddens l990, Mann 1986) point that the very idea of ‘society’ as a fundamental
analytic category becomes problematized once the complex interconnections of glo-
balization crosscutting assumed societal boundaries are recognized. It is the bounda-
ries of the nation state that are traversed by the interconnections of globalization —
by the global capitalist market, by global media flows, and cultural identifications.
And this reveals social reality as comprising of ‘structuring networks’ of state, culture
and economy, rather than on the basis of ‘one master’or ‘basic unit’ concept of

McGrew (1992) argues, the process of globalization comprises four critical aspects
of the nation state; its competence, its form, its autonomy, and its authority or legiti-

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 38

The iconoclasm of globalization lies in the implicit demand to re-envisage the world Notes
that arises once the nature of the complex global interconnectedness and the process
of time-space compression and action at distance are recognized.

Re-envisioning is disturbing and inevitably involves the destruction of shibboleths,

many of which may be linked to political and moral commitments. But re-envisioning
is not the same as revisionism. Cultural Globalization or Cultural Imperialism:
Cultural imperialism scenario focuses on the model of centreperiphery relationships;
and historical patterns of domination. There is ubiquity of western cultural goods.
The western cultural tastes and practices are becoming global ones. From clothes to
music, food, films, television programs, architecture etc. The complex web of inter-
connections, crosscutting and overlay of communication paths and flows enmeshes
and binds in all cultures. The key aspect of this tradition is the cultural mixing, hy-
bridization rather than direct cultural imposition from the developed world. The em-
phasis on transculturation, hybridize, and indigenization is important in understanding
the hegemonic cultural influence. It also has a wider significance. As James Lull (1995)
puts it, the idea of emergence of monolithic global culture is implausible. Global
culture is always ‘meaning in motion’ “thus its space is between cultures rather than
within cultures; and its essential nature is that of the hybrid.( From the perspective of
action at distance the locales are thoroughly penetrated by and shaped in terms of
social influences quite distant from them.

Another conception of globalization argued by Hall (1992) ...driven by poverty,

draught, famine, underdevelopment, crop failure, civil war, political unrest, regional
conflicts, a very large number of the poorer peoples of the globe have taken the
message of global consumerism at its face value. And moved towards the places
from where the goodies
come and where the chances of survival are greater. In the era of global communica-
tions, the West is only a one-way charter ticket away. The political-economic impact
of such migrations is ambiguous for western nation states; at the same time offering
cheap exploitable labour and threatening demographic invasion.

Globalization often draws attention to the more obvious cultural consequences of

this process of migration - the commodification of the exotic and ethnic in the West-
ern culture. Globalization does not promise the techno-utopia of McLuhan’s global
village but neither it is likely to produce the homogenized dystopia dominated by the
same old power players. The globalization media technology may repeat pattern of
political, economic, and cultural dependency but it will surely bring the knowledge.

New technologies present new possibilities as well as new threats. Satellite commu-
nication shrink distances. It is cost effective” way to reach large population world-
wide. But it can highlight problems of national sovereignty, cultural integrity, and
deepening inequalities. The pattern of availability and use mirrors the imbalance of
financial and political power.

Globalization: Impact
It has resulted in boom of advertising consumer goods. Satellite; communication
facilitated it. The force of globalization shifts power away from governments to pri-
vate capital in whatever market it takes place. The communication revolution has

39 BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology

Notes brought the consumers in direct contact with evolving tastes all over the world. This
has created a new class of consuming public who demands more value at a lower
price. Success for any consumer company in such a demanding environment requires
exceptional commitment to] delivering value to every stakeholder. The paradigms of
the past are not relevant to the future and successful organization would need to
constantly reinvent itself to adapt to the evolving; environment.

The global players participate in the flows of news, entertainment and education
material, promotional messages,’ data flow, flow of voice messages, and text mes-
sages. These flows are organized around message producers, operators ofnetworks,
and manufacturers of technical equipment.

Cultural globalization process rethinks about cultural powers not as cultural imperial-
ism but a process of cultural integration. The significant is free flow of information
through US cultural industries and media entertainment based on free flow doctrine
that influences the world. Super information highway in US will give better access to
a) change in international communication as| consequences of communication tech-
nology such as fax machines, satellite, broadcasting etc.
b) emergence of corporate media 1 systems as aspects of globalization;
c) cultural aspects of the process of contemporary globalization;
d) global culture as built into modern communication systems, and accessibility of
technology with its wide angle reflecting cultural conflicts.

Globalization gets growing into cultural convergence manifested in hardware and

software transnational media products (telecommunication, video, TV), other com-
modities, business, banks, and advertising agencies etc.

Others think of cultural convergence as evident in things people think about, the ways
in which they think, and which things are expressed through everyday social prac-
tices. Other aspect of ‘cultural hybridize’ arises from play of global forces through
immigration, in search of employment opportunities and global trade.

Economic Perspective
Global communication industries study ways of customizing or innovating products
suitable within geo-linguistic or geopolitical regions. The local level producers are
drawn on the global codes and conventions. The information and entertainment prod-
ucts champion the western ways of life, and values of capitalism and individualism.
There have been ongoing public discourses on cultural imperialism, media imperial-
ism, New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO), dependency,
and free markets. Globalization is said to assist the marginalized.

Media Perspective
Global media products and their implications for local cultures, and media as vehicles
of globalization (international news agencies were the first to communicate on global
basis). Modern satellite technology facilitated globalization. Tehranian & Tehranian
(1997) addresses the contradictory role of the media as a source of resistance to
globalization, protector of capitalism, agents of democracy and vehicles for advertis-
ing and commodification.

BJ(MC)-304 : Contemporary Media Technology 40

Media-flow equals to international communication, media imperialism, globalization Notes
and globalization. Globalization perspective appears as an alternative to media impe-
rialism. Globalization is composite of globalization and localization. It holds that the
process of social change is union of both homogenization and hetrogenization. It is
interplay between local and global. The media globalization thesis holds that the proc-
ess of media flow is the dialectic of global homogenization and local hetrogenization.
The outcome of globalization and localization are cultural hybrid. Robertson (1995)
suggested that media-flow studies spell out the ways in which homogenizing and,^
heterogenizing tendencies are mutually implicative.

Media flow suggests that we are dealing with the type of cultures that have definite
geo origins and then have speedily expanded. Media flow analysis is concerned with
interaction between societies and not within societies. We study media as a form of
communication and as a setting within culture.

There are three major trends that are shaping the future of the world. First, is the
wide proliferation of the modern information and communication technologies. Sec-
ond is increasing democratization of the social systems around the world. The third
trend is the intensifying global expansion of mainly western-based corporations.
Cocacola, Pepsi, McDonald, Hollywood, CNN, Disneyland are more influential
and affirms the cultural domination. The convergence of communication technolo-
gies, political, and economic liberalization has transformed the way we live and com-

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