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Future of mass Communication in the Philippines


by

MARILOU S. PITLO

Submitted to

PROF. R. J. SOLIS

COLLEGE OF MASS COMMUNICATION

University of the Philippines Diliman

In partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the degree of

COMRES 286 ISSUES IN PUBLIC COMMUNICATION

March 2011
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Future of Print Industry 2

The Future of Broadcast Industry 3

The Future of the World Wide Web 6

Conclusion 7

References 8

The Future of Mass Media in the Philippines


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Introduction

There are many forces that can shape the future of mass media- technology, regulation,
competition, consolidation, changing socioeconomic milieus, among others. This makes any
definitive forecast of the subject impossible. This paper will attempt to inquire on the factors that
can help define the prospects for mass media in the coming years. The different medium of mass
communications, namely print (newspaper and magazine), broadcast (radio and television) and
electronic/digital will be tackled.

The Future of Print Media Industry

The invention of paper is one of the earliest innovations that made a huge impact in
human civilization. Through it, knowledge came to be passed from one generation to another and
information came to reach great distances. Paper had been the purveyor of news linking people
and connecting communities. But technological advancements had eclipsed the popularity and
utility of print media. Newspapers, magazines, as well as books came to be regarded as
representatives of obsolete and outdated means of mass communications. Environmental over the
use of pulp paper from trees was also raised against print media. The speed and capacity to store
and channel huge amounts of information of the Internet also highlighted the limitations of print
media. Digital media was also credited for having an empowering effect in that it confers control
to distributors and the audience chipping away the traditional power of authors and publishers.

Nevertheless, despite of its enormous comparative advantages, the advent of digital


publishing systems will still not herald the demise of print media (Mallan & Patterson, 2008).
Print media can simply ride with the change and make the transition. This will signal the move of
print media away from pulp, ink and mechanical printing press machines. Print media is actually
capitalizing on modern technologies to improve and speed up their content writing, layout,
design and overall packaging, making it more appealing to the buying public. The shift to digital
publishing also translated to huge savings on the part of publishers. It tremendously reduced
manufacturing and distribution costs. The back end aspects, such as the pressroom, mailroom
and circulation, are positioned to reap considerable savings from the inroads of this modern
technology.

Technology continuously advance and modify the frontiers of print media. The Media
Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (n.d.) is currently developing a new
paper technology that can be used or reprogrammed. The so-called digital paper would be a high-
quality paper that would act more like a thin flat-panel display like an iPad. Researcher Joseph
Jacobson maintained that the said paper "ink” is made up of minute particles which are black on
one side and white on the other. By altering the electric charge beneath them, the said particles
can "flip" and develop types and illustrations. A microprocessor installed in the electronic
document's spine would then program the particles to "set" the preferred text, which would
remain stable until reprogrammed by its maker.
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The Future of Broadcast Media Industry

Television

Narrowcasting in the Television Industry

Great changes are also taking place in the field of television. In recent times, TV channels
have abounded with more channels and programs becoming more focused and specially made to
cater to specific groups (Weinstein, 2006). This niche approach had been successful as it
responded to the growing diversity of audiences and their evolving preferences and likings.
Cable and satellite TV service providers are now offering more and more channels to their
subscribers. With the inroads of technology, the cost of making documentaries and videos also
became cheaper and easier. However, quality movies and TV shows will continue to be
expensive to produce as such factors as talent fees for actors, fees for directors, and other setup
costs continue to rise. Programs are also shown in more timeslots nowadays enabling busy
working people who consistently do overtime to still hear late night news and for people who
wake up very early in the morning to listen to early morning news reports. Indeed, broadcast
media had become more responsive to customer needs and circumstances.

Personal channels in the Television Industry

Providing a more personalized TV experience is also a welcome trend that has been
gaining much ground. This allows consumers to choose the programs they would like to tune in
on a regular basis, the kind of movies they would like to watch on weekends or whenever they
are free (Nabi & Oliver, 2009). This gives power to the consumer to manage and be the ultimate
master of his own viewing experience. Nonetheless, even with this capacity to personalize
channels, there is no question that standard programs will remain a staple part of one’s daily
encounter with mass media. Furthermore, as more people have grown accustomed to general
media interaction patterns, it may take a while for this to be changed or modified.

Offline Services in the Television Industry

Certain TV channel spaces (Straubhaar, 2000) can be earmarked for scheduled video
conferences and distance learning programs wherein two-way, high-speed communications are
required and readily provided by modern technological means. Such channel space can be
utilized for books, magazines, newspapers, MTVs, and other media formats for offline usage.

Furthermore, broadcast texts are likely to be used to complement TV programs and


advertising. For instance, the audience would be able to exhibit on demand specific information
about programs or commercials they are watching or would like to watch. Such wealth of
information could include, but not limited to, titles, names of actors, hosts or commentators,
traffic updates, weather bulletins, scores in the recently concluded sports games (e.g. basketball),
trivia, and information about products being advertised.
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Zapping commercials in the Television Industry

Technology can enable to viewers to remove long commercials that disturb their viewing
or listening experience (McDowell, 2006). But this would only come at a time when everyone
switched to pay-per-view or subscription service. Considering the cost that dissuades many, this
may not likely to happen in the immediate future. Besides, earnings from advertisers remain a
major source of revenues for media companies. There is also no doubt that advertisers will find a
way to adapt to such a shift and find new ways to communicate their product offerings to the
public. The challenge for advertisers will be to make their commercials less intrusive and more
appealing so they can engage the audience and not be seen as the usual boring off-the-shelve
product endorsements.

There had been many negative forecasts about the prospects of TV in the future, but these
are largely exaggerated. The boob tube had long been a mainstay in the lives of many people
across countries and across different generations to be easily phased out. It will be imperative for
TV companies to offer satellite and cable-TV programs that cater to a global audience with
evolving tastes and preferences. Only through this will TV become relevant in the years to come.

With respect to home TV sets, larger screens with improved sound effects will become
the order of the day as they offer more real-like representation as if they bring viewers closer to
the actual scene of the news footage or the very sidelines of the arena in a football game they are
watching. Purchase of thin-screen CRTs and flat panels will continue to rise and their prices can
decrease over time with growing demand and competition from more producers.

Film Industry: Commercial video and holographic theaters

Intimate home theaters that provide the same experience offered by commercial theaters
would become more popular in the next 10 years (Newsweek, 2005). But this will not
necessarily led to the closure of many theaters as costly innovations such as holographic or other
virtual reality projection systems would definitely add value and make more attractive viewing
movies in commercial theaters. Hence, while technology may render traditional media modes
obsolete, the very same technological advancements can be adopted or infused in these
conventional mediums in order to make them more responsive to the changing times.

Movie theater owners will consider the acquisition of automated video projection systems
and huge flat-screen displays important. Effective adoption of this could mean savings. With
this, movies could be economically shown theaters all over the country or even abroad from a
single location. This would remove the need for locally operated projection booths, the costs of
which would multiply based on the number of locations the move would be shown. Advances in
laser-based holographic systems may create a more realistic portrayal or rendition of actions in
films, bringing scenes closer to life and making actors appear three-dimensional (Hassanien et al,
2009).. Such theaters may no longer equip their audiences with special glasses or sensors just to
experience such larger than life presentations. Such systems may also make concerts and similar
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stage productions broadcasted to different points across the globe simultaneously. Technology
may be able to make such performances appear intimate and live to disparate audiences over the
world.

Movies may eventually fall under electronic videos. Photographic films may still provide
higher quality images than their digital counterparts, but such initial advantage may eventually
be diminished in 10 to 15 years, if not sooner. The ebb of conventional motion pictures and
photography may be hastened with the development of advanced digital imaging systems and
larger high-definition displays. This will reduce the costs of video and film making, enabling
more people and organizations, even the amateurs, to produce and disseminate their own works.
The proliferation of such productions in such websites as Youtube.com can attest to this. Older
media may be left to hobbyists who have developed a strong attachment over some traditional
means. With the demarcation lines blurred, this could lead to the meshing of film and video.

Radio Industry: its Future

Technology will also be a major driving force delivering changes in radio media. It may
further improve sound quality and other sound effects to the benefit of the listening public. It
may also bring in more automation which can cut costs on labor, as well as enhance operational
efficiency.

Radio is apparently one of the most stable mediums of mass communications. The
number of radio stations has been by and large constant for years in most places. There is little
variation in audience usage other than as a function of demographics and community size.
Competition largely revolves around programming, but technology may eventually come into
play. A new radio technology called FMX can contribute in changing the landscape of customary
radio. FMX is designed to considerably extend a radio station’s signal coverage and signal
reception. Already adopted by several stations abroad, the FMX system maintains the usual FM
quality reception with existing receivers, but produces better performance only with FMX
receivers.

Public transportation can prove to be a major source of income for radio media. This is
especially so if oil prices continue to rise making commuting more relevant and practical. Radio
broadcasts can be transmitted in public transport terminals (i.e. land, sea, air), trains, buses,
jeepneys and taxi cabs and others expanding the market for radio networks and advertisers. And
in such service expansion, the role of technology will prove to be indispensable. Stiff industry
competition may continue but the trend to use syndicated entertainment packages delivered by
satellite across different geographic points is becoming apparent (Keith, 2009). Such
prepackaged entertainment programs reduce costs, offering more profit for the industry.

The Future of Digital Media

Dedicated Communication through the Internet


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“Dedicated communication” is said to be offered by cyberspace. But it is not a new type


of communication actually. It describes the likelihood of consumers to select new
communication milieus where they feel more engaged and where they perceive better
responsiveness of their particular concerns (Champlain, 2003). It could be either for individual or
mass communication. But it embodies a new shift towards more intimate experience. There may
be an absence of dedication in both sides. However, this does not automatically mean that
electronic media is now more preferred by most people. Traditional media still have wide
currency and in a country like the Philippines where the digital divide between the haves and the
have nots obvious, it may take a long while before most appreciate and make the shift to the
World Wide Web for their mass media needs.

Micropayments in Dedicated Systems

If the common yearning to express or communicate a message continue to increase and


the need to pay to ensure that such communication means operate in a sustainable fashion
become apparent, then micro payments system will be a good vehicle by which digital media can
be sustained over time. Because most surfers “free ride” with the information they obtain from
the net, generally not paying for it, online media outfits have to devise creative and innovative
ways to raise money from such public to sustain their operations (Pauwels, 2010). The concept
of micropayments, if packaged properly, can become acceptable to people who access the web to
gain information, news, download videos, MTVs, among others. In this way, the digital media
industry will be able to have another revenue stream aside from advertisers, knowing that online
advertisers are not as many as advertisers in traditional media and that they do not pay as high as
they pay in traditional media means. Having income from online users can, thus, open another
revenue segment for electronic media.

Internet Neutrality

Consolidation in the media industry in a global scale is a very threatening development.


The efforts of big media conglomerates and their lobbyists to sway regulation and let
government hand over to them control over major mediums of mass communications can be seen
as threats not only to competition, especially from small independent players, but also to free
speech and democracy. The internet is one facet that many transnational media firms would like
to have control or greater influence over. Realizing the potentials of the Information
Superhighway and its immense popularity the world over, these companies had long attempted
ways to ensure greater say in this otherwise free public domain (Kksal, 2010). Big
telecommunication companies are also attempting to establish their own Internet services
wherein they have control over with. Since most traditional media have also developed their
internet counterparts, if not migrating to web-based platform altogether, whoever gets control or
undue influence over the web can possibly set agendas or frame certain issues according to their
own biases or slants, conditioning people’s minds and subtly sending the public to submission.
The internet should therefore remain a neutral ground where free speech and democracy and the
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participation of all can be ensured. Fortunately, many netizens, bloggers, civil society groups,
non-government organizations and policymakers remain in support of a neutral Internet.

Multimedia forms of communication

Negroponte and others at MIT are credited for recognizing the convergence of
conventional media and electronic media producing what can be labeled as multimedia
communication (Ott & Mack, 2009). This mixed media can be made available to a wider
audience base, making use of the latest technological devices, to reach out to more people
offering more relevant information and programs to the public.

Conclusion

Mass media would evolve to satisfy changing consumer likes and preferences.
Technology will greatly aid mass media in this transition. Media consumption will become more
personalized and people will have greater control over their own media program experience.
Media companies have to refrain from uniform and boxed programming schedules and shows.
However, standard mass media programs will remain to be in placed (Turow, 1992). For
instance, such events as the Olympics to name one, would unite audiences the world over,
making millions of people all over the world tuned in to the same programming at the same time
(Dayan & Katz, 1992).

Many mass communication theories will continue to be pertinent in explaining the future
of mass media, although some would have less relevance than the others. For instance, aside
from theories of audience reception, uses and gratifications, greater weight on theories that
emphasize the role of the audience will gain more favor as new media means allow people to
participate in creating messages (Morris & Ogan, 1996). Indeed, technological advances,
evolving media consumption trends, ownership change, and changing regulatory landscape make
a rethinking of mass communication theories necessary.

References

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