Green Spectrum: Luminousity

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According to the theory of New Media Chromodynamics, the degrees to which people’s consumption of media contents changes, is directly proportional to the luminosity of the spectrum of change within a country and its people’s language group. The term luminosity describes the amount of access and supply of choices in news, entertainment, and other forms of information, that the people have. In other words, how much their supply of contents in their written or spoken languages has shifted, due to accessible new technologies, from relative scarcity to surplus, surfeit, or even overload.

As recently as a dozen years ago, most Mass Media companies, particularly those in post-industrial or highly-developed industrial countries, thought that their well-established businesses were invulnerable to changes or outside challenges. However, most, if not almost all, have since seen their circulations or listenerships or viewerships, as well as their advertising and subscription or newsstand revenues net of rate increases, plunge as people gravitate to more individuated means that can better their satisfying needs, interests, and tastes in contents than Mass Media can. These changes occurred with suddenness that surprised and stunned those well-established Mass Media businesses.

Yet Mass Media companies in developing or undeveloped countries haven’t seen those changes; their Mass Media businesses are strong and growing.

Why have these changes occurred so quickly and sharply in most post‑industrial and highly-developed industrial countries – such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, South Korea, and Australia, but not haven’t yet occurred in the developing or undeveloped countries of the world? Why did these changes affect the countries that had the seemingly strongest Mass Media industries?

The answer is the luminosity of change varies according to three factors (listed here in descending order of strength):

  1. The more sources of contents that a people have in their country or language, the stronger the luminosity of change and thus the quicker and stronger its effects. The sources of contents can be the government, traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, and broadcasts, plus blogs and social media networks, etc. For example, the United States has huge number of such sources of contents compared to countries such as China or India or Japan or Brazil or Russia, and so will now experience more quick and sharp changes in its media environment than those other countries will. Language is a factor because new technologies give the people of almost all nations newfound abilities to access other nations’ contents if they can read or otherwise understand the other nations’ languages. (For instance, the Guardian newspaper in London has become a significant online source of international and even national news for many Americans, Canadians, Australians, and other English speakers.) Although Mandarin is the language with the largest native reading population in the world, the total number of people worldwide who read English as a native or a secondary language is even larger, making English the language with the largest number of peoples who can gravitate to its contents. Thus, although New Zealand media companies don’t offer New Zealanders as great a choice of contents as have the peoples of other English-speaking countries, New Zealanders enjoy bounteous choices of content from those English-speaking countries. Likewise, the because most of the world’s five million Norwegians can read Danish and Swedish and nowadays English, they too are able to consume a wealth of content online and their nation’s media environment is profoundly affected by the change.
  2. The lesser the political, religious, or social censorship in their country or language, the stronger the luminosity of change and thus the quicker and stronger its effects. Censorship obviously limits a people’s access and choices of contents. Most censoring governments do so to keep their populaces on a common political agenda controlled by the government. Religious censorship, particularly when government, has the same effect. (It’s interesting to note that in developing countries where political censorship is strong but technological infrastructures are becoming advances, counties such as the People’s Republic of China, new technologies are being utilized to give their populations greater non-political choices of contents than the earlier era, greater choices of contents such as non-political entertainments, shopping and lifestyle and recreational publications and programs, etc. By contrast, countries with religious censorship develop much fewer choices of non-political contents because religion affects more than just political desires and expression.) Social censorship, largely a nation’s self-censorship, can also limit choices and thus the degree of change in a country’s media environment. Cultural censorship of internal satire (such as criticism of monarchies), of sexual expression and mores, or of open discussions of painful or blunt issues (i.e., censorship as excessive ‘political correctness’) can also limit choices.
  3. The more advanced the telecommunications infrastructure the people have, then the stronger the luminosity of change and thus the quicker and stronger its effects. Greatly increased choices of contents don’t make much difference if people can’t access those. Prior to the Internet, most American could access only what periodicals were locally delivered; but they now can access online virtually every periodical in the world. Plus, if the telecommunications infrastructure is broadband, they are no longer limited to only those broadcasts that are locally transmitted in their area or that have contracted with their local cable television system or that have contracted with a satellite television delivery service. Even when the number of people who can read or speak a language is comparatively limited, such as the world’s 77 million Korean-speakers, if a country’s telecommunications infrastructure is highly advanced, the luminosity of the changes and thus the degree to which their media environment changes is great: as the 50 million people South Koreans, the world’s most ‘wired’ telecommunications nation, have experienced.

So, there should have been little surprise about how Mass Media companies in the post-industrial democracies, no matter how strong those companies had been, were the first to experience the changes underway in the media environment and were dealt the greatest comparative losses by those changes. Those countries’ transition from Industrial Era Mass Media to Information Era Individuated Media will be the quickest and sharpest. Developing or undeveloped countries, whose peoples have lesser access and fewer choices of news, entertainment, and other information, plus may suffer censorship in any form, have been experiencing slower and softer changes in their media environments.

Nonetheless, as most people’s access to news, entertainment, and other information has begun to change from traditional television and radio and printed publications to personal computers and now to ‘smartphones’, the developing or undeveloped countries, even those suffering from forms of censorship, will begin to see accelerating and sharper changes in their media environments, due to the effects of those phones. All mobile phone handsets now being manufactured in the world are ‘smartphones’ models, and because most mobile phone owners replace their old handsets every two to three years, the number of people in the world who will be able to access the Internet via ‘smartphones’ will rise to approximately five billion by 2016, more than double the number of people who can today access the Internet via desktop, laptop, or table computers. ‘Smartphones’ already account for more than half of all mobile phones sold during 2013 in the developed countries. Internet access via ‘smartphone’ now eclipses other forms of access in the UK, South Korea, and many other advanced developed countries.

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