Excessive commercialization of the media
Nature: A worldwide trend towards commercialization of the mass media is apparent. In the printed media this is reflected in a substantial increase in the commercial content of newspapers and magazines. Although on television the time devoted to advertising is not so significant, this is partially due to the fact that the amount of advertising time allowed on television is regulated in most countries. The increasing commercialization and dependence of media upon advertising revenues implies the production and diffusion of items which have mass appeal. In addition, although advertising revenues can lead to lower cost of newspapers, magazines and broadcasting, commercialization of the media has the potential to exercise a numbing effect on the content of news reporting and commentaries, as the media may be wary of offending sponsors by being too controversial. The possibility of withdrawing or threatening to withdraw advertising gives advertisers the potential to influence the policies of specific media which depend heavily on advertising revenues. Although in practice advertisers are interested in reaching as great an audience as possible, and in achieving this aim they often ignore the overall political orientation of the media they use, such potential for influence does exist, although particular cases are hard to document. Moreover, in countries where professional standards or regulations are weak, the dividing line between editorial commentary and advertisement can be blurred.
Problem Type: E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update 13.02.1997 – 00:00 CET