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The term media is plural for medium. In advertising terms, medium is a channel of communication, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television. A medium is a vehicle for carrying the sales message of an advertiser to the prospects. It is indeed a vehicle by which advertisers convey their messages to a large group of prospects and thereby aid in closing the gap between producer at the one end and the consumer at the other end. Of course, this is from the viewpoint of advertisers and the audiences. There is another way of looking at the media, and that is from the point of view of the medium itself. Different media are organizations or enterprises for entertainment. They sell the product in the form of newspaper, magazine and radio and television programmes. At best, they are service organizations fulfilling the needs of listeners, readers and viewers for entertainment and information. Each medium designs its product to be more and more attractive among its audience. Each medium applies marketing concepts to the designing of the right product, selling it at the right price, distributing it through several outlets and, at times, taking the help of the right promotional means to increase its circulation or improve the popularity of its programmes. Newspapers publish, be it local news, national news, special interest information such as business, sports, housekeeping, science, etc. Similarly, television and radio stations broadcast programmes that are designed to attract larger segments of the public. In short, media too have to market their products properly. Once a medium has been well established and has built up a significant readership or audience, it is in a stronger position to attract advertisers who are on the look out for such media to reach audiences with their selling messages. Of course, they are willing to pay for this service. Thus, in addition to selling their products in the form of newspaper, magazine, radio and television programmes, the media are selling space or time which, in turn, earns large revenues for them. The money so earned out of selling advertising space or time which, in turn, earns large revenues for them. The money so earned out of selling advertising space and time ultimately helps to make the product itself (medium) cheaper and more attractive among its audience.
It would not be inappropriate to mention here that it is advertising that has been instrumental in the phenomenal growth of the media. In the nineteenth century, publishers of newspapers and magazines were faced with the stagnant circulation of their publications, with the result that profits were limited. This was due to the fact that the entire cost of writing and production was covered by subscriptions and newsstand revenue only. If the circulation was to be increased, it was possible only when prices were reduced. With lower prices, the circulation went up, resulting in a widespread reach of advertisers for their selling messages that, in turn, earned more money for the media. Both the media and the advertisers seem to have been benefited in the process. The publishers increased their audiences, profit and sphere of influence; at the same time, advertisers could reach effectively their prospective customers, making mass marketing possible for them. Today, every medium, be it a newspaper or a magazine, the radio or television, has a department with the responsibility of selling advertising space and time. The media themselves do advertise and promote the sale of their advertising space and time, for this is one of the important activities of the media. For their growth and even for their survival, the media have to be constantly on their toes to achieve increasingly higher advertising revenue.