The Media Industry

The media industry has grown to be huge, influential and glamorous.  The typical adult spends half their waking hours: watching, reading or listening. We are overwhelmed by content: cinema, television, radio, posters, newspapers, magazines, comics, video games and web sites; and hooked on news, information and entertainment.  Across the world we spend more than US$ 450 billion buying media each year and advertisers invest a further US$ 550 billion trying to reach us.
      Media has played a central role in history. Books informed the science and art of the Renaissance.  Newspapers fomented revolutions in America and France. Postal systems shaped nation states. The telegraph enabled international trade and global war. Magazines have driven fashion and culture. Radio fuelled the rise of the Nazis. Television brought down the Berlin Wall.  The 1960s theory of the global village has become the 21st century reality of the web.

New media emerge as new technologies became available. Movable-type led to books. Steam-powered presses to mass newspapers. Electricity enabled the telegraph and telephone. The amplifier and the transistor led to radio and television, digital code to video games and web sites.  History shows that old media do not die out in the face of new; they evolve and find new niches. After the initial chaos of the boom clarity is emerging about what media will become.

The Ascent of Media describes media’s evolution from clay tablets to the mobile internet.  It profiles the press barons, telegraph pioneers, movie moguls, broadcast tycoons and web visionaries who built an industry and shaped our world. And it highlights the extraordinary opportunities that digital media now offer.