Media is constantly changing, evolving, and growing due to the influence of countless factors. The media today is nothing like the media of ten years ago and the media ten years from now will be nothing like todays. While knowing what the media of the future will look like is impossible we can look at how media has evolved up to this point, and how other major influences are currently evolving to make assumptions as to what media might look like in the future.
Technology, in my opinion, is the biggest influence on the media currently. I believe this because of the power it gives media producers and consumers. It is rapidly evolving, opening new possibilities for media consumption and distribution. In recent years technology has given the former consumers the power to produce media and to gatewatch more effectively. This has taken some of the power to gatekeep from the large media producers. As technology evolves it will continue to change the dynamic between large media companies and the general public, hopefully for the better.
Over the past 50 years one of the most controversial and influential trends in media is the concentration of ownership. We are down to so few companies owning most of the media that it is hard to imagine ownership getting any more concentrated. This past week Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, formerly the nations two largest cable companies will soon be one. As greedy companies like Comcast continue to buy out every competitor how long will it be until our Big 5 become consolidated into a single conglomerate? While the formation of one mega conglomerate is very unlikely, even the consolidation from five to four major media companies would give each company a great increase of power and influence.
Technology and ownership concentration are just two of many influences on the future of media. Technology has given more people access to information and the ability for the consumers of media to become producers of media. With this new increase in information and power the consumers can be better informed. This will hopefully lead to larger concern about ownership consolidation. The media has a enormous effect on everyone viewing it, and so it is important for the viewers to have an interest in knowing the truth about that media. As we move into the future it will be increasingly important to be active viewers. Looking to the future we can only hope that everyone does their part in staying informed and keeping the media working for the people.