I Media Main I Media by Decade I Media by Genre I Media Timeline I
The Internet Links the World
shows were the new cultural phenomenon of the nineties.
Part self-help, part advice, part pseudo-debate, they covered topics such
as incest, family relationships and alcoholism. Consumers devoured them and
talk show hosts like Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue became household names.
"Infotainment" also became bigger, with shows like "Entertainment Tonight"
offering bits of info to keep viewers watching.
With the Internet going public, electronic publishing and chat rooms sprang up, allowing individuals to express their opinions freely to a large global audience. With minimal technical know-how, anyone could air his or her comments and views without the huge expense of traditional publishing. Still, advertising lurked nearby, searching for new ways to use new media to promote their products.
Traditional newspapers continued their decline. The expansion of media conglomerates and the standardization of newspaper formats and coverage, few independent publications remained. However, most new publications of the 1990s, niche papers (or magazines) were directed at specific groups, such as parents or Catholics. Community newspapers, freely circulated "alternative papers" and parenting publications became increasing popular with consumers, eating into advertising revenues of newspaper chains.
Celebrity lifestyles remained a popular media subject. "Entertainment Weekly" began publication on Feb 12, 1992, with Time Warner spending $150 million launching the new magazine, the first new one since People began in 1974. Community-parenting publications exploded in the 1990s. Only a handful existed in the early 1980s, but in 1997, there were 119 parenting publications serving communities in America. For the fashionable women, "Allure" began publication in 1991. Unashamedly a beauty and fashion magazine, it featured intelligent journalist following fashion. It had bold graphics, lots of photographs and a non-traditional approach to beauty.
According to a Nielson Media Research in May 1994, 98 percent of all American
households owned a least one TV set. 63 percent received at least basic cable.
It is estimated that the average American spends 20-25% of his or her waking
hours with the television on. According to a Newsweek article on June 7 1999,
the United States is the largest exporter of television programs, such as
"Wheel of Fortune" and "ER", while American movies are in prime time television
slots all over the world. The dark humour and cynicism of "Generation X" (people
born from 1965 to 1976) appeared in many forms of media, including TV shows
like Fox's "The Simpsons" and MTV's "Beavis and Butthead".
However, the Europeans are now making more of their own shows and sitcoms that have more local flavour. As in the 80s, parents continue to question the appropriateness and value of media programming for children of different ages. In January 1997, a self-enforced system rating programs was put in use by many major US network and cable channels, in order to help parents judge material.
Many of the original American film companies like 20th Century Fox Film, MGM, Paramount, Universal, Columbia, Warner Brothers and Walt Disney are still going strong today. In 1996, more than $5.8 billion in movie tickets were sold, an increase of $0.3 billion from the previous year. This is credited to the release of several blockbuster action films, such as Independence Day, Twister and Mission Impossible, that look much better on big screens. Action films have become the most foolproof category for overseas sales, while humour (in comedies) are subjective from culture to culture, action movies are very visually exciting.
James Cameron's Titanic, based on the sinking of the actual ship Titanic in
1912, packed with realistic special effects, elaborate costumes and sets,
as well as a moving plot, grossed the highest box-office earnings in history,
and swept 11 Oscar awards.
Advertising In the mid-1990s, interest in Internet advertising grew. However, online advertising was relatively modest because the Internet was very new and its effectiveness was uncertain. The total advertising revenue in 1997 was estimated at $400-$699 million, 12 times more than that of 1995, but still only a small portion of all advertising spending. One new advertising hybrid to take hold of the Nineties was the "advertorial". Though designed to resemble regular columns or features, they were in reality biased advertisements posing as unbiased editorials. Cross-marketing and media consolidation have become more widespread in the 1990s. For instance, a network station owned by Disney began having more talk shows visit Disneyland or mention their films. Movie tie-ins with fast food chains and breakfast cereals dominate advertising during children programming.
GLOBAL COMMUNICATION AND WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
Wireless communications continue to develop in the 1990s. Cordless phones, pagers and mobile phones became common. The nineties also saw the introduction of wireless computer networks, direct-broadcast satellite television, digital wireless cable TV networks and global phone service. Global positioning systems using satellites can locate an individual within a few inches anywhere worldwide.
As we enter the 21st century, technology is developing to make these systems cheaper, more reliable and easier to use. The impact of such technology and communication tools is enormous. Reporters now have the ability to file live reports of breaking news events any place on Earth. Important media questions regarding information access are still being hammered out as wireless technology evolves.
the 20th century was coming to an end, a new media was born - the Internet.
It links people together through their computer terminals with modems connected
to telephone lines. Once inside the "Net", a web of networks and software
allows users from all walks of life, all around the world to communicate with
one another. Originally developed in the fifties by the Pentagon, the Internet
is now open to the world. Currently it is subsidized by the National Science
Foundation, which controls the Internet's core network. The number of people
accessing the net at any one time is incalculable, though it is probably in
the tens of millions. Public libraries and even cafes offer consumers Internet
access. The majority of users tend to be university and corporate researchers,
government officials, students, scientists and reporters and journalists.
Electronic publishing on the Internet started in the late 1980s. By late 1996, over 3000 "e-zines" (electronic magazines) were available, with more popping up daily. Suddenly, anyone could publish and electronically distribute news and information. Authors can distribute their Web pages by being linked to an infinite number of sites and indexes. This also means that most of the content on the Internet is unfiltered and unchecked. The debate over content and public access of web sites will go on into the 21st century.