There are some very definite philosophical differences that lie between mainstream and alternative media. Let’s start with mainstream media in a bid to define the term that has become an often-used one to differentiate it from its “alternative” counterpart.
“Mainstream media” is a term that is seemingly used on a daily basis in public discourse. It is used so commonly, in fact, that it is often abbreviated: MSM. Thanks to a current trend that sees mainstream media and alternative media engage in a tug of war, we will be hearing the term “mainstream media” both in the short-term and long-term future. It has now become a staple in American culture. As can be concluded from the term “mainstream”, this kind of media is everywhere, encompassing print, radio, television, and, of course, Internet-based publications. In the U.S., mainstream media is largely linked with a small number of conglomerates owning the majority of newspapers, magazines, television networks, and movie houses.
These organisations own most of the popular media in the U.S. and so essentially, the world. At its core, mainstream media comprises a small number of organisations that owns the majority of popular media networks and therefore draws in the highest number of views. Mainstream media further includes publications such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, as well as such foreign networks as Sky and BBC. These publications and networks together cater to most of the population, so they control the content that most people see, read, and here. As a result, many dissenters have compared them to puppeteers and have questioned their ability to remain impartial when delivering the news.
However, the fact is that the word mainstream is used for one key reason: It draws the largest number of viewers. Any media with the majority of viewerships can be referred to as mainstream media. Many of the mainstream media houses such as Fox were actually alternative media when they started out but their increase in viewership led them to be given the “mainstream” tag.
Advertising on mainstream media
Due to its large viewership, many adverting dollars have been invested in mainstream media. Many companies view such opportunities as good as it provides them with an opportunity to spread the word about their product or service to a huge audience. The traditional family in American culture watch television in the evening and sees commercials in the middle of their favourite shows. Depending on the power of a particular commercial, many of these viewers buy what is being advertised to them as a result. If a company can communicate its message in the short amount of time offered by a commercial and is effective and powerful enough, it is capable of convincing a portion of the audience to try out its product and generate revenues for the company, which could be significantly higher than the cost of advertising.
Mainstream media is an effective advertising platform, although it does depend on the product being sold. If it has mass appeal, mainstream media is a useful tool. However, if we’re talking about a product that would likely appeal to a smaller portion of the public, alternative media might be a more appropriate solution.