Once upon an ancient time, we lived in a one-dimensional world. It was pretty nice and simple with pretty straight (jacketed) ideas. For example: a). our parents, government policies, and teachers were ‘always’ right, b). marriages were made in heaven and c). there was one god, one nation, one government, one political party (that we knew of at least!), one television channel, one car, one scooter, and well- there was simply nothing else to it! But then one day somebody broke down a wall, and changed everything forever.
The fall of the Berlin Wall was not just a major turning point in the history of Europe. It was also a step that marked the opening up of the rest of the world. And together with the onslaught of the World Wide Web and satellite television channel viewing, this step marked the end of the ancient one-dimensional world forever. And from its ashes emerged a world of liberalisation and free-market economy. So, whereas the fall of Constantinople may have marked the beginning of the renaissance in medieval Europe, it was the fall of the Berlin Wall that marked the re-awakening of mankind into a radically virtual world.
What followed next was an era of growth and opportunities. The internet and satellite television brought in the opportunities and then businesses grew, economies grew, politics grew, and ‘man’ grew. And as this series of growth continued, another part of the world that grew, as it backed all this growth was the world of media, which now became this all important entity, carrying the weight of the world on its shoulders.
That brings us to the present day world. In today’s world media needs to be on its toes 24×7. As if it even begins to stagnate then at least some portion of the world as we know it will come crumbling down. Important news not reported on time, for instance, can mean wrong economic decisions being taken, wrong political opinions being formed, wrong tourist destinations being visited, wrong market economies being promoted. A press conference not covered properly can mean the end of a truly brilliant company. A social cause not given its due attention can mean that thousands of families living below poverty line will not be heard by the right set of ears. And the list can be a never ending one! This makes the responsibility of media truly immense.
The media industry of today, however, is really not the saint that the facts stated till now might suggest it to be. In fact, the above mentioned facts are just one side of the story, for there is another, more important reason why media or channels of media to be more specific need to be ‘Live-24×7’. And they will soon make the reader realize how far from being a saint the media of today really is. Media of today is an industry in itself and so is not free from the kind of competitive wars that must be fought between the players of other industries. So, even behind this ‘fight’ to save society from falling apart, there is hidden a fight being fought by every individual player within the media industry. This is the fight that every individual T.V channel, or radio channel, or newspaper, or magazine etc. must fight if they want to save the first place for themselves. The struggle is to attain the highest TRPs and the highly lucrative advertisements that keep them up and running. And unfortunately, the now ‘self declared’ saviours of society will go to any length to get those ads. and those TRPs for themselves. In fact, they now resort to all sorts of media gimmicks and tactics to get the viewers to stay glued to their channels. They will twist news, sensationalize news and events, invent facts, and highlight utterly nonsensical issues solely to build on the entertainment factor and the saleability of their channel. One of the biggest examples of how unscrupulously media can be in its quest to stay on top and the latest addition to their assembly of TRP winning gizmos and gadgets is the ‘24×7 reality T.V shows’ trend. In these the celebs are made to, or rather encouraged to fight like freaks, abuse and do anything and everything that is twisted and might keeps the audience viewing. Media houses pay enormous amounts to small or big celebrities to be part of these shows, and we can be pretty certain that with time they will come up with many more such publicity stunts.
Evidently media has moved into a realm of desperation. And the fight for survival has even turned into an ugly media war from time to time. The weapons may be new age sophisticated ones, backed by pages and pages of data of market based research. But the struggle is still an age old one. And as bleak and dreary as it may seem- ultimately, only the fittest shall survive.