What is the media industry?

Photograph of BBC news room at New Broadcasting House

The BBC's New Broadcasting House is home to one of the world's biggest media companies

The media industry can be defined as a varied collection of organisations that share the production, publication and distribution of media texts. Examples of media organisations include:

  • BBC
  • Disney
  • News Corp
  • Nintendo
  • Marvel
  • The Guardian

Media texts can be used to inform, entertain, or promote ideas or products.

Audiences can consume media texts in many different formats on a range of platforms.

‘Traditional media’ or ‘old media’ are the names given to the industries that existed before the internet, like radio, print and television.

Illustration showing different forms of traditional media

Some examples of what is termed 'traditional media'

There are also emerging formats and platforms for media texts that have developed since the rise of the internet. They are called ‘new media’ and include:

  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Vlogs
  • Online games
  • Podcasts
  • Apps

New media is on-demand content accessed via the internet through digital devices, such as personal computers and smartphones.

New media texts can involve interactive elements such as audience engagement and feedback.

Technological advancement has allowed previously separate media industries to develop media convergence.

Media convergence lets audiences use one platform to consume various types of media texts.

Photograph of smartphone apps

Smartphone apps can drive media convergence

For example, on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop you can listen to the radio or download music, surf the internet, watch videos, read newspapers and magazines, and participate in social media.

Popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are drivers of media convergence as they allow audiences to post links to a variety of media texts that they want to share.