Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Media

Major Media Types
Media are the agencies, means, tools or instruments used to convey messages to the public. When most businesses, NGOs, interest groups consider forms of advertising that may be the best for their company, cause, program or event television, radio, newspaper, magazines, and internet are typically the first types of media that come to mind. All of these media outlets do have its advantages, as well as disadvantages. These advantages and disadvantages both are put in practice to choose the right form of media to convey a message, spread news and motivate people to take part in an activity.

Among the above mentioned media types, television and print media pretty much take the cake. The other media take less proportion of interest but are still widely used because of the benefits that they provide. Below are some benefits and disadvantages of each of these forms of media which will give criteria of selecting the right media for right delivery of the message with more efficiency.

The average person spends nearly ten years watching TV during their life span over a 70 year lifetime. Television communicates with sound, action and color. The prime time is between 8 P.M to 11 P.M during which TV channels have their ratings at peak based on viewership.

a. Wide geographic coverage & broad audience reach (appeals to most demographics)
b. Perceived accountability with well accepted audience
c. Relative ease of buying and post-buy maintenance
d. Proven success record for promoting mass consumer products (infomercials)

a. Audience share is generally declining due to fragmented audiences
b. Increasing use of commercial free channels and programs is diminishing the impact of commercials
c. Typically high and rising production costs this makes it one of the most expensive media

Radio reaches 90% of people, which makes it very effective and widespread media to communicate and convey the messages. It is believed that an average person with 70 year of lifetime spends 6 years of their lives listening to radio. Radio has best times as “drive times” such as morning and early evening.

a. Has targeting capabilities
b. Inexpensive compared to other traditional broadcast media
c. Builds frequency quickly (commercials are replayed throughout the day/evening)
d. Branded promotions offer advertisers appealing community involvement opportunities
e. No seasonal listener erosion

a. No visual component
b. Advertisers must buy multiple stations and formats to accumulate audience reach
c. Peak listening is during morning and evening drive times with relatively low audiences the rest of the day

Newspapers are the most oldest and one of the most effective type of media for communication, learning and advertising.

a. Broad reach within a defined marketing area i.e. business, sports, shopping section
b. Large readership and a high level of reader involvement
c. The cost is relatively low
d. Newspapers often have special sections to advertise, to promote your cause or to motivate or inform people to any project, market, program or event
e. Newspapers cover a diverse geographical area, as it is available in big cities as well in small towns

a. Decreasing market penetration and readership
b. Less interest shown by youth (people between ages 18-24 are not reading the newspaper)
c. Short life
d. Studies show that less than 50% of readers bother to see the ads while others skip those sections 

Magazines are mostly part of a newspaper, but are published and issued separately with regular time intervals usually weekly or monthly, have limited circulation and targeted audience. However it has much less circulation than any other printing media form, but still it has its importance for communication.

a. High degree of selective targeting based on demographics, product affinity, or lifestyle (women’s vs. men’s magazines, children’s magazines, etc.)
b. High production quality (images and full-color printing)
c. Longer life span
d. People keep magazines longer than newspapers
e. Focused environment with selected niche
f. Regional editions offer localized targeting capabilities

a. Magazines offer specific issues with limited availability to public
b. They are not produced on daily basis but with some fixed time intervals like weekly or monthly
c. Broad market reach is difficult to achieve because of niche readership behavior
d. More expansive than newspaper
e. Less mass appeal within a geographical area

Direct mail
Direct mail is used by business and companies to send the newsletters, catalogs, coupons, samples, price lists, circulars, invitations, cards and letters to be sent via mail to home of the receiver or through electronic mail.

a. It can be highly selective
b. It has controlled timing
c. Can be used to actually make the sale

a. It has low response level
b. People think of it as “junk mail”
c. High cost

However whatever kind of media is used to communicate, a look at the advantages and disadvantages must be practiced before taking actual decision. This information may help to choose the best available media which coincides with effective communication, better delivery of service and helps to get properly managed feedback.