OPINION | The Nature of Research in Media Economics

An understanding of media economics strengthens our overall understanding of the role and function of mass media in society.

By Shaik Mohammad Shameer
Department of Communication and Journalism, 
Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, India

OPINION | The Nature of Research in Media Economics

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Good quality research, irrespective of its any discipline, depends on the eminence of the question posed as much as obtaining an answer to it. Here few questions that enlist media economic issues concerned with: Do media firms produce the sorts of goods and services that consumers want and need? Are they supplied in the right quantities and under conditions of optimal efficiency? What is the association between the markets in which media firms operate and how they perform? How can managers of media firms ensure that the resources available for provision of media goods are used as effectively as possible? What special challenges are thrown up by the management of creative processes? Which strategies will ensure that new media technologies are used to best competitive effect? What role should the state play in ensuring that the organization and supply of media output matches societal needs? Next research question arises on whom the research is carried for, it is directly on behalf of client (a media organization) is clear. In order to gather information from media managers or other industry practitioners, the two most commonly used research methods are interviews and questionnaires. Other potentially useful methods include observation and focus groups.

Documents and Texts

Official data that is available in the public domain is an extremely valuable resource for researchers in our field. Indispensable economic media data is usually available, for example, from industry regulators such as Telecom Regulation Authority of India, Ministry of Information Broadcasting media wings, the federation of Indian chamber of Commerce (FICCI), or the Copyright Tribunal, Monthly performance reviews, dissections of operating costs, and the sort of management data that would allow a media company’s operations to be analyzed in close detail are generally not open to the gaze of outsiders (nor, understandably, to rivals). The determined researcher can only get access to this sort of data by negotiating with or talking to its gatekeepers.

Now a day much of this official data is made available on the various bodies’ websites. The Internet has become a very precious research tool for media management researchers. Indeed, most of the originators of official media industry data, whether public or trade bodies, whether national or international, have websites on which information about reports and publications (and, often, full documents in a downloadable form) are readily available. The sales and audience figures produced by companies such as Nielsen or BARB are regularly placed in the public domain and more data may be available at websites or reproduced in industry journals.

People

One of the most important sources of information about management practices in the media industry is, of course, people. In order to gather information from media managers or other industry practitioners, the two most commonly used research methods are interviews and questionnaires. Other potentially useful methods include observation and focus groups.

Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis

Existing research studies in media management and economics illustrate a range of investigative approaches, quantitative and qualitative (sometimes both). Quantitative research is centrally concerned with measurement. Results of questionnaire surveys or of highly structured interviews or numerical and statistical data gathered from primary or secondary sources are equally open to quantitative analysis. In qualitative research, the prominence tends to be on individuals’ interpretations of their atmosphere or events taking place within their environment, of their own behavior or that of others. Qualitative research is well suited to investigating work practices and managerial styles, and carrying out organizational research. The analysis and presentation of qualitative findings allow nuances and contexts to be taken into account.

Conclusion:

As mass media have expanded and given scope to many key players to enter into this industry to take part in pivotal role like content creators, exhibitors and distributors. Media priorities and agendas are incessantly changing to the tune of the market requirements. Each media industry is working out to produce content with low investment and gain profit out of it. Any change in the regulation policy and technologies may affect the economic process of the media industry. So, an understanding of media economics strengthens our overall understanding of the role and function of mass media in society.

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OPINION | The Nature of Research in Media Economics
An understanding of media economics strengthens our overall understanding of the role and function of mass media in society.
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