This article provides information about the analytical comparison between internet and other mass media:
There had been attempts to compare Internet and other mass media in terms of audience. Baran and Davis characterise mass communication as a process involving: (i) an organised sender, (ii) engaged in the distribution of messages, (iii) directed towards a large audience.
They argue broadcasting fits into this model. Internet, which is considered as an interactive pipeline that excludes the possibility of broadcasting, it may not have audience in the traditional notion. Unlike traditional broadcasting Internet communities does indeed include the possibility of interactivity and niche communities. In that sense the so-called audience of Internet is limited and specified.
Morris and Ogan define the Internet as a mass medium because it addresses a mass audience mediated through technology.
They divide producers and audiences on the Internet into four groups:
i. One-to-one asynchronous communication (e- mail);
ii. Many-to-many asynchronous communication (Usenet and news groups);
iii. One-to-one, one-to-few, and one-to-many synchronous communication (topic groups, construction of an object, role-playing games, chat rooms);
iv. Asynchronous communication (searches, many- to-one, one-to-one, one to-many, source-receiver relations).
Thus, according to them some Internet communication qualifies, as mass communication while some does not it is too slippery to define the audience of this medium. As the World Wide Web (WWW) makes prepackaged content the norm, the Internet increasingly resembles a traditional mass medium (Rosco).
Timothy Roscoe argues that the main focus of the World Wide Web is not the production of content (and, hence, the fulfillment of the Internet’s democratic potential), but rather the presentation of already produced material: “the dominant activity in relation to the Web is not producing one’s own content but surfing for content”. He concludes that if the emphasis is on viewing material, the Internet will become a medium similar to television.
Some scholars, when discussing new media of communication, longer even refer to audiences. They speak of users or consumers. The logic of the marketing model lies in the changing revenue base for media industries. Advertising-supported media revenues have been dropping since the early 1990s while user-supported media such as cable, satellite, online services, and pay-per-view have been steadily growing.
In the Internet-based media landscape, the audience is a revenue stream and a source of consumer information and in that sense Internet is a mass medium.
The Internet is the first medium that allows access to unedited material or information about events to be delivered to an audience with neither the time constraints of broadcast media nor the space limitations of the traditional press. This is often cited as one of the characteristics that set the Internet apart from other media. This feeds the idea of the Internet audience as a participatory, democratic public. For example, it is often claimed that the Internet can foster democratic participation by providing voters with uninterrupted information about candidates and issues.