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In this study, an attempt was made to evaluate the problems and prospects of mass media advertising in Nigeria. We talk of the media mix and the multi-media approach to public relations and advertising, but we seem to be uncertain which particular medium is more success-oriented in carrying out advertising functions ---
radio and television on the one side and newspapers, magazines and books, on the other.
This researcher put forward four hypotheses:
Television is better in carrying quality advertisements than the other media.
Television is not better in carrying quality advertisements than the other media.
Mass media advertising contributes to national development.
The mass media of communication are divided into two--print and electronic. According to Okunna (1999:66), the electronic media of radio and television are distinct from other electronic media because they make use of transmission technology through which their signals are scattered far and wide. Hence, of all the electronic media of communication only radio and television are referred to as broadcast media.
Okunna (1999:66) goes further to say that this technology involves the use of a transmitter which generates waves (electromagnetic impulses) that carry voice transmissions or messages which make up radio and television programmes. Radio waves travel through the air, carrying the programmes to homes and other locations where they are received through radio and television sets. There are no wires connecting the transmitter to these receiving sets, hence communication through the broadcast media is also known as wireless communication or wireless transmission (see appendix II of this work).
Radio and television carry different types of messages called programmes. One of such messages is advertising. Advertising is defined by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) as communication in the media paid for by an identifiable sponsor and directed “at a target audience with the aim of imparting information about a product, service, idea or cause.”
The thrust of this research is to find out whether the broadcast media of radio and television are more efficient media of advertising than other media of communication – print and electronic.
Books, newspapers and magazines are part of the print media while the other media like ultra-wave billboards, recordings, films, cinema, slides and telephones belong in the electronic media.
This researcher set out to investigate,1 in an empirical way, whether the broadcast media are the best media or tools to carry advertising in Nigeria, knowing the potentials, limitations and characteristics of both print and electronic media of communication.
Whereas the print media are known for their possession of certain characteristics such as permanence and special mental demand, the broadcast media are known to possess characteristics such as transience, limited airtime and limited mental demand.
When we write for the print media, we are writing information that will be taken in through the eye. On the other hand, information written for the broadcast media is taken in primarily through the ear.
This researcher set out to find out how far these basic differences between the print media and the electronic media would influence consumer behavior.
1.2 THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Eminent scholars in the field of Mass communication like Festinger (1957), Schramm (1976), Rosengren (1985), Tan and Tan (1986) McQuail (1987:4), Bittner (1989:376) and Okunna (1999:176) have carried out mass media effects studies which have come out with revelations that give us an insight into what effects mass media messages could have on the audience. However, studies of effects of mass media advertising on the audience are quite different from studies of which media are best to be used for advertising campaigns.
In Nigeria, so many media of communication are involved in the competitive bid to advertise products, goods and services. Little is known as to which of them is most appropriate and more rewarding to be used as a medium or media of advertising. It is necessary to find out the most suitable medium or media of advertising so as to know which of them is most likely to make a more lasting impact on the mass media audience.
Advertisement rates are exorbitant and the financial means with which to advertise goods, products and services is not easy to come by. If the identifiable sponsors of advertisement must pay heavily for the advertised commodities, is it not wise then that they choose the most efficient media or tool to do the job of advertising?
A British historian and essayist, Thomas B. Macaulay, once said, “Advertising is to business what steam is to industry----the sole propelling force. Nothing except the mint can make money without advertising.”
Many scholars and academics, including professionals and proprietors in the field of broadcasting, share Macaulay’s point of view. De Fleur and Dennis (1994:318),
for instance, agree that “almost without exception, Macaulay’s principle holds true for businesses today, and is especially true for the mass media.”
Macaulay’s view is generally true for advertising, but there is still a need to determine which of the media is best for carrying advertising messages. This is particularly necessary in view of the distinctions in the characteristics of the different media--print and broadcast.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
As stated earlier, print media messages are in a permanent form and so the reader of these messages has the privilege of visiting and revisiting the message as often as he likes. If he forgets a message or a point in a message, he could still get a copy of the message. In the broadcast media, once a message is given, within a few seconds, the audience forgets it. If the broadcast media have reach and glamour, do these attributes place them at an advantage over the print media?
Constant power cuts in Nigeria is a veritable source of worry and frustration to many a consumer of broadcast media messages. Once there is electric power outage, media consumers are forced to look for alternative power sources.
The audience has no such worry if he is a print media consumer. Messages are waiting for him in a permanent, printed form whether there is power cut or not. In the case of broadcast media, messages can never wait. As the media audiences look for alternative power sources, the messages keep going and very soon get to the end. Which of the mass media of communication then is the best to be used as a tool for advertising in Nigeria? Where do the media audience get more benefits from advertising? From which medium or media?
It was the aim of this researcher to delve into this area of study with the hope of coming out with empirical findings.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this research are as outlined below:
1. To find out the various reasons given by the mass media audience as to which medium is better in carrying quality advert messages than the others.
2. To determine the extent to which mass media advertising contributes to national development.
3. To determine whether broadcast advert messages have more credibility than the print media advert messages.
4. To find out whether the influence of advertising on the audience depends on the medium carrying it.
5. To offer useful suggestions and recommendations in this area of study.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant in that it aims to find out the problems and prospects of mass media advertising in Nigeria and the suitability of various mass media of communication for advertising. If the broadcast media, for instance, are preferred by the audience, what are the likely reasons for the preference?
This research will enable the researcher to break a new ground in a relatively new field of study in mass communication. It is envisaged that the knowledge acquired in the course of this study will help in no small measure in encouraging other researchers who may be interested in replicating this study.
Managers of the print and electronic media, advertisers and advertising agencies, governments as well as private individuals stand to gain from this study.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For the purpose of this study, answers were sought to the following questions:
1. Are the broadcast media of communication better tools for advertising than the other media of communication or are the latter better than the broadcast media?
2. Which of the media of mass communication has more credibility than others?
3. Does advertising influence the media audience more when carried by the broadcast media than it does when carried by the print media?
4. Which medium is preferred more for the purpose of advertising?
For the purpose of this project, this researcher put forward four hypotheses:
HA: Television is better in carrying quality adverts/commercials than other media.
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