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The Rise and Fall of Mass Communication


William L. Benoit and Andrew C. Billings

Mass communication theories were largely built when we had mass media audiences. The number of television, print, film or other forms of media audiences were largely finite, concentrating people on many of the same core content offerings, whether that be the nightly news or a popular television show. What happens when those audiences splinter? The Rise and Fall of Mass Communication surveys the aftermath of exactly that, noting that very few modern media products have audiences above 1–2% of the population at any one time. Advancing a new media balkanization theory, Benoit and Billings neither lament nor embrace the new media landscape, opting instead to pinpoint how we must consider mass communication theories and applications in an era of ubiquitous choice.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Benoit, William L., author. | Billings, Andrew C., author.Title: The rise and fall of mass communication /William L. Benoit and Andrew C. Billings.Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2020.Series: Mass communication and journalism; vol. 27 | ISSN 2153-2761Includes bibliographical references and index.Identifiers: LCCN 2020006005 (print) | LCCN 2020006006 (ebook)ISBN 978-1-4331-6426-2 (hardback: alk. paper)ISBN 978-1-4331-6422-4 (paperback: alk. paper) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6423-1 (ebook pdf)ISBN 978-1-4331-6424-8 (epub) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6425-5 (mobi)Subjects: LCSH: Mass media—Audiences. | Consumers’ preferences—UnitedStates. | Mass media—United States—History.Classification: LCC P96.A83 B46 2020 (print) | LCC P96.A83 (ebook)DDC 302.23—dc23LC record available at ebook record available at 10.3726/b16805




Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “DeutscheNationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are availableon the Internet at





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