The mass media play a major role in enhancing globalization, facilitating culture exchange and multiple flows of information and image between countries through international news broadcasts, television programming, new technologies, film and music. International flows of information have been largely assisted by the development of global capitalism, new technologies and the increasing commercialisation of global television, which has occurred as a consequence of the deregulation policies adopted by various countries in Europe and the US in order to permit the proliferation of cable and satellite channels.
Computerized technology, satellite TV and the Internet have also contributed to the reduction of the cost of communications, stimulating home-made productions and gradually widening the access of many to these technologies. The impact of technologies on everyday life has shown how the Internet has revolutionized international information exchange due to its ability in moving data across borders. The Internet has become well suited for the expanding individualism of contemporary reality, with consumers using the web to create their own content and distribute it to global audiences. The Internet is also seen as strengthening the cultural identities of diasporic peoples, as well as assisting in social networking and in forging ties with like-minded individuals, social groups and various communities across the globe.
In contrast to other communication media, the Internet has been the fastest-growing sector of the media. The expansion of the Internet has been enormous: there were 20 million users in 1995 and 400 million by the year 2000. By 2006, the Internet was considered a global medium, jumping from reaching 3% of the world’s population to more than 15%, mostly in the developed countries, with North America having a penetration rate of 30% and Europe and the Asia-Pacific with 30% as well.
Media corporations have been heavily investing in the convergence between the Internet and television and in communication strategies that operate across platforms. American Online and Time Warner for instance merged in 2000 to create an Internet-based media giant which brought together both the old and new media, including film, television, radio, publishing and computing. Giant web portals have also emerged and are contributing to concentrate information, access and profits, with Google “revolutionizing” the way information is processed and used across the world.