A crucial issue to be considered while navigating international markets is which medium or media to use while communicating with the target audience. These media decisions have to be taken depending not just on the nature of the product/service being offered, but also the media availability that differs from country to country. Media channels can be broadly classified into three buckets:

  1. Print media: local daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, business publications with regional, national or international readers.
  2. Electronic Media: Radio, broadcast television, cable television and the internet (new media).
  3. Other: Direct mailers, outdoors advertising, transport advertising or any other innovative form.
Examples under each media channel

As mentioned above these mediums are available differently in different countries. Adding to this, media consumption patterns also vary from country to country. For example, television is the number one medium in both the United States and Japan. By contrast, newspapers are the leading medium in Germany with television ranking only second. Hence in Germany, outlays for newspaper advertising surpass those for television by a ratio of two to one. Worldwide, radio continues to be a less important advertising medium than print and television. However, in countries where advertising budgets are limited, the radio’s enormous reach can provide a cost-effective means of communicating with a large consumer market. Also, the radio can be effective in countries where literacy rates are low.

Sometimes even when media availability is high, usage of that media as an advertising vehicle might be very limited due to regional regulations or age restrictions. As discussed in our previous posts, cultural considerations also often affect communication and the presentation of the advertising message. For example, let’s compare the content of magazine advertisements in the United States with those in the Arab world:

  • People are depicted less often in Arabic magazine ads.
  • U.S. ads tend to have more information content; by contrast, brevity is considered a virtue in the Arab world.
  • U.S. ads contain more price information and are more likely to include comparative appeals than Arabic ads

We also need to remember that the world we exist in is becoming more and more digital with each passing minute. This helps in crossing borders easily and also shortens the gap between the target audience, especially when it is a technology-based product/service since a majority of the target audience will be urbanised.

Bottom line is that today, we exist in a highly saturated world filled with multiple communication media options. Hence it becomes very important for companies to observe several factors like media availability, media consumption trends, nature of the product/service, cultural and regional regulations before making informing Global Media Decisions.

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