The New Communication Technology and For What?

by Herbert S. Dordick

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Predictions of future developments in mass communications, prepared as an address to the Council of the International Broadcast Institute. Communication capacity will expand worldwide by a factor of 5 to 10 over the next few years. In ten years, the United States will increase its message channel demand by seventeenfold, and will double TV channel requirements. Expansion will be both in space--where advancing technology will make short-haul communications practical regardless of geographical location--and on the ground. The evaluative criterion will remain that of low cost per user, with emphasis on mass markets and audiences. This is contrary, however, to an increasing focus on small, specialized audiences and to the quality of service demanded. Since the key to efficient usage of multiple communication services lies in giving the user a seemingly individualized access at his convenience, the major deterrent to wide application of the new technology will be programming costs and techniques. Thus, user-level problems will be of a legal, behavioral, or economic nature rather than technological. 26 pp. Ref.

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