The seven mass media, or often used as "seventh mass media channel", to draw attention to the latest, mobile phones as a mass media, are a new concept and taxonomy to distinguish the major mass media channels and highlight their relative merits and benefits. The seven mass media categorization has emerged soon after mobile phones were recognized as a new and unique mass media channel. The strongest proponents of the seven mass media taxonomy tend to be companies closely involved in mobile telephony.
1 - Print (books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, etc) from the late 1400s
2 - Recordings (records, tapes, cassettes, cartridges, CD's, DVD's) from the late 1800s
3 - Cinema from about 1900
4 - Radio from about 1910
5 - Television from about 1950
6 - Internet from about 1990
7 - Mobile phones from about 2000
Each mass media has its own content types, its own creative artists and technicians, and its own business model. The sixth and seventh media, internet and mobile, are often called collectively as digital media; and the fourth and fifth, radio and TV, as broadcast media.
Many may claim that the internet offers some of the benefits (personal, payment, audience accuracy and social context). The internet is only semi-personal such as shared computers at home and the office, and the ability for example of employers to read content consumed by employees. The internet in its native form cannot handle money or payments, and requires cumbersome work-arounds such as Paypal accounts and using credit cards. On mobile payments cna be enabled on the click, such as with downloading ringing tones.
The internet promised full accuracy of users, but with firewalls, deleting cookies and false web identities, there is no accuracy of audience on the internet. On modern mobile networks every user is uniquely known and even if they attempt to hide behind "pre-paid" (pay-as-you-go) accounts under a "Mickey Mouse" type of name, the true identity of that given phone and its phone number, and any media consumed on it, is fully known and accurately tracked on the network. The same allows the capture of social context, not possible across internet services, only possible within a given internet service like Amazon etc. On mobile networks, if the operator/carrier decides to track it, all social context information can be captured.
The first four benefits were identified by telecoms and tech author Tomi T Ahonen, the fifth was by telecoms and web author Tony Fish of AMF Ventures. The sixth and seventh have been identified by the marketing and tech author Alan Moore of SMLXL together with Social Analytics firm Xtract.
Ringtones are also popular for mobile phone devices, and are distributed primarily through third-party companies for usage in conjunction with phone network providers.
As a result, various standards to ease the gap between the World Wide Web and the mobile devices which access it are, or have been, developed and pushed by corporate bodies.
The first document to discuss Mobile as the 7th of the Mass Media was Tomi Ahonen's "Thought Piece" on the subject in 2006. The first White Paper to discuss the topic was SMLXL's White Paper on the Seventh Mass Media authored by Alan Moore in 2007. The first books to include the seven mass media taxonomy were Digital Korea by Ahonen & O'Reilly in 2007, Mobile Advertising by Sharma, Herzog and Melfi in 2008, and the Tanla Mobile Marketing Guide 2008 (edited by Helen Keegan). The first book to focus on the seventh media concept, is Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media by Tomi Ahonen in 2008. The first university course devoted to the topic is scheduled at Oxford University in December 2008.