What seems to have been the chief purpose of mass media during the 1950s?
While the growth of media outlets in the form of television, newspapers, and magazines diversified the media market, the chief purpose seems to have been to drive consumer demand for goods. The emergence of mediums like television was driven by consumer demand. The need for consumers to "get things" was something that the media ensured was always delivered. As ratings became critical for networks and sponsors, the growth of media was always "brought to you by" a specific company or industry.
The media was almost a carrying device for product placement and specific brand endorsement. The chief purpose of mass media was a gold mine for commercial powers. They were able to understand the ratings system to ensure that their products were always visible and present in the minds of the consumer on shows that the consumer watched. Studies of specific demographics and target audiences ensured that corporate sponsorship delivered. This drove demand on the part of the consumer. The emergence of mass media practices widened the market and enabled corporations to become financially profitable through the use of media. While there was great diversity in the media, the message that was being conveyed and its primary purpose was to be drive home products and goods which could be purchased with the ravenous appetite of the 1950s consumer.