The origins of gay media, as with much of gay community culture, are to be found in informal networking activities, often building over a number of years, to an extent where communications media that began as little more than photocopied newsletters gradually evolved to reach increasing numbers of people. Earlier forms of gay media almost always commenced by way of printed media.
There is of course no single evolution process that is common to all gay media products, in all countries--which may be created decades apart--however analysis of many current media products reveals an often similar evolutionary history behind some of today's most prominent gay media products. As the number of readers increased, amateur gay media products were able to increase the number of copies being created, moving from amateur to professional printing methods, and then slowly begin to target commercial advertisers, often involving a process where the gay media product is seen to metamorphose from a purely community non-profit initiative to a commercial initiative, seeking for-profit advertising as part of its business model.
In this way the evolving of a viable gay media industry around the world has both led to, and been facilitated by, the parallel development of a gay market in many countries.
There exists today in most markets around the world at least some media products that predominantly target a gay audience. The advent of the internet has seen a technically global reach for modern gay media. Whereas traditionally focused only on print products, gay media today--in line with media generally--sees a shift of emphasis away from print products towards newer media forms delivered via online means or by way of TV distribution systems. Radio--both traditional broadcast and internet radio--has also become increasingly common.