What is happening to traditional media?
Social media and the internet in general have done considerable damage to traditional media. Now, they’ve got a new sidekick. Let the real beating begin. The new sidekick, of course, is the global recession.
The current recession has unleashed a viscous beast of prey to sic the print, radio, and TV industries. How, you ask? Well, all of these media rely heavily upon advertisers. Without advertisers, they have little or no source of revenue.
Much the same way traditional media rely upon advertisers, advertisers rely on consumers. If companies see, or even simply fear a decline in consumerism, the first thing they tend to do is pull advertising.
Recession equals less consumerism, less consumerism equals less advertising, and less advertising equals death to your favorite daily.
Traditional media haven’t exactly helped themselves here either. They do need to cover the news, this is true, but the excessive coverage that they have given to the recession has only scared consumers off. In turn scaring advertisers away.
Don’t say goodbye just yet, though
Many people, myself included, still enjoy picking up the paper, listening to the radio, and watching the news on TV. For example, according to the Newspaper Audience Databank (NADBank), only 4% of Canadians get their news strictly online. While I will agree that social media is slowly replacing traditional media in many ways, I don’t think we will ever see print, radio and TV news vanished entirely.
There is a large majority of people that see traditional media as more credible sources of information. These same people are a lot less likely to put that level of trust in John Smith’s blog, or an underground news cast, for example. This is major factor in keeping traditional media alive.
It would appear, however, as though more and more people are going to online sources that are hosted by major traditional news corporations. Sources that they deem trustworthy because they come from the same people that produce TV newscasts, or run a chain of major-city and national newspapers.
Regardless, there will always be some demand for traditional media, even if it continues to shrink. People will want to listen to the newscast while they drive, read the paper while they’re on the bus, and relax on the couch and watch the six o’clock news, and that isn’t due to change any time soon.
So why do I care?
As a PR practitioner, it is my job to stay current on the trends of media. Since the media landscape has a direct impact on how I do my job, I really have no choice. I personally don’t want to see traditional media go, so while I stay on top of what’s going on in the wacky world of social media, I am still keeping a close eye on my old friends, print, radio, and TV.
So long as these traditional media stick around, the people that hire us as PR practitioners are going to want to get that 30 second spot on the radio, or that front page article in the daily.
I do not claim to be an economist, an advertising specialist, or even an expert on traditional media for that matter. I simply write based on my observations.