The physicality of traditional media is under pressure.
Let’s look at how new media is affecting newspaper and television – industries that have been around for hundreds of years.
The ‘Good Old Days’
How many households still have magazine or newspaper subscriptions? How many of us rely on the radio for news updates and weather? Traditional advertising is tangible – we still recognize the human touch and it seems to give us a sense of social coherence.
In a local newspaper, for instance, we recognize the building that burnt down or the school that achieved success. Local TV channels provide a sense of belonging in our community because the content it provides is relatable.
We notice changing billboards and curse the junk mail in our boxes. It is said that traditional ways to attract customers are becoming slow and are less far-reaching than the digital platform. But age and income demographics play a vital role in how advertising is consumed.
The Sunday Papers
The Pew Research Centre reports on economic indicators within the U.S. media industry. This provides clarity on how Americans choose to consume information and therefore how businesses can attract customers. Among many sectors of research, their analysis of the newspaper industry relies on circulation data from the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM).
Data on digital newspaper readership can be complicated. Newspaper companies can report on digital subscribers but can’t predict how many subscribers actually read the content each day. And then there was a pandemic. In 2020, AAM data revealed a huge increase in digital subscriptions for the top newspaper companies including The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Most noteworthy, however, is the fact that the latest statistics have shown that 24.3 million weekday newspapers and 25.8 million Sunday newspapers (both digital and print) were circulated in 2020, a 6% decline from 2019. These numbers are in stark contrast to the data from the early ’90s which show the circulation of physical newsprint to be at about 60 million.
What’s In TV?
In the early 1950s, Nielsen Media Research provided randomly selected households with an ‘Audimeter’ to record their viewing choices. In the ’70s and ‘80s, a recording device allowed viewership data to be transferred through telephone lines. More recently, TV viewership data is collected from on-demand TV or streaming TV like Netflix. The way we have received content on our TV screens has changed from analog to digital and, instead of being limited to local channels, this has allowed the consumer to choose. Local television relies heavily on income generated by advertising, but on-demand TV is changing how we watch.
Netflix began in 1997, about 3 years after the first global and Pakistan casino sites. It was a simple website that rented DVDs online. Today it is an industry leader with 167 million subscribers around the world.
It owes its success to the delivery of content that its viewers want without the advertising in between. As a result, cable and satellite channels are losing subscribers annually.
It is unlikely that traditional media is in immediate danger of extinction. If there is still a generation who knew life before Instagram, Spotify and Amazon, there will be a need for hard copy. Provided there is still a gap between first-world technology and third-world needs, traditional media will have a place.