Is mainstream media losing signficance?

Stack of magazines

The blogosphere has been changing and will be changing very rapidly in the near future. Fewer of us are relying on print media and and watching television. Instead we are online where we are getting our news before it’s even shown on TV and before it’s available in print media and we are reading ezine before that content is available in hardcopy. This is not to mention the fact that we are reading ebooks, watching videos and movies online, streaming music and listening to podcasts.

I’s not only print media that’s fading into the past but magazines, radio and television are likewise being affected by the huge shift demonstrating preference for getting it all online.

This has had a huge impact on advertising as there is no point in paying to advertise in publications where we can see a down turn in readership. Consequently, business of all kinds and sizes, marketers and advertising agencies are focusing on get their content in front of those who are online, and that means that non-monetized blogs are fast becoming “oddities”, as opposed to being status quo as they were just a decade ago.

Richard Becker, is an accredited business communicator and president of Copywrite, Ink., a strategic communication firm with experience on more than 1,000 accounts and this is what he has to say:

Print and television will never go away.

They are simply in a state of transition. That doesn’t mean all of them will survive. On the contrary, most will fail. However, their failure will be opportunity for someone else.

As a whole, I liken it to standing on a gorge. Publishers can see the other side, but they don’t understand how to get there. We’re helping a few get there, but not enough to save the industry.

(1) What about you? Is print media losing it’s significance to?

Personally, given the tendency for content creators to cater to their audiences at the expense of objective journalism, I find that to be the biggest concern. It’s hard to trust new publishers because most are less than objective.

Now, if we actually lost print outright (which I don’t think we will), then it would be a sad day because print is a much quieter pace. Kindles and iPhones are cool for some purposes, but they don’t feel very relaxed.

(2) What do you think the future holds for print media?

I think some traditional publishers will continue to fail outright and will be eventually be replaced by new publishers with a better business model.

It might include print, which is likely to resurface once the failing publishers are sorted out. Those publishers that find a suitable symbiotic (not just duplicated content) mix will be the future for what we think of as print. However, even print publishers are starting to trend mixed media. So, we’ll see.

(3) In the online context, what opportunities do you think the future holds for bloggers and for advertisers?

I think there are different kinds of bloggers. For the majority of bloggers, it really doesn’t matter what print and television do. For bloggers looking for an audience beyond their niche (e.g. if numbers are important), then they will be competing with professional publishers. In some ways, they do already.

For advertisers, it’s hard to say if we are considering the framework to built from exiting models. In that case, the first step is mastering online advertising that plays to the Web. Banner ads don’t really cut it beyond creating a baseline familiarity.

More than likely, companies will continue to build social media sites (blogs, networks, etc.) for consumers and then run ads online, print, television, and mobile advertising to attract their customers. Many already are. In short, the new model is a tiered advertising structure, whereas marketers have to advertise their advertising. Weird, but less intrusive.  

Frédéric Filloux of Monday Note writes:

Coming back to the subject of breaking news, we need to factor in a second (recent) element: the rise of microblogging services such as Twitter, Twitpic, and their clones. These are the quintessential tools for breaking news. As we speak, big news organizations are considering the launch of well-structured Twitter feeds in order to secure their position in the breaking stories field. The idea is: exclusives are more ephemeral than ever.

Therefore, the equation becomes clear-cut: either the Mainstream Media (MSM) recapture breaking news by twittering, or microblogging in some fashion, or the crowd will take care of business. Examples abound. As the internet pundit Clay Shirky recalls it in this TED presentation, the recent (last May) earthquake in China was widely reported by inhabitants using their cell phone for taking pictures, video and sending tweets. “The BBC got their first wind of the Chinese quake from Twitter, says Shirky. Twitter announced the quake several minutes before the US Geological Survey had anything online. The last time China had a quake, it took officials three months to admit it had happened”.

8 thoughts on “Is mainstream media losing signficance?

  1. @Opit
    … Search and results will be flooded with ads and profiling. Social networking should flourish even more

    Yes, I agree with your point and thank you for raising it. Hmmmm … pamphleteering I’m off to check it out. Thanks for commenting. :)

  2. Rather missed in the change of media itself is the move of ‘traditional’ media conglomerates and governments online. That will mean Search and results will be flooded with ads and profiling. Social networking should flourish even more : witness Facebook’s growth…and even Huffington Post with its stable of celebrity writers.
    I found a historical comparison to ‘pamphleterring’ in Wikipedia a possible predictor of future trends.

  3. There will always be newspapers as long as there are people who read books, and there will be books as long as there are folks who love to read. It’s not easy to describe the difference between reading a newspaper and a website, but most folks know it intuitively. Besides, even the best news site can never compete with the folksy image of a family in front of the hearth, with Dad reading the newspaper…Which calls to mind Atticus Finch. I’m sure you have read Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.” You may or may not know (or care) but you can watch the full-length movie version on LikeTelevision.com. I’d have given you a link but you said you hate links, so there.

  4. Newsprint will remain as long as there are people who love books, and there will be books as long as there are people who love to read. It’s not easy to describe the difference between reading a newspaper and a website, but most folks can pinpoint it intuitively. Besides, even the best news site can never replace the folksy image of a family at the fireside after supper: Junior is doing his homework on his (traditional) notebook, Mom is reading a book and Dad is reading the newspaper.

  5. Interesting topic. I agree with the idea that print media and television will never go away but is in a state of transition. This generation and beyond I think , for the most part ; will rely on something that is easy to gather -that means right at their screen without the hassle of a hard copy. I think this applies to other types of media as well. The way I see it, physical media is losing its popularity . Competition is OK because it means that it encourages everyone to come up with quality. Personally? I haven’t picked up a magazine since I hooked up my own Internet service. In the web, information is fast. So they better come up with something better there .

    • The only redeeming virtue of hard-copy publishing, that I can think of, is that the reader is responsible for deciding if and when it is discarded. I have not read a book in years, my MP3 player reads them to me. Newspapers are available on-line with most of the junk omitted and Twitter is a faster newsflash. I recently got a Tweet from Astro-127 (astronaut Mark Mark Polansky) that the launch of the space shuttle STS-127 had been scrubbed (for the 2nd time) before it hit the news, and got a tweet that a bridge had collapsed in Detroit with a warning of possible toxic fumes, before it hit the airwaves. I sit with my husband in the evenings, laptop on my lap, pretending to watch TV. My address book is in my computer. Google fills my reference needs. I don’t even print photos anymore, I put them on Photobucket, my website or email them when they are worth sharing. And I am 66 years old!

    • @celticmusicfan
      Like you I find almost all my needs met online. That being said I do like the weight and feel of books and won’t be giving them up anytime soon.

      I’m expecting that the amount of advertising we are exposed to in cyberspace is going to skyrocket and I’m not happy about that.

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