Death of the Old Media…uh-oh. Not So Fast.
Almost on a daily basis we are fed by the trades, newspapers, TV reports and who knows how many media related blogs, that the death of traditional media is just around the corner. Just as the Buggles claimed “TV Killed the Radio Star”, now we are warned that the Internet and mobile phones will once again put an end to radio and television. That is just about as silly as this video.
The latest national research study from The Pew Research Center suggests that people still rely heavily on TV and radio, and to a lesser extent newspapers, as their daily source of news information. TV didn’t kill the Radio Star, and the Internet isn’t killing anything.
Just the Facts: Are people still seeking out news information?
The Pew Study asked a random sample of respondents 18 years or older to “think about the time you spent with the news yesterday”. They then were asked to estimate how much time they spent watching TV news, listening to radio news, reading a newspaper, or getting news online. The great thing about this study is that they have been asking these same questions since 1994! Wow that is cool.
They found that in 1994 Americans spent approximately 74 minutes a day seeking out news. In 2010 the number remains fairly constant at 70 minutes. Actually that is a number that has been consistently trending up since 1996. People are spending more time seeking out and finding news information.
Has the Internet replaced TV and Radio?
Check out the very interesting data below. Even though people are now spending approximately 13 minutes a day seeking out news on the Internet, the time spent listening to news information on the radio has decreased by only 2 minutes. TV has experienced a loss of 6 minutes, and newspapers see a decrease of 9 minutes.
|Time Spent with the News “Yesterday”|
|Average minutes spent…||1994||1996||1998||2000||2002||2004||2006||2008||2010|
|Watching TV news||38||31||31||28||28||32||30||30||32|
|Listening to news on radio||17||16||16||14||16||17||16||14||15|
|Reading a newspaper*||19||19||18||17||15||17||15||11||10|
|Getting news online**||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||6||8||11||13|
What is Going On Here?
A couple of things. The Director of the Pew Research Center Tom Rosenstiel helps pull some data together at the conclusion of the report with a commentary on the findings. He very accurately points out that the new media isn’t replacing the old media. Instead people are using the new media to supplement and enhance the experiences they have with television and radio and newspapers.
This is partially due to the expanded opportunities for people to access the old media in new and different ways via websites, blogs, and mobile phone applications. Consumers understand that each media platform has its own unique characteristics and creates a certain media experience.
TV news is great for big screen HDTV action and passive consumption. Radio is great for in-car news reports and up to the minute traffic information. And print can be relied upon for in-depth coverage and editorial content. But there is one very important thing to note. TV and radio have seen only a modest decrease in audience. This in not the case for newspapers. Here is why.
In today’s media environment, there are two must have attributes. You have to be easily accessible, and you have to be digestible. Accessible means the technology should be easy to get to. TV and radio…FREE and already there. Newspapers…prices going up. TV and radio… short and digestible news content. Easy to get, easy to digest, and easy to understand. Not so with print.
And that is why the forefathers of the Internet are used, relied upon, and will continue to flourish in the years ahead. Radio didn’t replace the newspapers, TV didn’t replace the radio, and the Internet isn’t going to replace either TV or radio. All media provide a unique user experience. And today it is more about expanding the user’s media experience, not limiting it. Thank you Mr. Pew for straightening that out.