If you listen to Jimmy Wales, then traditional media is dead. Consumers in 2012 want their media to be more interactive, more social. They want to choose what they consume and when they consume it. The safe, constrained world of the schedule and page layout is just so 20th Century. So long traditional media and thanks for the memories. If I get sentimental, I’ll access them anytime, anywhere I want them.
Yet traditional media endures. TV viewing hours are up 4% YoY in the UK. Print advertising not only has more impact on consumers than online, but its advantage is actually increasing.
Why? Because media is a social experience, something best enjoyed together. It gives us something to discuss, to debate and when things get too much, to escape with. Nearly two-thirds of us discuss TV shows with friends or colleagues at least once a week, nearly half of us will discuss what we’ve read in the news and a third chat about books.
On-demand services are uncompromising, individual experiences. They are like putting your headphones on and not talking to anyone.
I’m not down on social and on-demand. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter et al, I can have all the enjoyment of my water cooler conversation from the comfort of my sofa. Social networks are amazing content extenders in this regard. The fastest growing activity people do while they watch TV is updating social media. And on-demand, multiplatform content means that I’m never bored on the commute or missing an important football match.
But I’d rather be watching on the TV, or reading about it in print.
In short, the online and broadcast formats are symbiotic. Without traditional media as a means for discovery there’d be nothing to extend and nothing to talk about. If traditional is dead, then new media is going down with it.