On Life Support: Are Traditional Forms of Media Really Dying?
Over the last decade, with the mass proliferation of digital marketing technologies and vendors, you’ve probably been pitched the idea that traditional media forms are dying. Or worse, that they’re already dead!
And while this narrative can help close deals by frightening advertisers and agencies, the fact is that many forms of traditional media (i.e. TV and radio, newspapers and magazines, outdoor billboards) are still very much alive and well. Not to mention, they still work to drive sales.
So, then, how did this doomsday notion come to be?
Originally when broadcast, print and outdoor came to be, they were the only game in town. TV had three channels, radio was only AM band, newspapers hadn’t been replaced by the Internet, and billboards hadn’t completely enveloped every major cityscape.
Using TV as the example, in the early days shows like All in the Family pulled in tens of millions of U.S. viewers with each episode. So an advertiser could achieve major consumer response with relatively few commercials.
Whereas today, a show can be considered a hit if it attracts a fraction of yesteryear’s audience, so the same number of commercials obviously can’t achieve the same effect.
This is called audience fragmentation, which basically means the supply of content has grown to the point that the mass audience that used to tune into one show is now many small audiences watching different shows.
What further diminished the TV’s massive reach was the expansion of channels through which we consume it. We started with three channels in the 1950s, then added cable and Satellite in the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s. And now, many consumers are cutting these traditional services for the likes of Hulu, Netflix and other more recent players in the space.
So not only has the supply of content exploded, so have the number of channels available on which to consume it. Which, while great for consumers, has made advertising to them all the more challenging.
But that hardly means TV (or other forms of traditional media) is dead. The content keeps getting better year after year as the content providers compete to attract ad revenue. And this is a win-win for both consumers and advertisers.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by this new media landscape, but a better solution is to build a smarter media plan. Because, while the audience is more fragmented, advertisers can now segment customers and target them with different messages, making their message more personal AND effective.
Finding the ideal media plan all starts by taking a holistic look at your business and building the right strategy across all channels – perhaps INCLUDING traditional media.