The history of media channels–print, radio, television, cable, the Internet and mobile–is filled with the proclamations of entrenched naysayers who predicted their demise, especially when we entered the digital age.
While newspapers, magazines and other print media are struggling, many are finding new and innovative ways to deliver quality content on the Internet and alternative communication channels (ex. the Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader).
Improved communications technologies–IP telephony and the wireless Internet–are improving media content delivery. However, new media communication channels are not replacing others.
Print Media Channels
Media channels, when combined, produced the highest response rates. Mobile, in particular, adds legs to print, broadcast and online media.
Despite the revenue problems newspapers and magazines are now experiencing, the majority are still publishing because their value to local and national audiences is demonstrable. Print publishers are seeking innovative ways to monetize their publications through online delivery (the Internet and electronic reading devices such as the Kindle).
Broadcast Media Channels
Likewise with radio. When radio broadcasting emerged in the 20th century, many people claimed no one would listen. After all, newspapers and magazines delivered real content. Radio was only a diversion and waste of people’s time. Radio would soon die. It didn’t.
Television had its critics as well. In fact, TV still has its critics. But that didn’t stop this powerful broadcasting channel from reaching into millions of homes with news and entertainment. Advertisers still allocate their largest slice of the ad pie to television. Why? Because television’s reach and success are undeniable.
Cable and Satellite Media Channels
Cable and satellite TV may have changed the way people viewed television–including the use of DVR’s–but it hasn’t destroyed over-the-air TV. In fact, cable and satellite companies, as well as television broadcasters, have profited from the success of the medium that spawned their growth. It also forced cable television to compete by offering hundreds of specialized channels that attract smaller, more targeted audiences.
After 15 years, the Internet, although widely accessed, draws less than 20% of advertising expenditures. So 80%+ of all money spent on media is going to print, broadcast and slowly to mobile.
Considering the high usage of the Internet by millions of people, you would think the Internet’s advertising revenues would exceed other media channels. So far, it hasn’t.
Mobile Media Channels
Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, you’d think mobile’s marketing and advertising revenues would be higher. However, mobile marketing and advertising are the new kids on the block. As advertisers better understand the unique characteristics of mobile (24/7 access, personalization, double-digit opt-in rates on direct response campaigns), mobile’s percentage of the ad pie should rapidly grow beyond its current 1-2% of total ad spend.
Mobile’s ubiquity (3.6 billion people worldwide own handsets with many accessing the mobile Internet) is increasing quickly, diverting advertising that would have gone to the Internet and other media channels. Research indicates massive growth in the next two-three years.
Predicting the next new medium is more difficult than forecasting the weather. Will it be “augmented reality,” a buzz phrase that’s flowing from people’s lips as much as “a perfect storm?”
If you believe that one medium is an extension of another (i.e. television is like radio with pictures; cable TV is really television without an antenna; or an Amazon Kindle is like a book without real paper), then the next medium will be a helmet worn around the head that reproduces anything the brain can imagine. You might call it “extended reality”–about as personal as it gets.