Traditional Media Is Not Dead

Traditional Media Is Not Dead

We often hear about the growth of digital media and the increased adoption of new media devices. With the press that digital media receives, it is easy to think that traditional media is becoming obsolete, especially among younger adults. It is true that TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers are not the dominant media that they once were. But they are not dead. They still play a significant role in consumers’ lives.

A Media Dynamics, Inc. study on America’s Media Usage & Ad Exposure found that traditional media (TV, Radio, Magazines, and Newspapers) occupy 78% of the daily per capita hours of media usage for the US adult population in 2014. TV has the largest share of time spent with media, 5.25 hours per day, or 53% of total media time. Internet usage, including streaming TV and radio and digital editions of magazines and newspapers, accounts for 2.19 hours per day, or 22% of total media time.

The Nielsen cross-platform study for Q2 2014 confirmed that even younger adults, age 18-34, spend much more time with TV than digital video. According to the study, adults 18-34 spent an average of 4 hours and 17 minutes per day with TV, compared to 35 minutes with digital video.

About 244 million Americans age 12+, or 91.4% of that population, listen to the radio each week. Comparatively, the weekly online radio audience is 94 million, or about 36%, of Americans age 12+. Traditional radio listening is still strong among young listeners.  89.5% of all persons 12-24 listen to the radio each week, and they spend 10 hours and 11 minutes per week doing so.

Print media have struggled more than broadcast media in the digital age. We’ve seen magazines and newspapers close after decades of success.  According to GfK MRI’s Spring 2014 survey, only 54.4% of adults 18+ read any newspaper in a 28-day period. Advertising dollars have declined along with the readership. US newspapers saw a $40 billion drop in revenue from 2000 to 2013.

Although print subscriptions have dwindled, we know that there is still desire for the editorial content.  The New York Times’ paid digital subscriptions now outnumber its Monday-Friday print subscriptions by 43%.[1]  The Magazine Publishers’ Association recently released a new industry measurement called Magazine Media 360, which measures consumers’ exposure to magazine content across print and digital editions, websites, and video. The September 2014 Media 360 Report indicates that print and digital magazines account for 67% of the total gross magazine audience.  An additional 33% (or about 500 million adults) access magazine content via mobile, web and video.

91% of all adults, and 96% of adults under 25, read magazines. Social media enhances the magazine experience, especially with younger readers. The MPA performed a benchmark social media studyamong adults 18-34 who read magazines and use social media. They found that 56% of Twitter users follow a magazine editor or columnist on Twitter. 56% have followed a magazine on Pinterest or have re-pinned content from a magazine. 52% ‘like’ a magazine on Facebook and 47% have posted magazine articles to Facebook. These numbers are even higher for avid magazine readers.

No one can deny that digital media is growing, and it will continue to grow. However, traditional media should not be cast aside just yet. Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses. Demographics and psychographics play a major role in determining the best media mix for a given product or service. One thing is for sure – as our media world becomes further fragmented, it is more important than ever to have multiple touch points in a campaign. Integrating media mixes across digital and traditional vehicles is essential to reaching today’s consumer.

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