Old media are dead? Long live old media!

Sheila Moorcroft, Research Director

Last spotted
7 April 2011

Adapt or die is at the heart of evolution, innovation and survival. Old media are finding ways to continue to adapt and live – in new ways and new places, with new revenue streams.
What is changing?
Readers of newspapers abound in the UK: many of them are reading free, give-aways which get picked up and circulated round multiple readers on various forms of public transport. The once paid for Evening Standard has doubled its mainly young readers who will not bother with a newspaper website per se.

The pay for content wall around the UK Times has resulted in sharp drop in occasional readers online, but a sharp increase in sales to the regular readers – wine from the wine club, iPad offers.

TV is thriving and capturing thousands of new viewers every year: in emerging markets. Its content and advertising revenue will reflect those changes.

Likewise cinema. It is facing huge competition and challenges of falling revenue in the west – but not elsewhere. Cinema building is booming in Russia. The films that succeed will be measured against new audience demographics.

Why is this important?
Adapt or die holds as true today as it ever did, only more so as competition increases. Innovative products and approaches, new geographical markets, new formats and routes to customers, new technologies are all creating challenges and new opportunities.

Technology has cut a swath through existing media markets and business models, but also opened up new opportunities. TV and cinema are going 3D, enhancing customer experience. 4D is next, bringing sensation and smells to the cinema.

Watching TV or films on tablets and clever screens will soon enable a far more interactive experience – changing and personalising the story as you watch and interact with it. We will almost certainly get a pre-selected set of programmes/ material to fit our viewing profiles, rather than having to rely on the 95 Channels of things you don’t want to watch. But whose content will it be?

Fashion magazines are holding up, but for how long? Shopping as entertainment has been discussed for many years. The tools and technologies are here (See Mobile retailing and AR Marketing Trend Alerts). We may soon see interactive large screens in shops which combine big event type displays such as the Ralph Lauren Polo spectacular, with more personalised offers, displays and experiences in store and online simultaneously, and interactive fun window displays. The 3D web may enable a walk down any shopping street or round any store you choose in the world, coordinated with your friends – and sooner than we think.

Online and in-store will blend; fashion creation may bring a whole new range of content options and interactions. Companies who use advertising need to consider how the old media revolution will challenge their own markets and routes to consumers. How much more they need to invest in interaction and high tech display to engage and captivate, enable people to try before they buy, create the story of the brand. It is not just the old media who are adapting, but viewers, content, location and ways of consuming.


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