Traditional Media – reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.

While that observation may read as more cliché than insight, it also serves as one of the key takeaways from Zenith Media’s Media Consumption Forecasts. The recently released forecast offers an abundance of valuable figures but much to our surprise – and delight – the biggest standout was that “traditional media still accounts for more than two thirds of consumption”.

Whether operating in iGaming, retail, tourism, or any other business sector, it’s important for firms to understand what exactly the forecast defines as “traditional media”. Zenith Media identifies printed newspapers, magazines, broadcast television and radio, cinema and outdoor advertising as eligible forms.

According to the Zenith Media report, those traditional channels are projected to account for 69% of global media consumption in 2017. The report goes on to state that the average amount of engagement time with traditional media has dropped 13% since 2010, going from 364 minutes to 316 minutes a day. And, despite our enthusiasm with traditional media’s sustained vitality, we are still compelled to ask the question: where did those 48 lost minutes go?

Dwindling Ad Revenue
Could broadcast television be the culprit? That particular medium – and its seemingly endless output of original content – actually remains quite reliable and is projected to account for nearly 54% of traditional media engagement in 2017. Cable news networks have also benefitted from a renewed interest in US politics, a fact that may be more closely linked to partisan division than an investment in political insights.

Print media, on the other hand, is still far removed from its glory days when prominent newspaper publishers like Arthur O. Sulzberger, who held the role at the New York Times for close to 30 years, dictated the dissemination of news. According to figures from the Newspaper Association of America, advertising revenue from print dropped from a peak of $67B in 2000 to approximately $20B in 2015.

Tempting as it may be to journey down the current of gloomy projections, we’ll instead focus our attention on some slightly more optimistic findings.

A Trusted Source
A survey released earlier this month by the Ogilvy Media Influence Team examined the state of global media by gathering the opinions and viewpoints of 250 news media professionals from across the globe. While the survey did indicate an ever-growing influence of digital media – particularly Facebook’s role as a news aggregator – it also touted print as the media platform most successful at adapting to an increasingly digital world.

Furthermore, 32% of respondents think that traditional media services are still the primary gatekeepers for today’s news while 40% see earned media as the most effective tool in the communication mix for building reputation and generating influence. These and other figures from the report are naturally open to interpretation but they do indicate that active professionals still view traditional media as a voice of influence.

One case in point is the weekly edition of the Economist, which as a recent article in The Guardian pointed out, has seen an increase in circulation revenues in spite of those plummeting advertising revenues. Through diversification and the leveraging of digital tools available to them, the long-standing publication has managed to survive in a changing world.

People Still Matter
Reading through the glut of reports, studies and surveys, one thing becomes crystal clear – traditional media will soon be a term for the history books. With a greater number of traditional print publications, television networks, radio stations, and even outdoor advertising, evolving in terms of how they incorporate digital into their marketing strategy, we will soon revert to simply saying “media” – beautiful, simple and all-encompassing.

While our instinct is to focus on the medium, it’s also important to remember that smart people with big ideas are tirelessly working to shape the future of engagement. So even when the term “traditional media” ceases to be relevant, we can rest assured that the people responsible for its evolution will not.


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