Saturday, February 28, 2009

In reference to this article:

I have this to say.

Listening to some of the voices online at the minute, it’d certainly seem that way. Yet history doesn’t bear these opinions out.

TV would kill radio.
DVD’s would kill movie ticket sales.
CD’s would kill vinyl.
The Internet would kill traditional media.
Music downloads would kill traditional retailers.
Maybe I’m looking at the wrong picture, but I still see all of the things that are meant to be dead by now. If anything, many of the doomed mediums are thriving and actually performing better than their replacements.

Obviously, he isn't seeing what I'm seeing here. Way back in the day, people used to sit around their radios and watch them. TV came along, with all its fancy pictures, that sure ended. Sure, people continued to listen to radio, but it was in a very different way than it was previously. The dominant media force became the TV.

As far as music, the only people listening to and enjoying vinyl records are the diehard collectors, who probably even have a few 78s in their collection. For that matter, CDs aren't as prevalent with the youth of today as digital music. In case you haven't noticed, buying online, listening on your iPod or computer, has replaced what was previously.

And last I checked, Tower Records has gone out of business. You can argue that there still are record stores around, but it's all a question of time and priorities. The fact of the matter is that 20 years from now, everyone will be buying their music digitally, and not even think about what they have lost by not having vinyl around or brick-and-mortar record stores, for that matter.

Until recently, DVDs pretty much had put a serious dent in traditional movie ticket sales. Why go to a theatre, when you can sit at home with your friends and watch on your big screen TV, with the surround sound? People are going back now, interestingly, because of the recession, it is posited. But moviegoing has become less of a "we must do this in a theatre" proposition, and more of a "let's get together with our friends at the theatre tonight" kind of deal.

What is succeeding in theatres is what cannot be done at home: big explosion type movies, great special effects, 3D things. Moviegoing has become quite a different thing than it was even ten years ago.

So, really, the only one left in that list is "The Internet will kill traditional media."

Look around, my brother. For my money, newspapers are dead and dying daily. People get their news, their sports scores, their entertainment coverage, their crossword puzzles, their classified ads--everything they went to newspapers for, they now get online.

People who work at traditional media can piss and moan about how they wish this wasn't so, and how it just "couldn't happen." It's already happening. There was a story yesterday about how Hearst wants to "save newspapers" with a Kindle-like device on which people could read their daily paper. Are they kidding? Newsflash to Hearst: I already have such a device. It's called an iPhone.

The only newspaper which seems to really embrace the changes and be adapting to it (the New York Times) is there, in an iPhone app, and I happily read it there.

Furthermore, the other item that traditional media--radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, I'm talking to ALL of you--seems to be blissfully ignoring is that people are CONSUMING information quite differently than they used to. Traditional media is busy arguing whether or not newspapers are dead, while people seek their information through Facebook and Twitter and whatever news aggregator sites they prefer. I like Digg. Radio is arguing about whether or not terrestrial radio is more viable than satellite while we are seeking out music through online stations and our iPods. TV is scratching its head about why viewership seems to be down everywhere, and doesn't seem to notice how popular Netflix is, how many of their TV shows are being watched and sought out online.

It's happening, people. Keep your head in the sand as long as you want to, it's already changing all around you. And for us, the consumer, this is a good thing. Podcasts give us a breath of fresh air, where people speak truth and are free to swear if they want to. Why wouldn't we seek that out instead?

If traditional media wants to save any vestiges of what it's got left, it needs to quit bellyaching about whether or not it's dying, and figure out some way to get those journalists and those radio DJs and those TV anchors onto the web, and find a viable way to pay them to do what they do so well, but do it THERE.

It's not that we don't want it anymore, we just want it in this new format in our time-shifted patterns, and wish to hell they'd quit staring at their vinyl records, and figure it out already.

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