Traditional media refers to all means of communication that existed before the advent of the internet. This includes newspapers and magazines, radio, television… all the “old people” stuff. With the proliferation of digital devices, people are beginning to use old media less. But that does that mean they’re now obsolete? Odunayo and Muyiwa share their opposing views. 

Traditional Media killed Traditional Media –  Odunayo

The NNC reported that by mid-2013, Nigeria had over 32 million mobile internet subscribers. From the Terragon Insight’s report on the State of Digital Media in Nigeria, news and information account for 78% of an average Nigerian’s use of the internet.

When is the last time you wanted to get the news and you stopped to buy the paper? When was the last time you saw or heard a commercial for a product or service that didn’t have a corresponding website? Even gossip has even gone digital-LindaIkeji.

With the rise of social media came the beginnings of the death of traditional media.  With the click of a button, news and information can be posted on the internet and the world can become aware of this recent development immediately-#BringBackOurGirls. Even print newspapers have now taken their news online – Punch, Vanguard etc. Print media, in its traditional and pure form has almost ceased to exist. Yes. Print has gone online. The television is getting overtaken by video social media, Vine, Instagram. If it’s not trending on twitter, millenials probably don’t know about it.

Media is progressing so fast and every day brings new and emerging technologies for brands to spread their message, moving further and further away from the traditional means. In order to find true success in this “new digital media,” media outlets have to see the big picture, and that big picture is no longer in black & white. I have followed an entire football match via my twitter timeline, and then gone on to watch the highlights on Youtube.  Essentially, the internet, smartphones and computers are making traditional reporting obsolete.

Some people would argue that Newspapers are more thorough, accessible, and less image-heavy than the internet or the television. But, the television is more likely to show images with the yammering of constant commentary, offset by the internet which is basically the presence of images without that annoying commentary – hello, twitter mute feature-, so the images speak their own truth. You know what it means because you use the internet.

Digital media rewired consumer behaviour. Consumers expect to be in control of what messages and content comes into their lives. They reward media and brands who know this.  Traditional media marketed and sold itself to death! You people with PVR decoders, know what I mean! Fast-forwarding past the ads!

Traditional media is nowhere near dying – Muyiwa

Let us pretend global smartphone phone penetration figures are a non-factor. Let’s also pretend that broadband penetration is not less than 50% globally and 20% in Africa. So yeah, maybe consumption of digital news in on a constant rise. But does that mean traditional media is dead? I don’t think so.

Let’s take news for example, probably the most consumed media in the world. We can all agree Twitter leads the news. I admittedly consume a lot of my daily news on Twitter. However, the immediacy of Twitter, and by extension the internet,  has sprung up 2 serious issues as regards quality of news:

First is the  authenticity. More often than not, news sources will post updates without verifying. Second is the increasingly thin line between what makes for actual news and sheer entertainment, all in a bid to cater to consumers’ short attention spans.

Traditional media barely has such challenges. This is why we will often tune in to the News at 10 or read yesterday’s news on tomorrow’s newspapers, when we get the chance. With the rising popularity of copy-and-paste, there aren’t many online-first news outlets that can fill the void internet news has created in us. And seriously, let’s get real, there are only about 2 million Twitter users out of 170 million people in Nigeria, 50% of which I doubt are active. So the next time you get the breaking news on Twitter before everyone else, just remember you are among the “elite class” of the internet.

It is true that most traditional media houses now have an online presence. The newspapers particularly publish big news on their online platforms before they even go on print. It is also true that you can live-stream most TV and radio stations on your PC or mobile phone. But then again, the people who can access these online news are in the minority. The majority are still more likely to hear the news on radio or see it on tomorrow’s papers. It is easy to forget that more than 50% of the world is still not connected to the internet. In Africa, about 80% of people are without an internet connection. These figures cannot be ignored.

Traditional media is not going anywhere any time soon. Maybe 5 years into the future – where it is forecasted that all phones will be smartphones – and as internet costs continue to drop, maybe then traditional media will set off on its road to demise. But until then no, traditional media is not dead. And it’s nowhere near dying. At least not on a global scale

Photo Credit: Melissa Segal via Compfight cc

Odunayo Eweniyi Author

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