Traditional media’s Little Bighorn?

posted by Brendan Hodgson

From Canadian Journalist comes some interesting tidbits on the current health, and state of mind, of the traditional media:

According to Dick Parsons, Time Warner’s chief executive, during a panel session at the 56th annual National Cable & Telecommunications Association conference: “The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation.” (click here for the full article)

Rowr! Feisty indeed.

And perhaps there’s good reason to feel a tad punchy – not all news appears bad:

At the World Association of Newspaper’s recent Capital Markets Day in London, for example, a glowing report was released indicating that global newspaper circulation had risen by 2 percent while the number of new paid-for daily titles had risen to 11,000 for the first time ever.

Other highlights: 

  • Free daily newspaper circulation more than doubled over five years, to 40.8 million copies a day.
  • More than 1.4 billion people now read a newspaper daily.
  • Print is the biggest advertising medium in the world, with a 42 percent share. Newspapers alone are the second largest, with 29.4 percent of global advertising spend. “Hidden in those figures is the fact that newspapers — as the second largest advertising medium to TV — actually represent more than the combined advertising value of radio, cinema, magazines and the internet,” Mr O’Reilly said.
  • Advertising revenues rose 4 percent in 12 months and 15.6 percent over the past five years.
  • In the last 24 months, more new, innovative newspaper products have been launched than over the prior 30 years.

More interesting in my mind, however, are some of the assumptions that emerge from the data:

  • Of the established media, newspapers are far better at managing the economic cycle than their competitors.
  • Newspapers represent the only true mass media market channel – being essentially “fragmentation-proof”.
  • Newspapers are competing far more effectively against the onslaught of digital media than broadcast.
  • Broadband penetration is not adversely impacting underlying volumes of advertising.

Compelling stuff (even if one refrains from considering such issues as geography, internet penetration, and other factors that may skew this data) and, regardless of the self-congratulatory tone, a potent indicator that media is still a powerful force in the PR space.

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