(A LinkedIn Question) Video Killed The Radio Star… But Will It Save Print Media?

Posted on October 8, 2009


The true power of social media which of course includes social networking is the medium’s ability to disseminate and stimulate dialogue across a vast network both quickly and conveniently.

Having just completed a series of posts and corresponding interviews with individuals such as Blog Talk Radio’s Director of Programming Philip Recchia and bestselling author Shel Israel that touched on a number of emerging issues within the world of traditional media, the question regarding video’s impact on print media piqued my curiosity.

The fact that recent developments in the television world in which traditional broadcast models, especially at the local or regional level where stations are closing with increasing frequency, indicate that TV may not be far behind print media’s collapse into extinction was particularly interesting. Especially from the standpoint of attempting to succor traditional models through the injection of new media wizardry. As indicated in my response to the LinkedIn member’s question, examples such as the New York Times’ on-line edition losing money at a comparable rate to its traditional print version parent clearly illustrates that you cannot pour new wine into old wine skins.

Along the lines of the McLuhan quote that the “medium is the message,” in the case of traditional mediums attempting to leverage emerging medium technology to somehow extend their shelf life is reflective of a “traditional medium models are the problem.” axiom.

That said the following is my “LinkedIn” response to the question:

Here is the LINK to one in a series of articles I wrote titled “Death of Print Newspapers in in 5 Years” in which media industry veteran J. William Grimes predicted that daily newspapers would no longer be in existence within 5 years.

While I will leave it to you to read the article and listen the the corresponding radio broadcasts of two interviews I had conducted, the following highlights the basis upon which Grimes made this prediction:

Studies show that print newspapers’ share of the $37 billion spent on advertising was 15% – down from 25% a decade earlier, Grimes pointed out that only 5% of our collective time is spent reading newspapers. This he concluded, “is not a sustainable model.”

At the current rate, the share of the total advertising stake will likely decrease to 10%, however flagship newspapers such as the New York Times are just breaking even now, or are already losing money.

Even with a web presence, electronic versions of the newspapers are not faring much better as many are losing money.

Looking beyond Grimes’ prediction and contemplations, introducing video within the same model is not promising. This is especially true since traditional TV mediums are also in dire straights with local TV stations closing at an alarming rate.

The key point is simply this, introducing new technological models into old business models will not work because they are based upon the same competing principles.

To reference a quote that opens Chapter 6 from my new book, Marshall McLuhan said it best in 1977 regarding the concept of media ecology which is more reflective of the complimentary and collaborative attributes of social media:

“…means arranging various media to help each other so they won’t cancel each other out, to buttress one medium with another. You might say, for example, that radio is a bigger help to literacy than television, but television might be a very wonderful aid to teaching languages. And so you can do some things on some media that you cannot do on others. And, therefore, if you watch the whole field, you can prevent this waste that comes by one canceling the other out.”

Program Note:

Blog Talk Radio represents a renaissance of the old snap, crackle and pop medium of our collective pasts. But is a Blog Talk Radio really that different from traditional radio in terms of successfully gaining and keeping an audience’s interest?

Radio Has Never Sounded Better!

Radio Has Never Sounded Better!

On November 4th, in a segment titled “How McDonald’s Real Estate Decisions Impacts Success on Blog Talk Radio,” I will have the privilege of interviewing Blog Talk Radio’s Founder Alan Levy on the emergence of the new medium and both the differences and similarities of creating a successful radio program in the Web 2.0 world.

Remember to access the live broadcast through the On-Demand Player below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Also remember to check out both the excerpt and early reviews from my new book “Your Show Will Go Live in 5 Seconds” by clicking on the book cover. The book will be officially released on November 2nd.

Release Date: November 2nd

Release Date: November 2nd