Since the advent of new media and social media, many of the digital faithful have sounded the demise of traditional media. I know it’s cool and hip to say, “We no longer use TV, print, or radio for our advertising. Instead we use Facebook, SEO, and apps.” But, just the opposite is happening. New media and digital advertising is not disintermediating traditional media, but it is reinforcing it. Here are a few examples:
• Online videos still sell TV ads – In order to “make money” online video sites sell commercials that are imbedded into their videos.
• Digital companies still sell ads – Yes, it’s called “display ads”, but they are not much different than billboards or print ads. In fact, display ads are now considered “old”.
• Tablet formats still sell print ads – iPads and Kindle’s Fire have given new life to traditional publications and to print ads.Yes, they are now interactive, but they still act like print ads in magazines.
Another phenomenom is many digital companies like Google and Pandora are selling traditional media. Google sells remnant print and TV ads. Pandora sells radio spots. Google and Apple are getting into the traditional TV arena and are ramping up their sales force to sell… (wait for it…) traditional TV ads.
What’s interesting is, instead of eliminating traditional media, digital media is turning to it for revenue and influence. Even mobile mostly depends on selling ads and coupons to make money. The problem with most of the new media, social media included, is they are realizing that just because you have hundreds of thousands of viewers, this doesn’t automatically translate into sales. This is why many online companies are still losing money. Facebook is losing hundreds of millions of dollars every year. This is why they bluntly ask users to advertise with them to keep Facebook free. Groupon lost over $414 million in 2010. Twitter is losing so much money and still haven’t found a reliable revenue source, that Co-founder Ev Williams was booted out of his own company.
Thus far, instead of dealing a death blow to traditional media, new media is turning to it to generate real revenue and not just “friends” and “likes”. The advantage new media has is it’s data and niche targeting capabilities, but they’ve yet figured out how to turn that into gold.
Good thing they didn’t kill traditional media.