Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wither traditional media

There will always be a place for what we recognise as the print media. Its diversity in the form of newspapers, magazines and trade and technical publications will continue but over the next three to five years may morph somewhat to cope with information overload into lifestyle interest more than mass media. Dave Gray's comment yesterday warrants a closer look.

The driver is the emotional connection between the publication and reader rather than price or circulation reach. Research by Guy Consterdine over many years shows how close (symbiotic) the relationship is between print and reader.

There is also a lot of good research about how the range of media is used by consumers and confirms the view of Eric in his recent blog.

I have discussed the need for PR to work across many channels of communication in the networks available to publics in daily activities and during crisis.

The emotional tug and symbiotic significance (convergence) is evident in research over many years showing a much higher proportion of celebrity coverage and lifestyle and entertainment in all forms of newspapers over the last few years.

Broadcast media will go much the same way as digital advances come to the fore. The relationship between television, radio, computers, handhelds and integrated devices open up new combinations as Tim Porter demonstrates so well. This kind of development will be quite sudden and is exemplified by iPod, Blackberry Blogs and Wiki's, all are phenomenon only a couple of years in the making but with massive market penetration and, as Becky Quinlan shows news relevance.

This means that news, views and marketing promotion will need to evolve even more into multiple touch contact with consumers.

Muti-tasking is growing fast. The number of touchpoint for the Big Brother programme now combines a primary touch of TV, iTV, Web and SMS with secondary touch of newspapers, magazines, land and cellular telephony, email, discussion lists/Blogs and interpersonal communication.

The feature of this form of communication is that there are three types of consumer inter-reactions. These are: a primary touchpoint (TV); plus secondary (iTV, Web and SMS) and tertiary (newspapers, magazines, land and cellular telephony, email, discussion lists, Blogs, Wiki's events, posters and interpersonal communication). Any of these channels can be primary, secondary or tertiary and in any combination for different forms of communication. The most successful PR and marketing programmes will use this breadth of contact points and each offers a different experience. Jane Genova was right to extract this point from the Cathleen Black's interview.

Consumers are agnostic about where much of their information comes from. Sky television has a global, regional, national and local footprint as does the BBC and so too does content in magazines as diverse as Hello! Magazine and Logistics Europe. As long as the emotional touch is present, there is no boundary to where the news is derived or transmitted from. News, fashion, industry and commerce is global. Even local newspapers include content that comes from the four corners of the world. The .net is ubiquitous in these respects although regionalism is evolving fast.

The consumer features that stand out in this complex mix are time available to use the channels, information overload, accessibility to the range of media and content on the one hand and emotional connection and habit on the other. The generation that now accepts change as a matter of course favour the former influence in time of peace and prosperity but, as the Katrina and the Tsunami showed, in times of crisis, traditional influences are very strong, with TV coming out on top.