It’s not surprising that numerous industry commentators predicted ‘the end of traditional media’ when observing the surge in mobile internet consumption over the last 6 or 7 years. If that trend was set to continue, that could well have been the case. But Zenith Media’s latest Media Consumption Forecast has provided some new figures that indicate anything but.
The first point to note is that the increase in mobile media consumption barely affected traditional media in the first place. Although print may have suffered more directly, the overall effect has been increased media consumption as a whole. People aren’t using mobile devices instead of traditional media, they’re using them as well as.
Global Media Consumption: Consumer Media Habits
As Zenith’s report reads “Some of this extra consumption was cannibalised from traditional media, but the spread of mobile technology has given a boost to overall media consumption by allowing users to access more media, in more places, and at more times than ever before.”
Indeed, according to the report, traditional media still constitutes 69% of all global media consumption in 2017. And that statistic is largely due to the prevailing popularity of broadcast TV which, in 2017, accounts for 170 minutes of the average media viewing time per day. Online media, on the other hand, accounts for only 140 minutes, “and [Zenith Media] expects [TV] to remain dominant for the rest of the forecast period.”
The pace at which online and mobile usage have increased inevitably made it look like they would take over completely; but in reality, they never quite caught up with TV, and their rate of growth is now levelling out. On that basis, the commentators sounding the death knell of traditional media would now have to concede ‘TV will never die!’.
Of course, the truth of the matter isn’t quite that simple. It’s only a matter of time before the next technological development prompts a new paradigm shift within media industries. But these kind of disruptive trends don’t work in predictable ways. It’s not as simple as assuming the ‘new’ will replace the ‘old’. Rather, they can shake up the media landscape and change consumer behaviour on a more fundamental level.
Mobile Internet Users
In terms of the rise of the internet and mobile devices, media habits – broadly speaking – have changed quite dramatically. But not in the over-simplistic way some first assumed. TV hasn’t really suffered at all. In fact, from an advertising industry perspective, it’s benefited a great deal. DRTV campaigns, for instance, perform even better now that mobile internet access has become the norm – due to the potential synergy in communicating across multiple devices, and the new metrics afforded by digital integration. And if advertisers are happy, then TV broadcasters remain afloat, are able to produce new programming; and continue to attract large audiences. So the cycle continues.
TV isn’t about to die, it barely even sniffled. It remains the most popular medium and there are no indications to suggest that will cease to be the case any time soon. The mobile media boom wasn’t exactly a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes, but the bottom line is: TV remains the dominant form of media in the current age.