When this was posed to me during a discussion, the question blew my mind off! My mind was bewildered by endless questions. I mean, can media ever be dead? Really?!? What will happen if, media is truly dead? And if it happens, then what can ever fill the void that the death of media creates?
Media is a core stakeholder for communications – sans media – how will public relations function, and how will the messages get delivered?
Post distressful mental probing I concluded that media is changed, rather ever evolving and not really dead. Can’t be. Ever. Never.
Media reflects the society and continues to adapt to societal transformations. Like in the mid-twentieth century, radio and print gained prominence, reflecting the increasing literacy and public interest in surroundings. In the current technology-led era, media continues to provide solutions for the changing behavioral patterns and expectations of the consumer. It’s consistently responding to the triggers in the consumption patterns. And today, the face of media known to us previously has undergone cosmetic surgery with a new look.
So, what has changed, in media, honestly?
To me, definitions have been revisited. For instance:
1. Integrated Media: Lines have blurred between traditional and digital media, with digital media constantly growing its portion in the pie. According to FICCI EY Media & Entertainment Report 2021- the online news audience grew to 450 million in 2020. Media has proliferated with increased variants in their offerings as newspapers, magazines, news portals, digital channels, podcasts, vlogs, and the list is constantly growing.
2. Always On: From a morning affair, media consumption has become a real-time 24X7 habit. Gone are the days when we read newspapers or listened to radio channels in the morning to quickly know the news. Erstwhile generations remained satiated with the concept of expecting news only once a day and waiting until the following morning. However, the growing trend of a know-it-all has instilled the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), so we are guzzling the media using diverse platforms to satisfy our increased appetite for news, views, and opinions. Today people are consuming endless information constantly.
3. User-Generated Content: In the past few years, media consumers have become a part of the process of content generation, leading to an exponential rise in UGC. Having started humbly as citizen journalism presently, we have endless platforms providing UGC content to different genres of interest.
4. Something for Everyone: Explaining it using a popular media house TV Today. The group offers YouTube channel – The Lallantop+ ; Digital Channels – Sports Tak, News Tak; Magazines – India Today & Cosmopolitan; TV Channel – Aaj Tak. And the broadcast feed is available for the digital audience using Facebook (Meta now) and Twitter. Now that is an entire gamut of medium suited to everybody’s unique expectations.
5. News on the Go: Increased penetration of mobile phones, enabled with internet availability has redefined accessibility for media. These developments have led to the rise of video and audio platforms. According to a CISCO report, video will make 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022. The lifestyle changes have pushed the adoption of video and voice – users prefer watching or listening to media on mobile while traveling, as print copy gets cumbersome to handle.
6. Branded Programs: While the holy grail of media is to disseminate news, it is a business entity that can only survive by making some profits. Cognizant of this, media has evolved to have their owned properties often associated with brands, Mission Pani, a CSR program between News 18 and Harpic. The thing offers brands a unique platform to engage their target audience with in-depth content and for a longer duration.
7. Paywall for premium content: The subscription and membership models have been popular amidst the international media houses like New York Times and Washington Post. Slowly these models have seen acceptance in the Indian media landscape. The publications provide premium content under these paywall systems. These universal modes also open avenues for international expansion.
To survive the obstinate battle of ever-changing consumer habits and cluttered business scenarios: the media is leaving no stone unturned to remain relevant and continue adding a dash of a surprise after frequent intervals.
Being a communication professional, I view the proliferation of media in this unpredictable manner as a great opportunity, allowing me to be creative and achieve far more, than ever.
– Indu Sharma,
Senior GM Communications- Schneider Electric