Old media, new media – or just media?


A TVweek.com article caught my eye the other day. With the ongoing introduction and growth of online videos and the world of social media, the reporter went back and forth deciding whether or not we should categorize old media (TV, print, etc.) and new media (anything digital), or if it should just be called “media.” The reason for the article? An increasing surge of online video use. We all know about YouTube, but more and more standard “old media” outlets like NBC and HBO are starting to mix online video with traditional TV. For example, Maria Shriver’s new HBO special, The Alzheimer’s Project, is running as a multi-part special on HBO. But you can also view it online for free. This suggests that while we’re not there yet in terms of solely going digital, there are definitely a sufficient number of people who would much prefer to stream video on their computer conveniently from wherever they want, versus being in front of a TV. In the article, reporter Daisy Whitney used her new media skills to poll the consumer. She posted a question on Twitter and Facebook to her family, friends, and colleagues – some who work in the media and others who did not – asking what they thought of the old versus new. Here’s what some of them said:

J.P. McGovern: “I don’t think it’s old vs. new. It’s disconnected media vs. digital media. Disconnected media has the advantages of often being permanent and often unreliant on electricity, but is outweighed by the advantages that digital media has: searchable, transmissible, global, contextual, duplicable, transformable, sharable, etc.”

Eric Susch: “We need to say ‘old’ and ‘new’ to differentiate those who ‘get it’ and those who don’t. In any case, anything’s better than ‘THE media’ as if it’s all one thing!”

Rick Rodriguez: “Media is media, but there’s establishment media and upstart media. Or traditional and nontraditional. Too many syllables. ‘Old’ and ‘new’ will do.”

Ralph Graves: “As long as there’s a distinction between analog dollars and digital pennies, there’s going to be a divide. Plus I think it also represents a fundamental shift in thinking, both as to how media is presented and how it is consumed.”

Chris Morin: “Personally, I think it is all media. Their differences may be in financial models and accessibility, but those lines are converging. We have seen new media content distributed via old media and old media moving into new-media territory. Ideally, both adopt the best of the other and we move forward into 21st-century media.”

I don’t know the answer to this question myself and don’t even really have an educated guess. What I do know is that usage for online video streaming, mobile video, podcasts and the like is on the rise. It connects worlds. And it will connect you to your customers for sure.

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