The recent analysis document we produced on the impact of social on traditional media produced one quite remarkable insight that crystallises the fact that the future won’t be quite like we all predict. The endless shift to online, in terms of time spent, behaviour and activity isn’t quite the reality.

It was simply the fact that, the more socially engaged you become, the more TV you watch and the more newspapers you read.

We found this quite amazing. The common thinking would be that the web and now social channels are eating into TV. Far from it, they compliment it. It’s the same story for newspapers and magazines, people active in social channels and creating content are more likely to read old fashioned print (although the levels are much lower than they historically would be for print).

This is a big finding, as we just assume the future moves away from TV and traditional channels into web and mobile. But this would suggest we need to rethink this future.

So why does traditional media thrive in the social age? Here are a couple of theories we have:

  • We just love the moving picture, the continual rise of video sites online and the massive rise of video consumption that broadband enabled show this. We’ve gone from Cinema, to TV, to PC and now to mobile. It was said that TV would kill Cinema, it hasn’t. The moving picture thrives in every platform that comes along
  • Passive media like TV provide escape and relaxation from information overload that is the web
  • TV is multitasked with the Internet, we know they is a huge relationship between the two as anyone who analyses website traffic for a brand that advertises on TV will be able to tell you
  • People active in the social web are more educated, more affluent (particular for more involved forms such as blogging and micro-blogging), which why they are information driven when it comes to newspapers and magazines
  • Social makes people more aware and more invested in whats going on it in the world. We’ve seen the success that outlets such as the Guardian have had in leveraging social channels to enhance their core paper based product. This is likely to be a model for the future.

So if traditional media isn’t going to wither and die, what will happen? The way we see it the web will eventually deliver all content, but most likely in a format that we know and love:

  • The Internet will become the deliver platform for television, but will have to bne repackaged like the TV we know today. Expect a TV platform, mixing consumer content, with semi pro and professional, global programming on demand, consumer recommended content and rankings plus
  • Newspapers will eventually become entirely digital, the e-reader is posed to go mass market and has massive consumer interest, plus it offers the revenue stream that will get newspapers on board. Again consumer content and recommendations will have a big impact on what we consume

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