A recent study, by TLG Communications, presents sobering reading for all those social/digtal/new (or even ‘now’) media gurus out there.
A poll of 1,000 opinion leaders found radio had more influence than any other media on corporate reputation. Television came second and print third, while online languished in fourth place.
It’s a timely reminder that even in the technology-saturated West the older, more traditional forms of communication still have considerable sway and relevance. In fact, if anything, new technology, such as iPlayer, have given radio and mainstream television an added boost. TLG founder Malcolm Gooderham said:
“This year, for the first time, we have surveyed the influence of different media on brand reputation. Given the prevalence of new media companies being nominated as thought leaders, it may be surprising that the overwhelming winner in the media category is old media, and almost 100 years old at that.”
Digital convergence is still the main factor in the transformation of the communication environment but it’s worthwhile remembering that this convergence is of new and old media, not the birth of a totally unique phenomena at the expense of what has gone before.
As Clay Shirky adeptly explained at a TED Talk earlier this year:
“The media that is good at creating conversations is no good at creating groups. And that’s good at creating groups is no good at creating conversations. … The Internet is the first medium in history that has native support for groups and conversation at the same time. Where as the phone gave us the one to one pattern. And television, radio, magazines, books, gave us the one to many pattern. The Internet gives us the many to many pattern. For the first time media is natively good at supporting these kinds of conversations.”
Just so, but we humans are still tuned into the big message coming from the central hub. The way we source our information, and thereby create our ‘worldviews’ and form our opinions, is changing rapidly. The online communities still tend to form their conversations around what has been despatched via a traditional system, excepting the occasional on-line viral successes. As long as power structure still feature a degree of centrality, regardless of the shift of power, the traditional forms of communication, aided and abetted by digital technology, will remain a focus and the likes of BBC News at Ten and Channel 4 News will still play a major role in the structure of society.
Long live new media, but may old media never die.