Every day, new emails blast my in-box with predictions about what's coming, where it's headed, and what's next. Sometimes it's like watching MSNBC and Fox News guessing what's going to happen at the conventions. Or ESPN prognosticating about who will be the wild card team. Entertaining, at times, but often incorrect.
When a new Q&A from TVNewsday showed up, featuring Rishad Tobaccowala, the chief innovation officer at Publicis Groupe Media, a leading advertising firm with $45 billion of ad power, I paused to check it out. The question at hand is what is mass media as we move forward in the new media world?
In Tobaccowala's world, TV is still very mass, but losing some of its potency. He feels that if they don't embrace digital media and figure out how to monetize it, there's trouble ahead. But TV can still have a huge audience, but they're certainly not growing.
And then there's radio. Here's his "take" on why radio isn't mass media:
Radio is basically a niche media. In fact, I think radio is a declining media. You can see that with declining values of radio stations. There are three major competitors to radio. The first is a small little thing from Apple called the iPod. Radio gets listened to in three places. It gets listened to in the car, right? Well, increasingly, cars come with iPod connectors.
The second place is the office. When people listen in the office, they listen to stuff on the Internet, but they don't necessarily listen to Internet radio stations. They listen to things like Pandora and Lost.fm, which basically allow them to customize their music. And they listen to satellite radio, most of which is commercial free.
I believe that newspapers and radio are a couple of fast-declining businesses. I believe that large segments of magazines will also start declining. I believe that television and out-of-home and the Internet will be OK.
Point taken on the iPod, and the challenges that listening locations present for radio. These are themes that we have explored many times in this blog, and in Jacobs Media research. The office, however, is still a great opportunity for radio, as well as WiMax in cars - both of which feature streaming platforms.
Radio has options here, but needs to provide great streams, market them effectively, and fix the stopset problem. It also wouldn't hurt to invest some money in public relations, because articles like this keep reinforcing these challenging times. As we have learned with satellite radio and iPods over the past few years, marketing and PR work. It's time we started doing some of our own.