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Mobile and traditional media

November 9th, 2010 by Talya

With the rise of mobile devices, mobile advertising, mobile social networking, mobile shopping … well, basically mobile everything, some may be tempted to fear that mobile will take over the traditional ways of doing things. More specifically, traditional media. There is ongoing discussion in some circles as to whether mobile media will eventually overtake traditional media, obliterating paper and ink.

This possibility did actually cross my mind some time ago. Back when the web, as in the traditional sit-at-a-desk-in-front-of-a-computer internet, became popular, you had to wonder if it would be the beginning of the end of print media. Now while no sleep was lost over this, I did imagine Ray Bradbury-esque scenes in which books and newspapers no longer existed but were replaced by screens, keyboards, and robots. That was scary for about a minute, until it became clear that the internet would not replace print media, but simply force it to adapt and become the better version of itself. Paper and ink were not going anywhere but was going to be forced to change in order to survive in the world of online media. Traditional magazines and newspapers had to not only continue doing what they had been doing, but step things up a notch by creating an online presence in order to keep up with where technology – and the market – were headed.

Fast forward to the present day and the situation is similar. Although this is debatable, it seems that the mobile web is not going to be the end of the traditional web or traditional print media (at least not any time soon). However, it will force these outlets to adapt and work hard to earn their keep. Traditional media will have to continue to provide excellent content and funnel this content through more channels, including mobile, so that users can find them. This challenge can be overwhelming but cannot and should not be ignored, because the world wants mobile.

Actually, the changes required to survive in a world where mobile is growing so rapidly should not only be viewed as negative. The rise of new media (which includes mobile) has given traditional media outlets new ways to reach a broader audience. NBC Universal executive Lauren Zalaznick recently explained this at ad:tech New York, saying that “new media might actually enhance users’ engagement with multiple content brands, helping them engage longer and deeper, which has always been the goal” (Mobile Marketer). She also reiterated that “quality content wins ” and that the medium is not as important as the content.

So while no one can entirely predict the future, it seems safe to say that traditional media will coexist with mobile technology. At least for a while, right?