Can Digital Media Coexist With Traditional Media?

Let me start off with the presumption that you are either a Digital Marketer or someone who works in an industry which is being “digitally marketed”. Hence, at some point of time you would either have been told, or would have told someone else that Traditional Media usage is on the decline and that Digital Media is the new trend.

Well, it’s neither wrong nor completely right!

There was a time when users were herbivores and restricted to just one sort of media-print. Now they’re all omnivores – consuming anything and everything, concurrently.

Ever since the advent of Digital Media, there has been news of certain newspapers shutting down their print due to lack of readership and/or sales. This brought up discussions and loads of blog posts on why and how digital media will overtake and probably kill traditional print media. This, is the reason why expenditure on digital marketing is on the rise exponentially.

Now let’s come to the point of what is being perceived wrong here.

Statistics show that the numbers for print media are on the decline. But rather than consider it as a loss-of-acceptance, it should be understood as an adaptation. People who subscribed to newspapers just because it was the only source of information and news have now moved to digital for its dynamicity. The number of people who consume “media” hasn’t decreased, but rather, has just shifted source.

online marketing vs traditional

As it happens, majority of marketers do not know (or rather do not think) that both traditional and digital media can and should coexist. The user behaviour in both these media is different, as they are needed in different ways, but the core experience is the same. Digital media has to cause traditional media to be more engaging to the present day consumer. Rather than considering them as competitors, these two forms of media have to be integrated and brought under a common roof.

In years to come, there won’t be any distinction between digital and traditional. All media will conglomerate under a common term – Media. But for this to happen, the media industry has to learn to accept them as one. The industry is not going to fully evolve until there is this understanding that digital and traditional don’t compete – digital marketing is the evolution of traditional marketing and at the soul of both these is compelling content.

Also see: 8 Awesome Digital Marketing Trends in 2014

Let’s see the recent example of Digital First Media shutting down its ambitious Project Thunderdome experiment. The project was aimed at helping re-engineer the chain’s dozens of small daily and weekly newspapers for a digital age. As per the latest reports, the project has been shut down permanently and its 50 or so staff members probably have joined the Unemployed Section of the society. In addition, DFM is expected to sell off some of its existing newspapers. Though the initiative was a good one, the approach appeared to have failed to generate enough revenue to satisfy its financial backers, and hence the termination.

The effort definitely has to be appreciated. Especially in the present times where everyone has been eyeing digital and traditional differently. Though the project failed, more than the idea, it’s the implementation that failed to see the light of the day. And that reinforces the belief that someday soon, Digital and Traditional Media will go hand in hand.

Long story short, Digital and Traditional media wouldn’t coexist. Rather, they’ll combine together to form a single attribute – Media. And this will happen only when marketers stop trying to choose between the two.

Yin and Yang cannot realize their ultimate power if separated. They have to combine.

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