Legacy Media and New Media Meld: Mass Communications Succumb to Communications by the Masses

by , Jan 21, 2009, 8:15 AM
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According to the third annual U.S. Media Myths & Realities survey by Ketchum and the Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center, the melding of media means that content deliverables once owned by a specific medium are now found on nearly all platforms, creating a participatory and fragmented media landscape.

As Americans buy products, seek information, plan their social lives, and make personal and business decisions, the lines between media channels in the 21st century have become increasingly blurred, says the study report.

Along with a steep rise in the use of shopping Web sites among consumers, doubling from 2006 to 2008, 44% of those visiting shopping Web sites read consumer reviews and comments there, showing that these sites have transformed into virtual social gathering places and information destinations, rather than just a place to purchase goods.

Consumers are (frequently) placing more trust in the experiences of their online peers than they are on the retailer's product descriptions. This participatory media landscape, says the report, means media audiences are having just as much influence, if not more, as the content providers themselves.

 Nicholas Scibetta, Ketchum partner and director of the agency's Global Media Network, concludes that "... not only are people posting their thoughts via consumer-generated reviews, but they are also responding to each other's comments... (creating) pockets of social networks found all over the Web... conversations among readers, information seekers, and reviewers can be found from The New York Times and The Huffington Post, to YouTube, to the neighborhood blogger... with the widespread availability of such conversations, the lines that once separated mediums have now melded."

 Jerry Swerling, founder and director of the USC Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center, says ".. it's a transformative time in which we are seeing outlets move from single-media to multi-media... "

Consumers are using a wider variety of channels than ever before. Newer channels, such as blogs and social networking sites, are gaining more and more traction. The survey found that 26% of consumers use social networking sites, compared to 17% in 2006. The usage of blogs nearly doubled (24% in 2008 compared to 13% in 2006).

Consumer Usage of Online Media (% of US Consumers Using)

Online Media

% of Consumers Using

2006

2008

Search engines

61%

59%

Email newsletters

40

42

Cable TV news sites

38

31

Social networking sites

17

26

Company website

22

26

Blogs

13

24

Shopping sites

17

35

Videocasts

6

11

Podcasts

5

7

Company Email blasts

7

9

Business news sites

8

8

RSS news feed

5

7

Mobile media

5

6

Source: Ketchum Public Relations, January 2009

 

 

Among influential consumers, the 10% to 15% of the population who initiate change in their communities, 32% read blogs written by journalists (vs. 8% of the general population), and:

  • 43% read blogs by non-journalists, compared to 16% of the general population
  • 70% of influencers use search engines, vs. 57% of the general population
  • 43% of influencers use video-sharing Web sites, vs. 25% of the  general population
  • 29% of influencers use specialty information portals (such as WebMD), vs.16% of the general population
  • Influencers also use more new media such as videocasts (19%), RSS news feeds (15%), podcasts (12%), and mobile media (9%)

The use of more established media channels continues to wane. 65% of consumers use major network television news as a source of information (down from 71% in 2006). Local television news saw a sharper drop - 62% in 2008 compared to 74% in 2006.

Traditional Media Media Usage (% of Consumers)

Media

% of US Consumers Using

2006

2008

Major network TV News

71%

65%

Local newspapers

69

63

Local TV news

74

63

Cable network news

47

49

Family/friends advice

44

47

Talk radio

36

31

Coworker advice

23

30

National newspapers

18

18

Consumer magazines

23

18

Trade magazines/newsletters

13

12

Celebrity endorsement

14

10

Source: Ketchum Public Relations, January 2009

 

 

Swerling concludes "... we've watched traditional mass communications give way to communications controlled by the masses... the melding of media is... demonstrated in the actions of legacy media, which are continuing to embrace and implement the principles of new media. Conversely, the journalistic principles that underline news organizations... accuracy, timeliness, objectivity... move to other delivery channels."

 For more information about melding media, please visit Ketchum here.

 

0 comments on "Legacy Media and New Media Meld: Mass Communications Succumb to Communications by the Masses ".

  1. Debbie Coffee from WHTM-TV
    commented on: January 21, 2009 at 9:59 a.m.

    why is there no mention of broadcast network or local TV websites in the "Consumer Usage of Online Media" section? (only cable sites)

  2. Dan Santy from Santy Advertising
    commented on: January 21, 2009 at 12:50 p.m.

    this is more a melee than a meld- a noisy mixing of people in a public space! we are consuling clients on the most important piece-relevance, thats what matters and gets audiences to converse.

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