The rise of digital publishing and advertising has been rapid. A quick timeline of the industries development will show that it was only in the mid to late 1990’s that websites started to come to the fore. Now digital is how most people consume their media, it is where brands spend the largest portion of their marketing budget and it is available on a diverse array of platforms including phones, tables, laptops and desk tops. In short, the landscape has changed dramatically, and many changes have been brought about that have had huge impact on the way that business is done. What are these changes? Let’s have a quick look through some of the ways that digital has affected the media industry.
Pre-digital things were measured but it was very far from an exact science. It was all based on estimates and research. For instance, if one hundred copies of a magazine were sold, it was safe to assume that the magazine was read by more than one hundred people. But then questions arose like do they read the whole publication or only bits. It was really hard to judge. Enter digital and it is all easily measured. Analytics and stats can tell what was viewed, what was clicked, how long pages were open for. From a digital agency perspective, it has been a blessing and a curse. Clear empirical evidence is great, and it makes a great case for highlighting the benefits of good work, but similarly it can very quickly show what doesn’t work as well. In the past where campaigns were judged by their creativity they can now be judged by effectiveness and brands are able to get real return on their investment.
Supply and demand
The old rule of supply and demand was completely thrown on its head by the arrival of digital. Initially the gurus though digital platforms would mean unlimited scope to reaching new audience and significantly more opportunity to sell advertising. The reality is that demand from brands was grossly outstripped by supply of available ad impressions and as such the bottom fell out the market.
The advent of digital publishing and specifically of social media has meant that media is suddenly a whole lot more democratic. Suddenly it is not big corporations telling the people what has happened and what they should think about it. Not it is citizens breaking news through platforms like Twitter and it is citizens who are reacting and commenting and shaping the conversations that are taking place around the news. Now anyone can break a story. It is all about being in the right place at the right time and such is the rise of the democratization process that you will now see reputable websites reporting on events and asking people who were there to comment and make contact.
Not long ago, newspapers were used to break news. That is quite simply no longer the case. The reality with digital is that newsrooms are on a constant deadline and that newspapers no longer break news. The role of the newspaper is ow to help people understand the world that they live, but increasingly even that role is being surpassed as print struggles to keep up with the pace of the digital world.