Why Traditional media has become ‘traditional’?


It was only 3 years back I would imagine that the so called traditional media was ruling. Advertising in Print and TV was a must for any campaign. ATL (above the line) used to be the most important component of every campaign. Everything else in the so called 360 surround was BTL. It was not traditional.. it was mainstream and still is. It’s just that the reference points have changed.

Before the advent of electronic mediums, press was really the only mode of communicating with the consumer. There was of course DD but then couple of programs to build the reach and that was it. C&S opened up the choices and became the new media (or can we say non-traditional media? after all DD was traditional). As the channels kept increasing and niche(ing), frequency building was the new media. Less money but bigger continuous bang for the buck.

Radio (Vivid Bharati and SLBC) was traditional and almost extinct too till FM happened. And would Radio be called traditional media now??

Web 2.0 opened up opportunities and suddenly the whole talk is digital. Marketers and planners have embraced it as the new mantra. And pretty much treating it the same way as ‘traditional’ media. If TV was about reach and frequency at 1+, 2+, …, now its SEO, views, clicks…

Our mindset back in the days of traditional media or now in non-traditional media is the same… Driven by numbers… And the actual reason gets buried under numbers…

Media is not about numbers… it is about communities (another buzzword in the new age media). The most watched program on TV or the front page or page 3 of the newspaper were not simply about most views… They were about communities. Discussing the happening daily in a soap, or politics on front page or city news on Page 3, we formed communities. There were people who discussed the soaps and those who did not… Those who did not, watched sports, movies etc.. They also had communities… pretty much the same way we have communities now online…

And like true number crunchers, we will go ahead and start over-analyizing as to which community our brands should be part of…

Media consumers need to take off the blinkers of figures and statistics and understand the communities more deeply… Understand the reason for their existence… understand the reasons why people are part of these communities and then decide how and why a brand entering that space would not be intrusive…

All of us know how irritating the commercial breaks on TV had become (or have become)… We treat the new media in the same manner and audience would just move to the next thing that might happen and make the current hot seller digital .. traditional…

No media is traditional or non traditional, its all about understanding where my audience is and who really consumes my brand… TV would evolve too and IPTV would ensure that it moves on to internet platform or handset in the big way… Now what would it be called then? Non traditionally traditional?

Newspaper is still read with that morning cup of coffee (ok so some read it on their screen… it still is newspaper)… Upteen news channels and web surfing has not made newspapers extinct…. they have evolved and embraced the changes in the environment…

Radio is available on the internet (has been for very long).

So lets stop compartmentalizing traditional and non traditional… Its all a matter of what works for the brand in which market and for what profile of consumer and then create (not adapt) communication for that environment.

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2 thoughts on “Why Traditional media has become ‘traditional’?

  1. Totally agree – you can’t silo new/old media, it’s just media that happens to have been around for longer/less time than the other form. Once people realise it’s integral to the comms industry that these two need to integrate, everything might begin to click.

    1. Valid point Matt. The key is integration rather than isolation. Each element of media mix has its uses and need to be used to maximize the impact of communication.

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