Print is dead. Radio is dying. TV is very, very sick.

Many outraged responses, and one man even going to the lengths of creating a presentation that said ‘Why Steven Bartlett is wrong’.

What could have caused this? The following tweet:

“Print is dead.

Radio is dying.

TV is very very sick.“

The replies that followed ranged from tremendous agreement to total outrage from a deeply offended group of people. I was of course speaking generally, confined by 140 characters, it's impossible for me to present the full justification for a statement of this magnitude. However, the reality is that the media world is changing and once-reliable mediums are becoming extinct, especially amongst younger generations.

Print is Dead

Newspapers and magazines used to dictate how we receive our news and information. That is no longer the case.

According to the Financial Times, since 2010, the print newspaper business in the U.S. has shrunk by half, and in the U.K. by more than one-third. ProPublica president Richard Tofel also reported that print circulation plummeted between 2013 and 2015; The Wall Street Journal’s circulation dropped by 400,000, The New York Times by 200,000, and The Washington Post by 100,000.

As Kurt Andersen, former editor of New York said, “The 1920s to the 2020s was kind of the century of the magazine.” Today, the industry is in “more of a dusk, a slow dusk, and we’re closer to sunset.”

Consider just some of the brand-name magazines that have shut down or been sold in the last few years, including Rolling Stone, US Weekly, The National Enquirer, Ebony, and Runner’s World, Men’s and Women’s Health. These publications are struggling to survive the transition from print to digital, competing against 440 millionblogs — and growing.

Still, publishers aren’t the only ones suffering. The death of print and rise of digital presents a major challenge for marketers: They need to figure out how to reach online readers who are growing intolerant of intrusive ads. This has lead to a shift in the role of the marketer in that they are now facing the challenge of thinking like publishers, where advertisements are ignored and content is king, those who embrace this and marry the two in harmony are the ones who will break through the noise online. They can also follow in the footsteps of brands such as Red Bull by becoming media studios themselves — launching their own publications and social channels with entertaining and informative content.

Radio is Dying

Radio put up a good fight until now.

According to a study by Musonomics, AM/FM radio has long been the dominant force in U.S. music listening. But that dominance is being challenged by streaming and on-demand music services such as Spotify, YouTube, and podcasts.

Where radio was always dominant, was in the car, but even this is beginning to adapt to the shifts in technology & how consumers listen to audio. This is aided by the growth of smart car systems, which allow drivers to seamlessly connect their devices to their vehicle; 75 percent of new cars are expected to have these capabilities by 2020.

Music listeners under 18 are also particularly comfortable with these streaming services. Radio usage among teens dropped by almost 50 percentage points between 2005 and 2016. Streaming services allow listeners to easily choose their own songs, create their own playlists, discover new music, and share their discoveries on social media.

Consider this graph, which shows how teens largely listen to streaming music services, with AM/FM radio only accounting for 13% of their monthly audio consumption.



Millennials aren’t the only ones excited about these new audio platforms; marketers are, too.

Just as online content marketing provides advertisers with more granular audience reach and data, music streaming offers the same benefits. Radio advertising only promises that you’ll reach a certain radius of listeners at a given time. Spotify and YouTube, on the other hand, allow advertisers to target specific audiences who listen to certain artists at certain times. This process is also automated, so advertisers can optimize their ad distribution without the headache of shuffling funds and data.

As Musonomics reported, radio revenue from ad spots has been flat at $15 billion since 2010. Meanwhile digital radio revenue crossed $1 billion for the first time in 2015 and is expected to grow faster than live radio revenue. In fact, 2016 was a tipping point for the music industry. Streaming became the highest source of revenue in the U.S. music industry; it accounted for 51 percent of the pie, having only made up just 9 percent five years earlier in 2011.

TV is Very, Very Sick

TV is being threatened by digital streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, and Facebook.

As Digiday reported, by 2021, over 81 million U.S. viewers will have either cut their cords to cable or never signed up for cable packages first place — up 64 percent from today. Digital video viewing times will also rise by 40 percent between 2015 and 2019.

U.K. adults already spend almost an hour a day watching digital video, which is more than double than they did just five years ago, according to eMarketer. And by 2019, almost 20 percent of all time on digital devices will be spent watching video.

Consider Netflix, one of the biggest video streaming platforms available. Statista reports that it now has more subscribers than the largest cable providers in the U.S., doubling its subscriber base in the past five years.



It’s no surprise, then, that brands are shifting their ad dollars to digital platforms. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), digital ad spend surpassed TV ad spend in the U.S. for the first time ever in 2017, signifying that this massive shift isn’t rumor or projection; it’s reality.

The Choice Facing Marketers Now

Media today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago — even five years ago. It’s changing at a rapid pace and leaving marketers with a stark choice: Adapt to this new world or get left behind.

That means accepting the end of print, radio, and TV, and welcoming the emergence of online and on-demand content with open arms.

The good news is that while these new platforms may seem intimidating, they are actually a blessing in disguise. They provide marketers with even more ways to reach customers, collect audience data, and drive conversions. They also give audiences the power to engage with brands on-the-go and on their favorite platforms.

Marketers just have to be there to meet them. And they have to start now.

The facts behind this argument are clear, we’re not only moving at a rapid pace to a world where content is digitally dominant, in some cases, that shift has already happened. So why did what I tweeted become such a heated debate?


We’re protective of what has got us to where we are today, we’re protective of what made us our money, and we’re protective of what we’ve obsessed over gaining so much knowledge in.

Nobody wants to be told that the industry they’ve spent the majority of their working lives in is shifting. People aren’t just worried about their job, but their sense of purpose too. Jobs offer this and losing a job is a bigger psychological effect than just loss of income.

Unfortunately we don’t decide where consumer attention moves and how technology will revolutionise our lives, the only thing we can do is watch the market and adapt, or we can ignore the signs and ultimately, die out.”

Andy Evans