FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Media Chaos Scenario

The Carnegie Corporation has commissioned "Abandoning the News," a major report on how new technology is disrupting traditional news media (download a PowerPoint summary of the report here). To anyone who has been following the subject for any length of time, nothing in this report should be surprising. However, it does provide a solid summary of what's going on and at least one scenario of what will happen.

Among the more interesting snippets from the report:

  • The study found that Yahoo! and MSN were the most frequently cited news sources, beating out local TV news, network and cable TV websites, newspapers and cable networks. National broadcast network news was dead last. This is true among young people especially (surprise!)
  • Among 18-to-34 year-olds, the Internet had the highest positive image and highest level of news credibility. Nespapers came in last.
  • Also, young people overwhelmingly said they intended to rely on the Internet more in the coming years as a news source, at the expense of other news sources.
  • The number of daily newspaper readers is dropping steadily, to the point where newspapers may no longer be a factor in news in the coming years.
  • Classified advertising -- long a cash cow for newspapers -- is being hurt by the Internet. Sites such as Craigslist are estimated to be costing San Francisco area newspapers up to $65 million a year in classified revenue.
  • In general, most Amercians under 40 don't follow or care about the news the way their elders do. CBS News president Andrew Heyward calls them "informed impressionists." "News is gathered by the impressions they receive from many sources around them," he says. As a result, "We are going to have to be accessible without just being bite-sized... We are way behind in translating the strengths of television to the new media. We are nowhere on storytelling for the new media and for these younger audiences. We have to figure out how to use the new technologies in ways that address our strengths—immediacy and personality. There is a broader, new definition of news that we will need to develop for this next generation."
  • Free newspapers, such as Metro and Express that are distributed in metropolitan areas, are one way that the newspaper business is fighting back.
  • TV and cable will likely face the same audience dropoff that newspapers have seen. In response, they will need to develop programming for specific demographics (think Long Tail), and move more of their programming to broadband Internet. Programming will also be designed to be device specific, such as for video-capable mobile phones.

Source: BuzzMachine