Will digital transition remove the need for traditional media?

Nowadays, the Internet represents a big part of our lives. In the past decades, digital transformation and adoption have been at the forefront of every sector and industry. Indeed, new technologies have made digitalisation indispensable in order to sustain their business models and prosper.

However, traditional media continues to stay very popular and important in the daily lives of citizens. Many individuals still listen to the radio while driving to work, read the newspapers on their commute and of course, watch TV while cooking or during dinner with their family. But, over the last 20 years, the Internet and its ecosystem have taken up an important part within our society. This is particularly prominent amongst the Generation Y consumers. These individuals do not know the world without the Internet…

This transition to digital has a huge impact on traditional media. Traditional publishers, therefore, need to find new solutions to remain competitive. So, how is the traditional media industry responding to this digital transformation and evolution?

New media platforms

New forms of media have taken over the industry in a short period of time, with easy and free access to information online, traditional media such as TV or newspapers are risking of becoming obsolete.

A site such as this is becoming an increasing rarity…

News paper reading

and we are increasingly seeing this kind of sight:

Future digital media

There is an increasing use of online platforms such as YouTube or Netflix that have taken a share of the market from TV viewers, and online newspaper and social media are slowly replacing traditional newspapers. To illustrate this point, if we look at the French community, the time spent in front of the TV in 2013 was superior to the time spent online, and in 2018 the reverse is true. Now in 2018 people are spending more time online when compared to watching TV (Jeremy Promsy, 2018).

Advantages and Disadvantages of digital channels

People tend to favour new information and entertainment channels due to the easiness of access worldwide and in real time. Some of the key advantages offered are:

  • the free structure for most of the platforms,
  • the volume of information accessible
  • the possibility to be more involves with the option to see or leave feedback

However, there are some disadvantages that appeared with the rise of online media, the main issues being with the lack of regulation concerning the online platforms and the lack of reliability of information shared in these platforms. Indeed, a survey made by the EFAP institute showed that in 2018, only 25% of French people trusted sources found online versus 56% for the radio, 52% for written sources and 48% for television. Moreover, due to the amount of media sources online, an increasing number of content creators are trying to differentiate themselves by creating buzz rather than provide truthful information.

Digital vs Traditional Advertisement

Reacting to the shift of the industry, some traditional media tried to adapt their strategy by creating a digitalised version of their offering. For example, in France, the TV channel TF1 offers an online broadcast of their programs and the newspaper Le Monde has a website with all their articles.

Nevertheless, a lot of smaller traditional media did not succeed to adapt digitally and have had to shut down. For example, over 200 local UK based newspapers shut down in the last 10 years, due to the explosion of online news and advertising revenues that moved to digital channels (David Schrieberg, 2018).

Due to this change, the advertisement industry shifted and became more focused on online media to follow social behaviour and remain competitive. This impacted, even more, the traditional media that struggled to get enough money from advertisement revenues.

In France, the following is the structure of advertising spending in 2018:

  • Online advertisement 33%
  • Television  28.3%
  • Press 18.9%
  • Billboard ads (displays) 10.65%
  • Radio 5%

(Jeremy Promsy, 2018).

The same phenomenon is happening in the United States, indeed online advertisement went from a 4% share of the total advertisement in 2000 to a forecasted 42% share in 2019 (cf: Graphics, data from Statista, 2018)







Digital media platforms are taking over

Digital channels are the number one providers of information in terms of market share. However, traditional media are finding new ways to remain competitive and include digitalisation in their business models. Thus, they are not going to disappear, however, they are going to be fewer sources and influencers within those channels.

Article created by: Lucie Leclercq, Maximilien Espinet, Céline Delannoy, Christelle Allam-Ndoul, Raphael Dibaji