Media Change: A Phenomenon Anything But New

Take a look at these quotes from a Time magazine article on the state of the newspaper industry. When do you think the article appeared?

-“(Daily newspaper) competition has vanished in all but 61 U.S. cities…”
-“…(Five newspapers) are fighting for their lives. (One newspaper) is dangerously close to death).”
-“In content, the papers run heavily to features, prize contests, decollete pictures, columnists by the dozen, and other trivia.”

Something from a media critic recently, as traditional media is engulfed in change? How about July 14, 1961?

Not long ago, someone gave me a copy of the Time article from 50 years ago, as New York was at a point when it could no longer support seven daily newspapers. The reasons were familiar – consumer media consumption patterns were changing, readers were choosing relevant content over infotainment and those who could not lead were losing money. Essentially, those are the same factors that today are driving media change.

For those who still seem uneasy with the fact that newspaper circulation is dropping, realize that it is a trend that began more than five decades ago (when, according to this article, most U.S. cities became “one newspaper towns”). New York, then and now, because of its large commuter mass, is the exception to the rule.

According to this article, I saw that the seeds of the “personal media” trend began even in 1960. Price hikes that year at the less popular New York papers didn’t help them make money. Why? Consumers, even then, wanted what they wanted, when they wanted it, how they wanted it. Given the choice, consumers gravitated to the most valuable content, driving change. Just like now.