Traditional Media, Meet The Smartphone. Smartphone, Traditional Media.

We knew when we started Tanner Friedman that communicating over multiple platforms would be the future for our clients and our business. New examples are around all all the time and the newest has started appearing in the most-read newspaper in America.

USA Today is the latest traditional media outlet, joining dozens of magazines and several local newspapers, in using new technology from Microsoft called Microsoft Tags. Readers see a coded area (like the one pictured here) and can scan it with their smartphones to see multimedia content on the phone, such as videos accompanying a print story. It’s as easy as downloading a free app. Get used to seeing images like this in newspapers, magazines, ads and other print media.

This is further proof that Content Is King, with traditional media outlets working harder to provide you, their consumer, with more about stories that interest you. Also, it’s a new revenue stream for them which could help preserve their newsgathering operations. Once again, it’s driven by consumer demand. The people who read newspapers alongside their smartphones probably watch TV with their phones in hand and probably their laptops on their laps too. You have to communicate your message in many places to be successful.

As we wrote about a few weeks ago, there’s still a sense of denial “out there” about this trend which, in the minds of our team members, is indisputable. If you still don’t believe that it’s real, check out this story from earlier this month – smartphones outsold PCs in the all-important fourth quarter of 2010, for the first time. Think about it, more people bought smartphones, which have been around for about five years, than personal computers, which have been ingrained in our lives for decades.

Many observers, including us, have criticized traditional media for being too slow to embrace and monetize new technology. So, if you aren’t thinking multi-platform for your communications strategy, think about this – traditional media, the so-called “old media,” may actually be ahead of you.