What does the Pew Study really show?Posted: August 1, 2006
I just read Nick Carr’s blog on the state of Online News following the Pew Study that came out this week. To cut a fine story short he effectively says that while people have moved to getting their news online they are not necessarily:
a) consuming more news – indeed he suggests that the decline in traditional media consumption is being matched to a degree in the online world
b) about to kill off traditional media – his view from the Pew study is that while this media is declining it is more often than not read by those that consume online news. In other words it will only really die off if everyone stops reading news altogether which seems unlikely.
His piece ends by saying that: “The report is not good news for newspapers, but it does show that the reports of their imminent death have been exaggerated. The real division is not between the audience for online news and the audience for traditional news – they are the same audience. The real division is between the people who are interested in the news and the people who couldn’t care less. In fact, it looks very much like online news media are now merging with traditional news media, as the two come together in a symbiotic relationship to serve the same set of customers. They are not competing with each other so much as they are competing together against nonconsumption.”
I would contend, as I pointed out yesterday in my piece about YouTube, that what the world wants is for the Internet to enable a whole new way to get content. What Online news outlets have done so far is simply ‘automate’ the delivery of content. Perhaps this is why after an initial surge in viewing of online news it too is starting to flatten off and potentially decline. My contention is that this is because there is a distinct lack of innovation taking place in online media (what a generalization I know). Maybe this is what the Pew study is really showing…