I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of hearing:
“Blogging is dead.”
“Newspapers are dead.”
“Email is dead.”
“The 30-second commercial is dead.”
“Print is dead.”
“Magazines are dead.”
“Paid search is dead.”
“Affiliate marketing is dead.”
“Behavioral targeting is dead.”
“Pop-ups are dead.”
“Friendster is dead.” Well, okay, I’ll give you that one.
What is it with this feeding frenzy to pronounce media channels and tactics dead?
I’m as guilty as the next marketing guy. The account people at my agency, Tanen Directed Advertising, are getting sick of hearing me gleefully pronounce newspapers dead, as if I’ve somehow got a stake in the sale of their headstones and caskets.
And I’m just as wrong as everyone else, too, at least about Friendster and newspapers.
Friendster isn’t dead… it’s just different. 85 million members strong isn’t dead. It’s just moved to the Phillipines and Southeast Asia. (39% of it members are in the Phillipines.) But even in the US, Friendster gets 2.6 million monthly unique visitors according to Quantcast.
Newspapers aren’t dead either, they’re just moving online. According to a Nielsen Online report done for the Newspaper Association of America, newspaper websites had 68.3 million unique visitors on average in Q3 2008, which is nearly 41.4% of all internet users, and is up 15.8% over the same period last year. It was also a record for page views, just over 3.5 billlion per month, which is 25.2% higher than the same quarter last year and the highest since the NAA started tracking it in 2004. The same quarter set records for page views, pages per person, time spent per person, and visits per person. In other words, more people are visiting newspaper websites more often, spending more time there, and getting more information there. (And those sites accept advertising.)
I just saw a great video interview with Michael Rosenblum at the Society of Editors conference 2008. He talks about how newspapers have a great, but dwindling window of opportunity, to retain and capitalize on delivering news to their audiences, as long as they keep the news and get rid of the paper. It’s worth watching, especially for his analogy of the death of the whale oil industry in New Bedford, and it’s here on Diablogue. (I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Seth Godin’s great post, “Do you own trees?” from all the way back in June of this year.)
We live in interesting times. The rate of change is amazing. Blogging, just barely out of the womb, is being declared dead yet again. (For a great post and history of Blogging obituaries, see B.L. Ochman’s What’s Next Blog post, “The Annual Death of Blogging is Baaaaaack!” here. )
This is what media fragmentation looks like. This is what technological revolution and social upheaval looks like.
Everything is changing, but that doesn’t mean it’s dying. Shrinking, retrenching, transforming… but not dying. And yet we seem obsessed with premature declarations of death that set the stage for us to glorify and justify the media channel or tactic that we like much better… this week.
Can somebody please explain to me when we’re going to grow up, consign “…is dead” to the trash heap of overdone phrases (along with “…is the new black”) and start seeing the turmoil for the opportunity it represents?