• traditional media vs online

Man the lifeboats, traditional media – we’ve reached the tipping point for online content consumption.

16 November 2016

We now spend around half our waking hours consuming media and content online.

7.4 hours, to be precise, according to the IPA’s latest TouchPoints survey.

“Rubbish, I barely go anywhere apart from the BBC News site,” we hear you say, before glancing down at your phone and flicking down to another movie trailer, sports highlight or laughing fox video on Facebook.

The study also claims that we spend almost 2 hours ‘media multitasking’, you see, with many of us multi-screening like a security guard on CCTV duty.

Sure, reports like these are a seemingly weekly occurrence.

“Online is big, guys. Remember? Remember online?”

However, what’s interesting is that IPA research director, Lynne Robinson, called it a ‘tipping point’ in the media landscape, as ‘online media consumption is fast becoming dominant’.

Now, hopping on to our well-worn Devil’s Advocate Plinth for a moment, we’re wondering if that tipping point is necessarily a good thing.

The viewing of live media through off-line channels – your TVs, radios and print medias of the world – is also ‘consistently strong across all adults’.

No point consigning traditional media space to the graveyard just yet. There are still millions of people watching TV, and listening to radio.

It’s just that they’re also on their phones or tablets while they do so.

If anything, more cut-through on more than one channel at the same time should sound mighty appealing for a brand.


Given that digital ad spend is expected to overtake traditional offline spend, this latest news on audience preferences provides a seemingly obvious justification for the spend.

More time is spent online from the general public.

More money is spent online by advertisers as a result.

Although… (back to the Plinth) how well is that ad spend going to be spent?

We all know the simple fact that, 99 per cent of the time, people don’t want to watch just ads.

An entertaining video, that also carries a promotional message? Sure.

A brand deal with a vlogger? As long as they haven’t ‘sold out’ their original style of content, then it’s all good.

Naturally, it comes back to the quality of the content being produced.

We talked about PepsiCo and Mondelēz aiming to create ad content so amazing that they could even make money from the ads themselves, be it through Youtube monetisation or mobile app purchases.

If done right, this sort of bold ambition could justify an ever-growing digital budget, and be a good example of how brands can make the most out of changing habits of media consumption.

Of course nobody wants to make dull content.

Avoiding falling into the trap of content churn may be as simple as taking a step back, looking again at the audience you want to talk to, and figuring out not just what they’d want to see, but also where they’d like to see it.

With us finally reaching a tipping point for online media consumption, we don’t want to suddenly ignore the old offline media sources, and end up capsizing as a result.


Strawman Says

The future is digital, but let’s not ignore the present. No matter where it’s placed, the content is still the most important thing, and as always, interesting content is king.