Titanic not sinking, “just sharing water with icebergs”, says shipping advisor

Whenever the future of media is discussed, those who work in the broadcasting industry bristle at any suggestion that TV’s in long-term decline. There’s no evidence for that, they protest. People are watching as much TV as ever. Even young people. Here’s the latest protest, by Tess Alps, who describes her role as “to help advertisers get the best out of television, which means providing them with robust and reliable information.”

To say, as the research by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) claims, that young adults are “increasingly logging on rather than watching TV” misses two crucial points: that media choices are rarely either/or; and that TV and the internet are particularly complementary. Happily, there is enough electricity to enable you to go online and still watch TV afterwards. And 12% of people choose to do both simultaneously, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s Touchpoints survey, an industry-wide recognised study…

I agree that media are ‘complementary’ in the sense that symbiotic relationships evolve between them — as between mainstream journalism and blogging. But most of the ‘evidence’ currently being produced by the broadcast TV industry about business-as-usual runs counter to what I’m observing in both my age group and that of my teenage children: which is that broadcast TV, though still a significant medium, is losing its dominant position in people’s lives. Bill Thompson has a vivid way of expressing this: no child entering primary school this year will ever buy a television set, he predicts. That doesn’t mean that people will give up watching video material, or that broadcasting will disappear. But it’s place in the media ecosystem will be different, and its importance reduced.