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(MOBILE) Traditional News Media Isnt Extinct


For years weve been bombarded by doomsday predictions for traditional media outlets.

The iPod killed radio!

People only watch TV On Demand!

While these arguments might have validity when it comes to consumption of entertainment, recent statistics suggest there is still robust news consumption on traditional media.

Consulting firm McKinsey and Company found that radio accounted for 16 percent of total time spent consuming news. Forty-one percent of news consumption time was with TV. That compared to only four percent of total time spent on smartphones and tablets combined.

While McKinsey and Companys numbers are reassuring, they are not reason to relax. Audiences might currently consume news through traditional media, but you still must cultivate and retain audience through new technology, including mobile. In fact, these numbers offer an opportunity to use mobile technology to engage your audience while simultaneously driving them back to consume news and information from your legacy broadcast outlets.

The biggest hurdle to traditional media is getting someone to turn it on. During the day, when most of us are working in an office, co-workers and bosses usually frown on keeping the radio on at all times.

However, we always have our phones on, in case we get that important client call or emergency text from the kids school. Its that always on connectivity that traditional media can use to push people to tune in to their station.

Think of mobile like the co-worker in the next cubicle who tells you, Hey, you need to turn on the radio now! Something big is happening. Given the correct mobile prompt, people will turn to traditional media to find out whats going on.

The first step to giving this correct prompt is to build up a database of mobile users who have opted to receive SMS text notifications.

How do you do this? Offer something worth receiving. Offer breaking alerts. Offer sports scores from local teams. Offer traffic or weather updates. There are some stations that offer SMS alerts specifically for car chases, celebrity sightings, or trial verdicts.

Play to the strengths of traditional media: Its trusted, personal, and local. In an era of syndication and national outlets, SMS alerts for local and useful information help you maintain and build trust with the community.

Once you have built up a mobile database, you can reengage your audience with target messages. Did you know that one-third of us check our phones before we even get out of bed in the morning? What if a text message from your station was the first thing someone saw when he or she woke up?

You could present them with a compelling reason to turn on your morning show. You could offer a sponsored traffic report with a reminder to tune in on the eights for updated information. On a sunny day, Sunglass Hut or Coppertone could sponsor the weather. Your station can be first in their mind all day.

A mobile database also gives you a more comprehensive demographic picture of your audience. Its not a small PPM or Arbitron snapshot. It is extensive data on the audience members most engaged with your station. You can use that to customize the content you present on air. You can also present that information to advertisers and generate additional revenue streams with sponsored messages and content.

The media landscape will continue to change. Just because there is still an audience interested in traditional news outlets today doesnt mean news delivery and consumption wont evolve in the next five years. We are at a unique time of technological overlap, where emerging technologies can drive participation to traditional outlets. Building a solid mobile strategy now will strengthen your market position both short and long term.

Ivan Braiker is the president of mobile marketing company Hipcricket. He can be reached at
Read more articles from Ivan HERE