I have a college degree in Video & Radio Communications, and at the time I got my degree, it was in the mid-1990s just before the internet took the world by storm. What this means is my education was based on the older ways of how television and radio were produced.
At the time, television was #1, newspapers were #2 and radio was #3 as far as where people got their news and information from - with television leading the charge by a large margin.
The three things of TV, papers and radio are known colloquially as Big Media.
I heard a new term to describe what TV/papers/radio is now. Legacy Media. And the moment I heard the term, that made total sense to me because it's better than using Old Media. "Old" connotes "not used anymore," whereas "Legacy" simply means "the predecessor."
The only place I go to get news is from the internet. I don't watch television, read newspapers or listen to the radio at all. When I want news, the internet is the first and only place I go to get it.
When will television, newspapers and radio keel over and die?
Some say Legacy Media is already dead; this is easily proven by numbers for viewers/readers/listeners that are diving across the board and have been for a good long while.
Others say Legacy Media is still alive, but only surviving on "life support," so to speak, and it's only a matter of time before TV/papers/radio simply disappear due to lack of engagement by audiences.
Here's the way I see it, broken down into each format:
The only thing keeping this lumbering old buffalo alive is sports and nothing else. Were it not for football, basketball and baseball, I honestly don't believe anyone would bother watching television.
News divisions have always historically lost money. Sitcoms only last for a few years before they fizzle out. Other television formats like drama, variety shows and so on also only last a few years and fizzle out.
But sports? That's the thing that consistently brings in the bucks, and television networks know it.
There are more than a few people who watch television only for sports and absolutely nothing else.
This is the oldest of the old when it comes to Legacy Media, as it predates television and radio by centuries.
Many newspaper publications have shut down, and that trend will continue.
Reading the news on the internet is simply a better way to go about it. Faster, easier, more up-to-date, searchable, etc.
People said radio would kill the newspaper. It didn't. People said television would kill the newspaper. It didn't. But as for internet, yes, it is killing the newspaper. If it weren't, no papers would shut down operations.
This format is interesting in the respect that out of the three things that make up Legacy Media, radio was the one that adapted the best out of all of them.
Radio was the first to transition to internet even back when internet was in its infancy. Radio was also the first to simultaneously broadcast both over-the-air and online.
Radio stations also realized that the big cash cow wasn't music, but talk shows. As such, during the 2000s there was an explosion of new talk shows that appeared, many of which are doing quite well.
Today, most popular radio shows are nothing but a 100% talk format with no music whatsoever.
I honestly believe the talk format is what saved radio from total extinction. Talk radio is what made AM popular. Talk is what gets good cash flow from advertising revenue. Talk is something that can be continually new and fresh. Talk is something that does not rely on a particular music format.
And the best part: Talk works equally well over-the-air or on the internet.
When you're at home, use your computer or tablet to listen in. When driving, click on the radio and listen that way. This allows the listener more options to tune in, listen and get their entertainment from their favorite radio talk shows.
While radio does not command nearly as much money as newspapers or television does, out of the three that make up Legacy Media, it stands the most chance of surviving.
Which will be around 20 years from now?
Radio will still be around because they embraced internet early, changed to the talk format and adapted to the market. You'll still be able to hear your favorite radio shows over-the-air or via internet 20 years later; I've no doubt of this.
I seriously doubt newspapers will exist in 20 years. If they do, it won't be on paper but rather an eco-friendly disposable electronic tablet format that you'll be able to buy for 5 bucks at a convenience store that you can "recharge" with the latest news via a paid subscription - or as a subscription for your phone. As for the dead-tree print format, that will be gone.
Television will only survive for fools willing to pay to watch hulked-up, steroid-infested millionaires bumbling around throwing a ball.
You can expect to see more SPORTS, SPORTS, SPORTS on television, because in all honesty, that's all the television industry has left that people are willing to pay for.
If, by some miracle, people wise up and realize watching millionaires throwing a ball around is stupid - which it is - that will kill television completely.