On the first line of the first page of Jack Scissors and Roger Baron’s “Advertising Media Planning” (Seventh Edition) text book you will find this quote: “Throughout history, the form of mass media has been determined and limited by the technology of the age.”

Never have these words meant more than in today’s ever fracturing media landscape. It seems that each year a new technology promises to change content consumption as we know it – (iPhone, Kindle, iPad – etc…). Given the amount of industry buzz and media attention that is devoted to these new technologies you would think that by now the majority of ad dollars would be devoted to reaching consumers in these cutting edge venues – if not the majority, certainly a significant portion – right?

It’s very fashionable to talk about digital advertising and about how “that’s the way everything is going” – but despite all the discussion and all the buzz, recent estimates put digital ad spending at only 6% of total ad expenditure. Important still to recognize that in this measure, “digital” consists of all digital channels including Paid Search, which makes up a large chunk of online spending.

Why is it that we spend so much time talking about how quickly things are changing and about how new technology is going to change advertising when this fast change happens so slowly!

The Slow Pace of Fast Change
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  • Dadio

    In a word, inertia! In order for the new types of media to gain market share some other traditional type of media must lose it, assuming a zero-sum game. The vendors who depend on the traditional media don’t want to lose revenue and the customer needs time to embrace making a change. Both are strong forces and are weakened over time by the effect of the media buzz over new types of media available. The early adopters’ experience with new types of media wil further erode the foundation of the established media choices. While all this is happening the content print media needs to focus on some subject that will attract the attention of its readers. Am I missing any powerful forces involved in this topic?

  • Andrew_Eifler

    I really like the notion of media as a zero sum game. I think it’s reasonable to assume there is a relatively fixed amount of time that people spend with media (any type) so for a new media to gain share an existing media needs to lose it. This essentially creates a tug of war for consumer attention that (in my opinion) can leave consumers a little it confused. I guess in some cases more choices for media channels are better, but I think a lot of consumers are wondering why they need foursquare and twitter when they were happy with watching TV.