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Old Media VS. New Media

Advertising in the United States started becoming popular around 1880 as a $200 million dollar industry. In just 40 years, it became a $3 billion dollar industry. As of 2019, is a 240.7 billion dollars industry, with digital media accounting for more than half of the ad spend, and print down 18%. In the 19th century, clearly that wasn’t the case. The mediums used for advertising have changed drastically as technology has gotten more advanced, but is digital more beneficial? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both old and new media:

Advantages of Old Media:

  • People trust what is familiar to them.
    TV has been delivering (mostly) factual news stories for decades now. People are more likely to trust a reporter on the news than their Aunt Sue on Facebook who is giving her two cents regarding “The Onion” article that she doesn’t realize is satirical.
  • TV and radio are still alive and well.
    According to a 2018 Nielsen report, 88% of media hours are spent watching TV and 92% of media hours are spent listening to radio on a weekly basis. That is a substantial amount of time devoted to those two traditional mediums, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
  • Old Media can save you time and money.
    TV and radio, mainly looking at you. There is a fast turnaround, broad reach, and little fuss about the cost. Of course, traditional media like direct mail can get a little costly, but TV and radio will give you the biggest bang for your buck in regards to reaching a wide audience.

Disadvantages of Old Media:

  • Times are changing, the way people want to be advertised to is changing.
    Now-a-days, advertisers are able to get a lot of information about their target audience and this allows them to tailor advertisements specific to each person. The audience is more likely to respond to an ad tailored to them rather than that radio ad they just turned off. 
  • People are moving away from different mediums.
    When smartphones were created, everything changed. A number of studies from Nielsen, Pew Research Center, and other organizations showed that the average person spends over FOUR hours on their phone every day.  With so much time spent on social media channels, advertisers would be crazy not to take advantage of these mediums. 

With that being said, here are the advantages and disadvantages of New Media:

Advantages of New Media:

  • The internet has changed everything.
    Technology is an incredible thing, and the world wide web might arguably be one of the best inventions. It connects us, and better yet, informs us (most of the time). It’s said that the average American spends 184 minutes on the internet daily, making the internet one of the greatest new media platforms today.
  • Everyone is on social media.
    It’s a great way for people to pass the time, stay connected, and get advertised to. Advertisers know exactly what each consumer wants, making it easier to advertise to them. If the ad is relevant, the consumer will listen.
  • We can access anything almost anywhere.
    Smartphones, tablets, laptops are all ways you can access the Internet. It makes it easy for us to be advertised to at all times, which can sometimes be annoying for the consumer if not done in the right way. Yet for the advertiser, having unlimited access to put ads in front of their ideal target audience is great news. 

Disadvantages of New Media:

  • It’s sometimes unbelievable.
    With so much consumer commentary on so many different articles, it’s easy to get real news and fake news confused. Rumors can easily be carried out on many social media channels.
  • Once it’s there, it’s there.
    The internet is a place where, oftentimes, things show up that others would prefer not be up there, but they can’t get it taken down. Many times, news sources have falsely reported something, but as soon as the error is caught and they attempt to take the article down, it’s already too late. So when posting something to the World Wide Web, be sure you know that your information is accurate.
  • Competition is fierce.
    Although internet ads are usually inexpensive compared to other forms of advertising, your competitors can change that. Internet ads like Google ads are typically bought through bids and if your competitor is willing to shill out the money to buy that certain keyword you’ve been eyeing, either expect to pay more or bow out from that bid. 

Overall, the advertising world definitely has moved more towards new media, but most old media is very much alive and well! And you don’t have to pick one or the other. Taking tactics from both traditional and digital media can be extremely beneficial to your company. 


“American Advertising: A Brief History.” American Advertising: A Brief History. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

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