By Abiola Olaonipekun


Sometimes ago, we had a debate in the office titled “Do you have to use traditional PR methods to drive social media?” Obviously the PR arm was for the motion while the digital arm of the company strongly believed that digital media does not need traditional media to function. So the question today is in your opinion, do you think the digital age is a threat to the traditional media?

A recent survey in South Africa reveals that, despite the growing demand for digital media, there is still a strong interest in traditional media in areas where the high cost of data ensures that radio and newspapers remain dominant. The research conducted by Frost & Sullivan shows that although South Africa for instance has high immobile penetration and a year of uncapped data offerings under its belt - digital media is still growing at a slower pace than internationally, which makes traditional media most relevant.

Frost & Sullivan ICT research analyst, Mogen Naidoo, says in a report that cheaper data prices - thanks to undersea cables - and increased competition has made providing and accessing digital media easier but media houses are unsure of the new dynamics and related growth opportunities.

“Although the market is progressing at a steady pace, there are some aspects restraining its momentum. The digital media sector has also been undermined by the low penetration rate of the internet, which stands at about 10 percent,” he states.

Niyi Adebiyi, a PR consultant at Sesema PR argued that the digital media is a new concept, and there are misgivings over the credibility of information online on blogs and some humorous websites.  “Consumers do not necessarily trust what they read online”, he concluded.

On the other hand, our IT department had this to say, “As traditional media struggle to figure out their digital future, there is a need for them to acknowledge the four Cs of the digital age. They refuse to acknowledge the value of digital communication. They fail to understand that the increasingly filtered content of their news, no longer provide what people want. They seem unable to adapt to the notion that new collaborations are necessary in the new digital community in which we seek information and ideas.”

The IT department also stated that the digital age, the new age of reason will be increasingly individual-based, and the focus will be on communication, content, collaborations and community.

Similarly, Olayiwola Afolabi, the executive director at Media Planning Services, a research firm, said that marketers, advertising and media agencies have been slow to accept that the old models to media investments need reinvigoration as the consumer is getting more knowledgeable.

With various opinions from industry leaders, it is only time that will determine if the traditional and digital media will integrate their operations in future or if one will swallow the other.

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