Digital transformation talks have passed the stage of introduction to normality. In the past five years, it has been the most talked-about subject in all sectors of the business.
The phrase ‘digital transformation’ has been used loosely here. It (digital transformation) encompasses many aspects of business. But here, I will on digital transformation in terms of media channels; the transformation from traditional media to digital channels.
The impact of Covid-19 on the media
The media landscape has experienced its fair share of disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The print media was, even before the pandemic, declining compared to other media channels. In sharp contrast, digital media channels have seen a great uptake and usage. This was not just incidental, to say the least. Before the pandemic, digital transformation discussions were already in motion across all sectors. So when the pandemic hit, everyone had to adapt or perish. Digital media became the leader of the pack. More sectors started using digital channels for communications and advertising and marketing instead of the traditional media channels.
Maybe the media is not transforming but rather evolving
Looking at digital transformation from a media perspective begs the question as to whether its (digital) penetration in the media landscape is transformational or evolutional? The media landscape at the moment is predominantly constituted by digital channels whether you talk audio, video, text, etc. It is apparent these channels have evolved due to digital media adoption across the landscape.
Today, radio stations also have podcast channels bringing in a new cohort of listeners as well as churning new paths for significant advertising opportunities. Podcasting as a separate entity is maintaining sustainable growth as a viable media channel. As for television, subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD), and streaming-video-on-demand have revolutionised the distribution of content. It’s predicted that SVOD subscribers will explode from 199 million to 307 million by 2025.
There is no way that we can talk about digital transformation without mentioning social media and digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and the infamous TikTok. One of my predictions this year is that TikTok will see a gradual decline in the number of App downloads – few people will download the App. I know this sounds like myopic thinking given the astronomical success that this App has seen in the past two years.
For the first time, TikTok has surpassed the gigantic Meta (formally known as Facebook) in the most downloaded App for the year 2020/22. I digress. The point is that social media platforms have become part of our lives and are thus cemented in the media mix.
In conclusion, we should look at the media landscape as an evolving entity instead of a fixed one. We should appreciate new media instead of being antagonistic towards it, and embraced each aspect of the evolution process.
Rirhandzu Shingwenyana is a BA Communication Studies graduate from the University of Limpopo. He is also certified in brand and marketing. He is passionate about marketing and advertising, communication, social media and digital strategy. He is currently the marketing co-ordinator for a small-medium enterprise.
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