Throughout time, we have consumed information in many ways. From newspaper to radio to the television, it has evolved over time. Just over the last couple decades, the internet has allowed for a major shift in what technologies are preferred and where we’re investing in media.

It is easy to see how the introduction of new outlets makes previous ones obsolete, and it has never been more prevalent than right now. Radio, television, and newspapers have now become a thing of the past so to speak, and have been replaced with an item called the smartphone.

The invention of the smartphone has propelled the process at which other outlets are adapting or even becoming extinct. The three major outlets mentioned were once the most effective for marketing and information consumption, but now, the smartphone can compete with all three of those in once device.


Once an effective way to transmit news and information, is now hanging on by a thread. The old reliable newspaper is becoming less and less popular because at the rate people can get news on their smartphone, there is no need for a newspaper that prints everything the next day. Not only is it a lack of time efficiency, the mobility of a newspaper is more cumbersome then that of a smartphone. I can put the news in my pack with a smartphone, but must fold and store a newspaper in possibly a briefcase. It is sufficient to say that newspapers cannot last in the current environment, and may become extinct sooner then we all realize.


Radio is slightly different than the newspaper because there will likely always be a need for radio. While driving in cars, it is an easy and effective way to consumer information, whether it be advertisements or music. However, with the introduction of Bluetooth technology in cars, it makes radio a little less effective because you can stream basically what you want. It is fair to say that radio has shifted because you may argue that podcasts and Pandora are the “new” radio, but it is not the same as traditional radio. With that, radio is adapting well to the changes smartphones have brought, and incorporated a personal touch in the process. Though soon all cars will soon be self-driving.


The television is caught in a stick situation because the traditional sense is slowly fading to streaming and cord cutting, but same with radio, I do not believe it will complete cease to exists but rather adapt. Cable cutting has become a normal occurrence, but in its place, has come streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV. Like television, it allows you to consume information with limited and sometimes no commercials. Marketing has adapted to use the limited advertising slots with targeted advertising. They will either ask if the ad was something that interested you, or on Hulu will let you sometimes choose the ad. Again, same with radio, television is only adapting to the environment, which is now on the smartphone.

Technologies will always be changing the way we consumer information and use certain products, and the smartphone has managed to do so in many different markets. Being able to adapt to these changes as a marketing person and consumer, will allow you to get the most out of each new situation. Maybe 25 years down the road, the smartphone will become obsolete with a new better and more efficient product. Only time will tell. But as for now, invest in what will reach the greatest audience.


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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