Undoubtedly, the Internet is changing the way we get our news, information and entertainment. As a result, the role of “publicity” and its partner “media relations” has come under question – and in some cases, under fire.
So let’s cut to the chase and look at some facts:
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, there are approximately 300 million television sets in use in U.S. households today. Pretty much that is one TV per person. This does not include handheld units or TV on the Internet. Nielsen reports (July 2008) that screen time of the average American continues to increase with TV users watching more TV than ever before (127 hrs, 15 min per month).
According to Burrelle’s (under the guidance of the Audit Bureau of Circulations), in the top 50 U.S. markets alone, the top daily newspapers have a daily circulation of nearly 30 million. According to the World Association of Newspapers, the total daily circulation of newspapers in the U.S. is nearly 50 million. According to the PEW Research Center, better than 50% of Americans read a newspaper during the week and more than 60% on Sundays.
Broadcast radio is a tricky bird. There are no real numbers for radio sets in the U.S. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are more than 135 million automobiles in the U.S., and most all of them have radios. According the the Bureau of Census, there are about 110 million households in the U.S., but who knows how many radios are in every home? According to Arbitron, traditional radio commands a weekly audience of 93.3% of the population 12 and older; this translates into nearly 233 million people who tuned into the AM/FM dial at least once during an average week. According to another Arbitron study, more than 30 million listeners also tune into online radio, much of which is over-the-air radio station programming rebroadcast over the Internet.
More than 22,650 trade and consumer magazines are still published in the U.S. The top 10 alone reach more than 100 million subscribers.
Have I begun to make my point yet?
There are a lot of people on the Internet and all of them are still watching TV, reading newspapers, listening to radios and reading magazines. However, only 72% of the U.S. population uses the Internet. In other words, there are about 80 million U.S. consumers you can only reach OFF the Internet.
So why does publicity still rock and rule?
If you’re interested in learning the answer, read my next entry when I explain what “publicity” really is, versus what a lot of sources (yes, Wikipedia, I am talking about you) think it is.