Or is it because the content just sucks?

Old TV
Credit: Abdullah M

There is no doubt that audiences for traditional media are declining. Recent studies by the Pew Research Center have shown that digital media was the only sector in the industry seeing any growth, the rest experiencing a decline [1]. Advertising is down, readership is down; it doesn’t look good. People seem to be turning less and less to newspapers, magazines, and TV’s, and more and more to blogs, online news sites, and even Facebook and twitter. 

As to the question of why, in my opinion, it is mostly due to the new technology rather than the content being terrible.  Sure, “America’s Funniest Videos” (which I love by the way) is skirting dangerously close to the Idiocracy smash hit “Ow, my balls…” . 

Reality TV is taking over many networks.  The History Channel now seems to air more shows on the supposed alien involvement in history than human.  But there is a lot of good stuff out there too. 

Just look at network TV for example.  The script writing and plot lines are better than they have ever been in many cases.  Why do you think that TV on DVD is so popular now?  TV shows are more like really long movies broken up into 1 hour segments over the course of one or more seasons.  The cinematography is stunning, special effects are huge, and the plot lines addictive.

In print media, the magazines that have always been good (Time, New Yorker, etc) have more talent at their disposal than ever.  Yes, magazines like “OK” and “Star” are like a plague, but there are more choices than ever for readers to select from. 

I feel that the main reason for the decline in usage of traditional media is the rise of new technology.  Why go buy a newspaper when you can instantly access the news online through your already-paid-for internet?  Why buy a magazine for crafting patterns when there are tons of high-quality tutorials on top notch blogs around the internet, all to be had for free? And why buy a paper book when you can read it on a kindle?  Are we heading for a world without books?

I can't decide whether this is a good thing or not.  On the one hand, I love just being able to google almost anything I want to know, not having to read a newspaper or go to the library and check out a book. But on the other hand, is it making all of us a whole lot dumber?  Maybe "Idiocracy" isn't so far fetched, after all!