New PGA digital venture lands traditional media in the rough

Here is all you need to know about why the traditional media is nervous. The PGA Tour has announced it will launch a new digital network. It’s goal? To appeal to a younger demographic weened on iPhones, iPads, podcasts and You Tube.

Want to know the bottom line? Traditional media such as radio, television and print, is treading water or sinking, and they know it. As a fan and employee of traditional media it pains me to write this. On the other hand, conglomerates have bought up what is left of local production, presenting an antiseptic product that never appealed to millennials and younger. Now they are attempting to flog a horse on life support, because of the billions they have vested in their aging product. The result could end up like Radio Shack.

Back in the day, when I was growing up – the 1960s – we may have protested our parents politics and music, but we still got it from the same sources. Now the 18-to-34 age group is registering their differences by getting their information from different sources, and it has the traditional media fretting.  Worse for the traditional media, older generations are getting hooked too. Who over the age of 50 doesn’t have an iPad or some sort of tablet? More and more people are not picking up their newspapers with the morning breakfast but their iPads. And they don’t have to worry about newsprint on their fingertips.

RiPad miniadio? Well nine-minute stop-sets – radio parlance for commercial break – just are not cutting it, when music is available from numerous apps and loaded onto smartphones. Heck, even the iPod is outdated, as we can get our music in so many ways.

You want information? There are more than 200,000 podcasts out there, some including commercials. But you don’t have to wait through interminable commercial breaks to gather food for the brain.

The fact is, as much as the mainstream media made a big deal about Brian Williams, most millennials couldn’t even tell you who he is. That would not have been the case in the 1960s, had Walter Cronkite pulled a Brian Williams.

We are going through a media transformation the likes we have not seen since television came along to infiltrate the turf of newspapers and radio. Don’t believe it? Rick Anderson, the PGA tour’s executive vice president for global media told the New York Times: “We’ve had a healthy anxiety that we weren’t going to reach this generation with our traditional platform.”

His other quotes also indicate, if the PGA does not start presenting its information on new platforms, it will be left with a pain worse than the agony surging through Tiger Woods’ back.

With fancy interactive flatscreens installed in the dashboards of new motor vehicles, smartphones, tablets and the like, the new media not only has arrived but given the traditional media a run for its life. It is why every local newscast now prominently displays a segment, “here’s what’s trending.” They are attempting to appeal to that millennial group by detailing what’s hot on You Tube, Facebook, Twitter and the like. Except the audience to which they are trying to attract, has already tuned them out. They don’t need to be told “what’s trending.” They already know.

Will newspapers, radio and television be around as we know them in 10 years? Ten years ago, who would have envisioned the Internet reaching such heights? And who ever heard of an iPad?

This is why the PGA is launching Scratch TV. You can be sure others in the media are watching, because they know their future is more at stake than a Tiger Woods putt on 18.

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