In the spirit of endism, here’s a list of all the forms of major media and how they’re trending. Make of it what you will.
Flat to Down to Way Down:
- Music: sales last year were down 21% from their peak in 1999
- Television: network TV’s audience share has fallen by a third since 1985
- Radio: listenership is at a 27-year low
- Newspapers: circulation peaked in 1987, and the decline is accelerating
- Magazines: total circulation peaked in 2000 and is now back to 1994 levels (but a few premier titles are bucking the trend!)
- Books: sales growth is lagging the economy as whole
- Movies: 2004 was another record year, both for theaters and DVDs
- Videogames: even in the last year of this generation of consoles, sales hit a new record
- Web: online ads will grow 30% this year, breaking $10 billion (5.4% of all advertising) —Mainstream Media Meltdown (The Long Tail)
To include books along with all the other media dinosaurs is misleading.
The growth rate of books seems flat, but compared to the other traditional media, books look healthy.
I’m also not sure that measuing the advertising dollars spent on the web is a good way to measure the importance of that media. So, while the author coyly withholds commentary in an attempt to appear unbiased, the selection and organization of this particular list carries an ideological slant. I’m not criticizing the author for having an ideology, I’m just noting the rhetorical impact of the author’s compositional decisions.