We have used this space several times to challenge the assertion. We have shown that it is demonstrably false. Numerous studies show that viewing and listening levels to traditional television and radio remain high.
The belief that new media is going to ultimately replace old media is harder to disprove. Internet radio stations may one day replace terrestrial radio stations. Internet video may one day replace terrestrial television. But probably not.
The latest news item on the side of probably not is a report that local television stations will soon be testing an ATSC Mobile DTV signal so that people may ultimately watch local television on mobile devices.
While handheld television receivers have been around for a while, the switch from analog to digital killed the category. Now portable television is being reborn as mobile DTV.
A New York Times story quotes the NAB’s Dennis Wharton:
Younger generations want programming on the go. To access TV on a cellphone, on a laptop or in the car is a game changer for local broadcasters. It will provide a renaissance for over-the-air broadcast TV.
It certainly suggests that it may be a bit early to write off terrestrial television. The kicker is that DTV offers much more than just traditional television. According to the New York Times:
Broadcasters may add specialty channels like sports and weather, offering more revenue opportunities. The Mobile DTV standard also allows for two-way communication. When viewing an ad, a viewer may push a button to see more information or have it sent by e-mail.
The system can also be used for voting, polling and audience measurement. Mobile TV devices with GPS function could also feed location-specific ads so that, for example, an ad for a restaurant would appear only to someone nearby.
Television appears to be one old-dog medium with a few new-media tricks.