Who needs high-end media?

It’s more than a decade into what one could call “the digital age”, but what do we have to show for it? Well, we have the internet, that’s for sure. While I could go on and on about what the internet has done for society (both good and bad, fabulous and horrible), I’m going to keep this post on the subject of how it has affected news.

According to a recent study by the all-seeing eye of market research known as the Nielsen group, Americans don’t spend much time on the internet reading the news…at all. In fact, only 2.6 percent of one’s daily internet use is spent on news, with social-networks/blogs and “other” taking the bulk of activity. And it’s true, big-name newspapers seem to be under constant foreclosures and employee-cuts.

There are some other pretty cool findings from this study (which can be found here), such as the rapid increase in American smart-phone use as opposed to these big, clunky computers we use (joke). Oh, and then there’s tumblr, which the report says is a site which we should all have our eye on. It’s got 8 times as much views as wordpress, making me feel outdated in the middle of this post.

Though you do have to remember that this is the A.C. Nielsen company, and their research methods have never been very accurate. This brings me to my point. It’s all about how Nielsen “News” means a news site, like nytimes or WSJ or Fox News etc. etc. etc. The top spot (other than the “other” category) belongs to Social Networking and Blogs. Therefore, this could mean that audiences are simply getting their news from blog posts such as the one you’re reading (Side-note: I feel uncomfortably meta writing this post right now).

And now for something completely different:

This circumstance is not just occurring within the news, but with many other areas of culture. In an article on AdWeek, John Ortved discusses how digital and social media centric stores are seriously hampering on the luxury brand’s style. It doesn’t hurt that he uses Kreayshawn, an upcoming rapper who took the blogosphere by storm, as an allegory for how this has happened:

High-end fashion brands have a problem…after the young Bay Area rapper made famous by the Internet and her hit song…Sample lyrics: “Gucci, Gucci, Louis, Louis, Fendi, Fendi, Prada…the basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother.”

It may have taken a rapper to say it best, but the message has been clear for a while: Luxury designers are losing their cachet. And the problem is only being intensified by the medium that made Kreayshawn a star.

To sum this up: Now that we have access to everything, what’s the point in buying luxury fashion items anymore?

My question is: Now that we have access to everything, what’s the point in subscribing to major news outlets anymore?

Ortved notes that the problem luxury brands are facing is that potential shoppers do not see the point in paying for their style when they can get anything else at much cheaper price. Luxury used to stand for elite, better clothing; and with alternative styles growing due to digital outlets of all kinds, there’s no real need to pay for the luxury service anymore.

Replace luxury with nytimes and read that one back. See what I mean?

People read the nytimes for its journalistic integrity and educated opinions. The newspaper and others of its class are subscription based for the privilege of reading their articles. Yet people don’t like to pay for things, and when there’s a free alternative that may be just as good, why would they? That seems to be the trend that this most recent report by the Nielsen Group is describing.

In a world with thousands of journalists covering every aspect of the news, price doesn’t necessarily equal quality anymore, and for that reason there may no longer be a place for luxury journalism.

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