Readers: 2013 was all about digital
Including the explosion in tablets and smartphones
January 6, 2014
New media has been part of our lives for quite some time now.
But 2013 marked a new high point for how much we use that technology in our daily lives, and how much we’ve come to rely on it.
The year’s three biggest media stories were all related to new media in some way, most notably new ways to consume and define television.
That’s according to a year-end survey of Media Life readers posted before the winter holiday.
Media Life asked: “What was the year’s defining media story?”
The largest share of readers, 31 percent, picked this answer: “Massive growth for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.”
“People are interested in watching or finding their favorite content no matter where they are–at home or on the go,” noted one reader.
One-third of Americans had tablets in September, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and that number undoubtedly spiked at Christmas, when tablets were one of the most popular electronic gifts.
The mobile revolution is important to media people, of course, because of what it means for advertising. Mobile advertising doubled last year, according to Business Insider Intelligence, and by 2018 mobile will represent half of all digital advertising.
But big gains in tablet and smartphone usage weren’t the only major online trend buyers and planners were keeping an eye on last year.
Twenty-seven percent said 2013’s big story was the critical and popular success of Netflix’ original programs, such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”
“Netflix has redefined our concept of ‘television,’” wrote one reader.
Readers’ third choice for story of the year was closely related to Netflix’ success, with 19 percent of readers picking “continued rise of DVR, on-demand and online video viewership.”
Asked to choose the year’s biggest media debacle, the largest share of readers, 23 percent, voted for Edward Snowden’s release of classified National Security Administration documents to newspapers, exposing just how widespread the NSA’s surveillance program was.
October’s botched “60 Minutes” report on Benghazi came in second with 19 percent of the vote for biggest debacle, followed by 12 percent for the CBS-Time Warner Cable carriage dispute that knocked the network out of 3 million households over the summer.
As for the 2013 media loss that hurt the most, readers were in staunch agreement. Sixty-four percent voted for the end of the AMC series “Breaking Bad.”
The ending of two other series, NBC’s “The Office” and “30 Rock,” placed a distant second with 24 percent.
AMC also came up big in another category. Asked to name the year’s biggest TV story, the greatest share of readers, 28 percent, picked the huge success of AMC’s “Bad” and “The Walking Dead.”
No other story got more than 12 percent of the vote.
The biggest story in magazines, with a third of the vote, was the sale and subsequent print revival of Newsweek, which went digital-only at the start of 2013. The magazine’s new owner, IBT Media, is hoping to produce the first print edition in January.
Not surprisingly, based on readers’ votes for the biggest media debacle, they named Snowden’s leaks the biggest story in newspapers this year, with a third of the vote. The unexpected sale of The Washington Post to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos finished second.
The year’s biggest story on the web was easily the achievements of Netflix, which got half the vote.
And the online theme continued for the biggest story in radio. The largest share of readers, 58 percent, said the big story for the medium was the growth of internet radio.
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