The news cycle has changed so much in the past five years. This has had a direct effect on Marketing and Advertising. It's about to change again and - as usual - Marketers are not prepared. And, from the looks of it, the general mass population might not be ready either.
There's that old saying that you have to know where you have been to know where you are going. The news used to be controlled by the major news outlets. Companies would launch their press releases in the morning on any given weekday (preferably Monday to Thursday) in hopes that it would be picked up by the television stations for the six o'clock news and then it would hit the newspapers the following morning. A good piece of news had legs and could linger for two - three days (if it was able to make it to the magazines, you would be looking at weeks and months). Then, TV stations like CNN launched and the mass public's appetite for news was turned on its head. We suddenly ushered in the era of the twenty-four hour news cycle. News was available at any given moment, and in an effort to fill that air time, news makers had to up their game to ensure that they were the ones breaking exclusive stories and having the scoops.
The Internet changed everything.
As more and more people got interested in the Internet it also became a secondary channel for these news companies to get the word out. Very few of these companies saw the potential threat that it would become to their empires, but as the speed of communications shifted again, many individuals began using the Web to broadcast their own news, as it happened. There were even moments where traditional news companies were breaking the news on their websites first in order to not get scooped by he competition. From there, Blogging platforms took hold and now we have micro-blogging spaces (like Twitter and FriendFeed) and the ability to comment and create content from our mobile devices.
Die! 24 Hour News Cycle! Die! Die!
On May 23rd, 2007, there was this Blog post, TNN - Twitter News Network Or How I Found Out About The Google - Feedburner Acquisition, from Six Pixels of Separation:
"Traditional media outlets would spend huge budgets to have correspondents placed in different parts of the world to file stories and get 'on the ground' insights that the average individual would never have access to. Now, at any given time, my fairly small friends list (it's fewer than one hundred and fifty) spans the globe and constantly feeds personal, local, national and global insights at a non-stop pace... In a world where we trust what our peers say at a much higher multiple than anything pumped out by the media, Twitter is perhaps beginning to demonstrate her true power."
Fast forward to now and Twitter has matured. It's not uncommon to not only learn about late breaking news way before the major news outlets get the chance to update their websites from places like Twitter, but more and more of these major news outlets are now trolling Twitter and FriendFeed for information, perspective and insight.
What does this all mean?
We no longer have a twenty-four news cycle. Something happens in the world (Mumbai, Gaza, or that someone was involved in a plane crash) and somebody, somewhere is informing the world through text, images, audio and even video within sixty seconds. What does the news and media industry look like now? Media empires are going to look very different in the coming months and years as we quickly shift into this Sixty Second News Cycle. It's no longer about which outlet breaks the new or how fast, it's going to be about how well they can report on something that everybody has already seen. By the time it takes a news outlet to produce a TV news segment, record some audio for radio or draft up a newspaper article, that news item has not only moved on, but it has already been replaced - countless times - by more and more news. Publishing online is fast and free.
We are inches away from the real-time news cycle.
The flow of the news is only increasing. It is hyper-local and global at the same time. News from your backyard is at your fingertips at the exact same speed as news from across the globe. How advertising is bought, sold and displayed is going to have to adjust. The longer, more thought-out and verified stories are going to have to mingle with the 140 character blasts. It's not going to stop. It's only going to increase.
How ready are we - really - for the Sixty Second News Cycle?