They say necessity is the mother of invention…

I don’t think any of the traditional media in the IMC mix will become obsolete in the next 50 years. They’ll just continue to evolve as technology advances and times change. And that’s what media has done since the beginning of time. (Check out Mike Keefe’s editorial cartoon in today’s edition of The Denver Post for an excellent illustration of this point.) A couple examples:

Johannes Gutenberg created a movable-type printing press in the 1400s that made the production of books and other print materials more useful. And eventually — as the technology expanded and improved — the printing press led to the production of newspapers, magazines, direct mail promotional materials and other digitally-printed communications materials that are used by IMC practitioners today.

Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg

Heinrich Hertz first detected radio waves in 1887. Dozens of scientists built on his discovery, leading to the first transatlantic radio broadcast in 1915. Many early radio broadcasts focused on music, but the first radio commercial — a 10-minute spot for apartments on Long Island that cost $10 — aired in 1928. Radio had expanded to talk shows, drama and news by the 1940s, and it’s since moved to online and satellite delivery.


The telephone and the camera were both relatively new inventions when George Carey created drawings of a special camera that would allow people to “see by electricity.” According to the FCC, “many historians believe that the original intent for what we now know as television was to see the person you were talking to on the telephone at the same moment you were speaking.” The first movies — another medium that captured moving images — appeared in the early 1900s and the first television programming aired in the 1920s. Both mediums have grown to meet changes in people’s lifestyles, and TV programming is now available via antenna, satellite, digital technology and the Internet.

Each change and improvement in the traditional media formats identified above is related to new technology and society’s demands. It’s a natural reaction to want to improve any technology that’s developed, and at the same time, society has increasingly become focused on convenience.  In a 2006 article for Global Issues posted at, Dale Peskin and Andrew Nachison — co-director and director of the American Press Institute’s Media Center — argued that emerging media has helped reshape society worldwide. They said, “innovation in information technologies has thrust humankind into an era of democratic media in which almost everyone can have immediate access to news and information.” I agree, and I think that societal changes and technological advances will lead to the continued evolution of traditional and new media formats in the years to come.


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One response to “They say necessity is the mother of invention…

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