Video Killed The Radio Star!

If you’re familiar with that song, it may be with you for a few days now—for that I’m very sorry. Someone put it in my head a few days ago while I was traveling, and it’s been stuck with me ever since.

You understand the message of the song though, right? An emerging technology coming along and rendering others obsolete. As we all know, things aren’t always so black and white—radio didn’t go away because of television, though people use it differently now than in the past. The way we consumed television programs prior to the widespread availability of high speed internet was very different than the way we view content today. Jerry Seinfeld and NBC used to own Thursday evenings at 9 pm—with Friends on before that at 8 and the fan base enjoyed their shows simultaneously around the timetable of the network (or you’d set up a VCR to record your show to watch later). I can’t believe I used to stay up that late!

Like Seinfeld, my marketing career developed exactly at the time when the “catalog” and “web” retail worlds collided, and many were quick to predict the end of catalogs. There were brands like Land’s End that acted swiftly to “cut the cord,” only to lead to disastrous results. The impact of mailing print has been debated to varying degrees ever since.
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