Listening to On The Media today I got very interested in one of the segments called “NPR U OK?” Here, the discussion whether the NPR – National Public Radio – is doing okay or not in todays digital society is brought up.
Today, we live in a on-demand society, and from the look of it, the future will be as well. Due to the fact that media is so easily accessible in today’s society, media users are able to take control of their life and are able control when and where he or she wants to take part of the information that is mediated. For example, if I know that a show is on at 9pm on Sunday, I have the opportunity to either record it or find it online the next day. The digital world has made it so much easier to be connected and control ones usage.
In the segment about NRP, this was one of the issues. Another issue NPR is facing is the disruption and competition from other companies, and even themselves. What I mean by “themselves” is that NPR does not get their funds directly from the consumers but from the dealers, and these dealers are members of the NPR branch. So, NPR are competing towards its own member stations, and therefore themselves. All the stations and podcasts are fighting for “the same set of eardrums”.
NPR created a podcast which they promoted on its channel. This obviously made some of the listeners go and listen to the podcast rater than the channel. So, here they lost listeners. A NPR executive issued a memo forbidding the “active hyping”of the podcasts and the NPR application on NPR airwaves. This made the Internet go crazy, many people started mocking NPR and some people even tried to buy up airtime from NPR to promote the podcast and app.
It is a tricky situation they have ended up in, and due to the developing technology in our society they might have troubles getting back on track again. They are invested in too many members and branches, and are competing towards themselves in the present situation. Since it is possible to have apps on smartphones and get to them on demand, it has created problems for the station. NPR are looking for solutions, and they claim that they are lucky since they get fees from their member-stations and grant money, and mean that that is a great model, and mean that the apps and other stations doesn’t necessarily need to hold NPR back, and says that it is a “convenient story to tell”.
I don’t really know what I personally think about the situation. From my point of view – it doesn’t look good. Technology keeps developing and I don’t see how NPR can catch up with it until it is too late…
– Alex Carlbom-