David Carr on Why Old School Media Hangs On

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Cee Lo gets a break from judging to belt out a song himself on NBC's The Voice. Cee Lo gets a break from judging to belt out a song himself on NBC's The Voice. (NBC)

For all the talk of tablets, Netflix, Spotify, and more eroding the old-school media diet, "legacy" media companies are still making plenty of money. David Carr, media columnist for The New York Times, discusses why companies are making a profit, and how we still continue to watch TV, purchase music, and read on paper.


David Carr

Comments [29]

a listener

This really isn't a generational change. I think you'll find people of all ages making similar comments.

Jan. 08 2013 06:02 PM
JB from NJ

I am 31 years old. I only read things in print – I absolutely refuse to buy an e-reader. It feels sacrilegious to me. Books are special objects, and nothing brings me more joy than combing through library stacks. I also subscribe to the daily print edition of the NYT. No television for me. No MP3’s but I own a ton of vintage LP’s and CD’s. And I have never been on Facebook – it is evil!

Jan. 08 2013 01:13 PM
Jeanette from Brooklyn

I'm 35 and I love all the digital! Possibly because I have worked in archives and I am in charge of a large storage system I don't want it at all in my life. Love my Kindle app, which allows me to carry as many books as I want. Love that all my music is digital so I can listen to what I want to wherever I am. Love my Netflix app that lets me watch "The Office" in bed when I'm trying to fall asleep. And I love that I can have access to all these things without cluttering my small apaprtment. No DVDs, no CDs, no shelves and shelves of books. And I used to have shelves and shelves of books.

I love my tablet, too, because I can carry it all without the weight. My portfolio is on there, my address book, my calendar, my notebooks...and that's just some of it. Carrying my giant portfolio to interviews was always the worse! Now, not a problem! I can fit it in my purse!

By the way, I don't want conversation when I'm reading on the subway. ;) I bring headphones always even if I'm not listening to anything just so people will leave me alone. Otherwise, I'm too polite to tell someone I don't want to talk.

It seems that holding onto the "old school" is a badge of honor for many, or a matter of principal. But the ease of the tablet is very quickly catching on - it's 3 years now since the introduction of the iPad and now look at how many are on the market at a variety of price points. There are some non-digital items I hold onto out of sentimentality (my "Thriller" album, an old cookbook), but I have confidently moved to the digital age!

Jan. 08 2013 12:13 PM
Chris DeLuca from Brooklyn

I'm 26 and work in the technology sector, and use a lot of new media. Like a lot of kids my age, I don't have TV service, preferring to watch online, and I get a lot of my news on the internet as well. I do own an e-reader, however do still read paper books. Lots of times I will get tech books in e-reader format, or the equivalent of a cheap paperback, but still buy hardcovers or books with a lot of pictures on paper. I also listen to a real radio, although I sometimes use the WYNC app.

Jan. 08 2013 12:06 PM
Ryan from NYC

I am 32 - I have a TV but no cable. We stream movies and shows to our TV via a playstation (my boyfriend plays video games). I prefer reading print versions of the New Yorker and books (I don't have an iPad or a kindle), but I do read NY Times on my iPhone. I listen to WNYC either online, through the WNYC app on my iPhone, or on my old-school clock radio at home. For music, I like using Spotify or Pandora to listen to something new or to try out a new CD, but I also listen to my own music (downloaded from CDs or sporadically bought on iTunes) on my iPod or computer.

Jan. 08 2013 12:06 PM

35-year old woman, big fan of actual paper books (mostly from used book stores), radio (via actual radios), and live (preferably unamplified) music. On the new-school side of things, I haven't owned a TV for many years but I now watch more TV than I ever have in my adult life -- all via Hulu & Netflix. I also have an eMusic account and sometimes use Spotify and Pandora. I still listen to CDs but don't buy new ones. Still have a decent collection of LPs but need to get a new needle for the turntable, so I haven't actually listened to those for a while now. Magazines via paper subscriptions. I use my iPad mostly just for reading screenplays, scores and other long PDFs since that's easier and more environmentally sound than printing them out. IMSLP is a fantastic resource for scores, saves money and trips to the library.

Jan. 08 2013 12:06 PM
Mariel Morgan from Lubbock, TX

I'm 27 and will be 28 in March. I don't like e-readers and probably won't ever get one, I like the feel of books too much. My husband and I have a television, but we don't have channels or cable. Instead we have a small CPU attached to our HDTV and use it as our monitor with an infrared keyboard and mouse. This way we can stream Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, or any other show that has live or past streaming. I have a twitter account but I never use it and my Facebook relationship comes in fits and starts. I'm on it all the time for a week or so and then you may not hear from me for a month. It is extremely rare for me to buy a CD anymore, only if I can't find it on itunes.

Jan. 08 2013 12:06 PM
Bamini from Brooklyn

I am 34 and this is how i take my media:
NPR on my ipod, NYTimes on my ipad/computer, TV and movies on the internet, the economist and new yorker as magazines, books as books (except for those quick read throw away books that i can read quickly before the nook needs to be recharged!).

Jan. 08 2013 12:05 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Vinyl is tangible..You can touch it and feel it, that's why I still have mine. I still love looking at the covers, something that's not as enjoyable with CD's. I do buy a lot more downloads. I can't remember the last time I bought a "CD", that format is doomed.

Jan. 08 2013 12:01 PM
Josh from Asbury Park

I listen to a lot of subscription music services, but if I purchase music, I tend to buy Vinyl LPs. As for books, I have a Kindle App on my iPad, but I still buy and take paper books out from the library. In fact, if I read something on Kindle and really love it, I will but the paper version, if available. And, no TV for me.

Jan. 08 2013 12:01 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

to hjs

I just turned 66 but got "into" computers in 1979 and bought my first Apple II in 1981. But I never got into any "hand held" devices except for the organic one between my legs. No cell phones, MP3, Ipads or any hand held device. However, I've been computer savvy for over 30 years and do read e-books and have a Facebook account, etc., but not very active on it. Video games. That's where it's at for me.

Jan. 08 2013 12:01 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I'm an old lady, but I'm posting as a result of Mr. Carr's comment about taking a tablet on a plane. I read real, print, books and I love them to death, but if you're going on a trip, a tablet with several books is much lighter to carry. The motto for Technology is: Invention is the mother of necessity. But that only holds true, for me, at least, if the invention makes sense. I much prefer real, paper, hard copy books, but in certain circumstances, tablets do make sense.

By the way, I'm a singer and I find that I can both listen to and read my music on a tablet while I travel and that is invaluable. Much easier than carrying sheet music and a CD player.

Jan. 08 2013 11:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I wish Brian would have a serious segment about video games with adults in the industry, if nothing else, to learn what he has been missing for the last decade.

Jan. 08 2013 11:57 AM
Kerry from New York

Im 29 and I won't get a kindle because I love the tactile feel of books. I don't have cable, and often watch tv shows online. I use Facebook very often - I was one of the first users in April 2004, so it feels kind of old school to me.

I wanted to watch the new season premiere of Downton Abbey live on PBS this last Sunday and then realized that I DIY actually know anyone with actual television, so it's not just a question of me being a troglodyte.

I will say that I use the NYPL far more than many of my peers.

Jan. 08 2013 11:57 AM
Mike from queens

I'm 36 and listen to NYC online, I watch the nightly news with Brian Williams on broadcast TV, read news online, buy paper books and only buy music on vinyl.

Jan. 08 2013 11:57 AM
Lori from Brooklyn

I'm 32 years old, and in terms of music, I continue to keep and purchase cds. My collection is 450+, and I've kept my cds because I like browsing my collection in a material way. I do have and use an iPod, but when I'm scrolling through electronic files I tend to be habitual and only think of 20 or so artists to play. My physical collection, organized by my associations of artists and time periods in my life (yes, along the lines of High Fidelity) rather than alphabetical, triggers more memories and I end up listening to more of my collection.

Jan. 08 2013 11:56 AM
John A

A CD is fantastic in that it can be moved to 4 types of players free of charge, but they are trying to phase them out in favor of net streaming.

Jan. 08 2013 11:55 AM

I don’t know what the point of this segment is, im in my 40s so once again I don’t count
But I would be more interested (follow up Friday?) for those over 60 how digital are you

Jan. 08 2013 11:55 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I can't remeber when last I saw someone, UNDER 25 y.o. reading a newspaper in the subway.

Jan. 08 2013 11:54 AM
Kat from Astoria

I just turned 32. Some people don't want their lives dicated by a screen. I don't own a TV, but listen to the radio constantly-1010WINS, WNYC, and music,because the on-air people have such great personalities. I prefer to read the paper in print, same goes for magazines, and recycle them religiously. I stare at a screen all day at my workplace and need to give my eyes a break. I don't have a smartphone either. Also, since I take both the subway and Metro-North it's nice to have something to read in print. I get the social aspect of sitting on the train and reading the front page across from someone who's reading the inside. No kindle either. Old media is fine by me. It employs more people too.

Jan. 08 2013 11:53 AM
Alisha G. from Tribeca

This is NPR, though, so...lot of nerds going to be listening. Brian Lehrer doesn't exactly target the heavy Facebook user.

Jan. 08 2013 11:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I'm well into my 60s and my primary diversion is playing video games. I still read books occasionally, mostly e-books, and watch movies, but none of those compare to a good video game. I don't care much for zombie shooting games or zombie movies, but the Walking Dead video game is better than the TV series, according to some players. It's the interactivity that makes the difference. In a good video game, you are not just reading a story, you are physically immersed and active in it. Unfortunately, most of my generation doesn't "do" video games because there is a learning curve involved, just like the early days of using a PC or even driving a car. That has kept most "boomers" away from the v-games.

Jan. 08 2013 11:53 AM
fuva from harlemworld

What will happen to Al Jazeera on the Rise channel on Time Warner?

Jan. 08 2013 11:52 AM
Chantal from NYC

I'm in my mid-30's, and I still make weekly visits to the NYPL to pick up hardcover books I put on hold even though I own a Kindle.

Jan. 08 2013 11:51 AM
JM from Piscataway, NJ

31 years old. TV free since '06. Netflix and Amazon Prime for video. WNYC and podcasts for radio. NPR and web outlets for news. Paper books regularly consumed. Still nothing like a hardcover.

Jan. 08 2013 11:51 AM
JR from Greenpoint

32 years old over here, and super old-school. I buy paper books all the time because the titles I read are too obscure to get as ebooks. I confess I do watch a lot of Hulu, though, because my wife and I don't have cable.

Jan. 08 2013 11:50 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Jon from Bensonhurst with your logic the Muslim/Arab world should see CNN/ FOX/ CBS/NBC/ ABC/ as propaganda machines of America’s global imperial ambitions.

Jan. 08 2013 11:49 AM
Jon from Bensonhurst

PLEASE ask David for any comments he may have in general--or in reaction to others' perceived threats of potential terrorist infiltration--as a result of Al-Jazeera's acquisition of Current TV. Is this a cause for concern? Thank you!

Jan. 08 2013 11:39 AM
MP3 from nyc

I have been looking for a mini hi-fi stereo, they are all but extinct.
I must take better care of my now 8 year old radio/CD stereo...they just don't seem to make them like they used to, today they modified them to dock an MP3 player. I hate MP3s and refuse to own one.

Jan. 08 2013 10:38 AM

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