The economy has affected all sectors of the world economy and there is not a single area that has not felt the pain. Retail, autos, health-care, finance, non-profit, government, manufacturing, services, consumer staples - all have suffered in some form or another. One of the areas hit hardest is Media.
So why is traditional media suffering when digital media is thriving? The economy, as I mentioned above, is the number one culprit. However, there is another event taking place. More and more people are consuming digital content than ever before, and consuming it for longer hours than they watch television, listen to radio or read newspapers. Whether it is in the form of social networking on Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace, or in the form of consuming video content on YouTube or Hulu, or simply reading the news on CNN.com or WSJ online, the internet is fast catching up to the current (but not-for-long) champion of media - the Television.
Moreover, audience participation and interaction to advertising on the internet can be monitored, tracked and reported a lot more easily and accurately compared to other media outlets, so businesses want to pour their budgets more and more into the internet for the sake of being able to track their revenues back to the spend.
The one internet giant that stands to benefit from this shift is Google (GOOG). It has over 70% of the internet search market. Competitors like Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT) either don't have the focus or the technology to compete with them while they keep rolling out innovative ways to capture the internet audience.
Since November 2007, Google has seen its stock price tumble from around $750 to $330 last week (although it has dipped below the $300 mark on a couple of occasions in the last four months). The time to consider buying Google is now. It is trading at less than 14 times earnings and has over $15 billion in cash. With media trends pointing to this shift from traditional media to digital, you can rest assured that Google stands to be the primary beneficiary.
Full Disclosure: I do not own Google, but my position can change anytime without notice.