The tools may change, but the fundamentals of good communication always remain the same – by Dan Tapper

This basic tenet of good communication practices dawned on us today when we noticed an interesting anniversary. On May 10, 1975 – 47 years ago today – Sony unveiled its Betamax Videocassette Recorder. It was a seismic event in how television shows were watched and produced. The very idea of a technology that would allow you to record a show and watch it later? It was unheard of. Many at the time found such a thing unfathomable, and wondered if this would or could ever be topped.

It was. VCRs were hot for awhile, but they got smaller and more compact and could do more. Then came DVDs which basically replaced VHS and Betamax tapes. DVRs then rendered VCRs all but obsolete. And now of course streaming services, placing most shows instantly a click away. All that in just 47 years.

But while the technology has changed, the essence of why we have these devices and abilities remains the same: consumer convenience and the ability to reach mass audiences with all forms of entertainment. This was the thinking behind the development of the Betamax, and it applies to video and audio streaming as well. How can we get the content to people in a way that makes commercial and consumer sense for creators, producers and viewers.

The same applies in public relations. Not too long ago, we faxed press releases to newsrooms and arranged sit-down interviews with the media. Then came email. Then texting. And now we have Zoom and WebEx and all sorts of easy ways to be virtually “in person” without leaving the premises. The hardware may have changed, but the need to reach the media with a story or pitch remains the same. We all simply adapt and move forward.

Which we will do 10 years from now when everything is done by live holograms and drones. Or at least we can dream, right?

Dan Tapper is Senior Accounts Manager at Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc.