Riepl's Law

Wolfgang Riepl, the editor-in-chief of the Nürnberger Zeitung in Germany,  studied the evolution of media going back to ancient history.   In 1913, in the very early days of radio, cinema and recorded music, he proposed a “law” that newly invented media do not replace old ones but simply converge with them so the traditional forms become used in different ways.  As such they happily co-exist with the new technologies but are no longer dominant means of mass communication.


 Mathias Dopfner, the CEO of German Media giant Alex Springer, commented in 2006  saying


I believe in "Riepl's Law." Wolfgang Riepl was editor in chief of Nürnberger Zeitung. 1913  In 1913 he published a dissertation, which established a law that has shaped the history of communication: No new media form replaces the existing one. To date, this law is un-refuted.  The book has not replaced the story being told.  The newspaper has not replaced the book, the radio does not the newspaper, the television nor the radio.And so will replace the Internet is not television or the newspaper.  That sounds reassuring, were it not for the following exceptions. The CD has replaced the old record very well, and even faster than expected, the MP3 technology in the process to replace the CD.  And that's where it gets interesting.  For neither CD or DVD, or MP3 really are new types of media, they are just better technology.  The product, the creative medium of music or film, this medium has not changed.  Therefore, these two examples of confirmations Riepl's Law.