Over the weekend, there was an article in the Sunday Independent about the changing trends of sourcing online methods for news, in lieu of traditional print media & TV. It recalled a survey that was carried out in 6 different European countries and the results showed that newspapers were hit hardest out of the two mediums, with numbers vastly down in all but one country (Finland).
The moral of the article was that these well established media houses must embrace digital methods if they want to remain relevant. They cannot control the fact that smart phones and tablets have changed everything in their sphere and their advertisers will find alternative channels to reach their consumers.
Adopting digital media strategies requires change – starting with senior management
If I was sitting on the board of management of a newspaper group, I would be worried too. Not about digital media itself but trying to alter the mindset of colleagues unwilling to change. Many are under the misapprehension that their long-established relationships with advertisers will sustain. If they looked a little deeper, they would see that their advertisers are evolving. They’re developing their own marketing strategies, of which you can be sure will include digital.
Having been privy to such a scenario recently, this is how it went: a presentation was given whereby a number of options were shown to a certain large newspaper group on how they could introduce a digital revenue stream through using video & multimedia content. It involved a modification of their current business model.
Afterwards, the board of management were ‘scratching their heads’ and wondering if they actually needed to change. The senior members just couldn’t get their heads around it, even though they acknowledged that readership numbers were down. What was very obvious, siting among the group, was that the newer members of the team were almost salivating at the opportunity for change. They got it! Maybe it was easier for them to understand as they already embraced digital trends. But they don’t make the decisions.
Trouble is, the way newspapers have evolved over the past 100+ years has theoretically not altered. The printing methods themselves of course have, but the fundamental advertising revenue stream has not. People don’t like change, especially management. It’s unsettling. Organisational behaviour is inherent and there’s a hierarchy in most companies, starting with senior management.
For a newspaper to offer video advertising as part of their digital transition is a natural evolution for their existing advertisers. Providing this as a service would also promote the paper group as innovative & moving with the times. Video is compatible with mobile devices. People love watching video. It’s that simple. We are biased towards video, of course, but only because we know its true value.
Newspaper groups cannot imitate the proverbial ostrich and bury their head in the sand. This is not a trend that is going away, it will keep evolving. No one is saying it’s going to be an easy transition but this is the technological era. Embrace digital media or get left behind.
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