Rethinking media business strategies in the internet age

Believe it or not, the media business landscape across the world has and continues to rapidly change, and businesses whose managers are so skeptical to new changes risk complete collapse. Yes collapsing.

Believe it or not, the media business landscape across the world has and continues to rapidly change, and businesses whose managers are so skeptical to new changes risk complete collapse. Yes collapsing.

Managers have a critical role to play because they are at the heart of the company.

They are the lead drivers of businesses, and just like the same way chief executive officers are blamed when the company fails media managers will be held accountable too.

In the age of internet and more generally the rise of technology, the media industry has been struggling as more people are increasingly changing their preferences to munch online content at the expense of traditional media content.

Operators are now jittery over what the future may hold for the sector, but they will even be more worried if they do not revisit the way they do business.

The notion that internet will disrupt the way media chiefs run their businesses is not new.

But the trend is becoming scarier for those running these businesses. We therefore have to suggest more ways to assist these businesses to make shifts.

To embrace the change requires typically a new thinking about everything that is being done across all fronts. From the newsroom, to the financial department and marketing, to circulation and human resource, and most importantly to the end users.

This week, conversations held during the ordinary session of the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) General Assembly in Kigali were eye-opening.

It became quite clear that leaders who have been at the helm of media organisations for more than five years have an enormous challenge ahead, a challenge of sustaining the operations of their institutions.

Organisations will certainly not continue operating the same way they operated ten years ago; newsrooms will never have the same setting they had several years ago, and obviously journalists will never collect information with the same tools they had a few years back.

Broadcasters, for instance, are transitioning from analogue technology to digital technologies. It is a shift that requires heavy investment in establishing digital network infrastructure, but also in making awareness for people to understand the transition.

However, the opportunities are immense, although it requires creativity and innovation to realise them.

Similarly, print media is moving from relying too much on print business to tapping into the potential that new technologies are presenting to them.

Across different regions, we are seeing many creating multimedia departments, while others are strategically positioning themselves to become platforms for digital advertisement and similar services.

Right now there is a television studio that is using tablets and smartphones to broadcast content to its viewers.

You would argue about the quality of the visuals, but smartphones can be used to record quality audio and video, cut and file packages, broadcast live two-ways, and file text and images.

In 2016, BBC video innovation journalist Dougal Shaw and business correspondent Joe Lynam worked together to film a whole story on an iPhone 6S Plus, shown on BBC London’s 6pm and 10pm news bulletins.

It is a story that attracted a lot of attention has until now, and Shaw has since become popular for what is now termed as ‘mobile journalism’.

The reality is that technology tools are making it possible to conduct business efficiently and effectively.

But it takes much more than joining the trend. It is one thing to set up a department and it is another to fully put to good use what that department is meant to be.

It is not only about focusing on using social media to promote content, but it is about what social media can bring on the table.

In the age of internet, the growing online consumer segment is demanding more, and as operators, there is need to raise value proposition beyond the news they are consuming. Operators should give readers and viewers good reason to pay for content.

It will start from the staff; we should deliberately empower our employees, we must prepare them for the new era we are ushering into, we must train them and equip them with necessary resources and tools that will facilitate them to position media business in the competitive new environment.

Someone with a financial background will be a good business reporter, a person who bravely decided to undertake an IT related course will be a better technology journalist and so on.

The hope is that despite all the criticisms, media has not completely lost its credibility. Recent statistics indicate that majority of people still rely on media to get news. We should capitalise on it.

The writer is a practicing journalist .

The views expressed in this article are of the author.

Have Your SayLeave a comment