2011: Now Trending in the Media Industry

07 January 2011

By Terry Neal, Senior Vice President, Director, Strategic Media

Online ad revenue for mainstream media publications will begin to rebound, helping to stem the hemorrhaging of their parent print publications. But the rebound won’t be enough to ease the pain, leading to continued downsizing in the industry. The downsizing will particularly affect the ability of mainstream publications to retain top-end talent.

AOL Patch will continue its rapid expansion. Print publishers and local TV news producers will continue to try to figure out a way to monetize narrowly focused community news, and will search for creative business models to do so.

The continued pressure to keep up with technology will push organizations to move from the model of reporters as content creators to bloggers who are content aggregators. Increasingly, journalists will rely on second- and third-hand, often non-verifiable information, rather than personal, verifiable sources and information, blurring the lines between content creators and aggregators.

The rise of the personally branded journalist will intensify in the coming years. The best journalists will be those who produce not just the best content, but those who draw the most eyeballs through self-marketing via social media.

The media demigods will watch, but not follow Rupert Murdoch’s lead in putting content behind paywalls. While The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal have had success with the model, most publishers will conclude that this works only with specialized content targeted at affluent audiences.

Company Implications
To navigate the complicated media landscape, communications agencies will need to modernize their staff with special digital training and boost specialty units or divisions of digital strategists. Companies will need to see PR and marketing as key competencies, with hard metrics that can be measured through various digital applications.

As communications strategies become increasingly more sophisticated, PR professionals will need to integrate social media strategies directly into overall strategies. The new landscape will necessitate a re-alignment in PR target opportunities, given the vastly broadening array of influencers. Economic pressures and expansion in media bandwidth/coverage space will produce an increasing number of creative merges and shotgun marriages and a reinvention of the medium in 2011. That will result in multiple platforms per outlet.  An understanding of outlet reach and new ranking in the media firmament will be key to communicate to clients.

Leave a Reply