Mumbai: Let’s start with some simple math: Newspapers had an average engagement of one hour in the 90s. That has dropped to two or three minutes today, or 1 / 20th or 1 / 30th of what it was. Even if we imagine that the ad density has stayed the same (it actually increased as the papers got thinner), then the CPMs of newspaper ads today are 20 to 30 times higher than what ‘they were before.
Television and radio statistics tell a similar story. Additionally, due to the untargeted nature of newspapers, TV and radio ads, results are poor. This is why advertisers have shifted their dollars to the new / digital age. Obviously, as advertising revenue is a big driver of the media industry, digital is getting a lot of interest and focus. For that part of mainstream media that is trying to move away from its dependence on advertising, the way forward is still through digital subscription revenue.
The important question is not why new age media should be a focal point for content publishers, but how to execute it successfully. Let’s take a quick look at the changing landscape of content publishing.
Newspapers have been around since the 17th century, radio since the early 20th century, and television since the mid-20th century. With the introduction of each of these forms of media, the richness of media has evolved from text to audio to video. But the basic media delivery has not changed – it has remained one too many.
Early internet and digital media mimicked non-digital media in this regard – websites remained static, one or more content deliveries to all audiences. Editorial teams within traditional digital media companies still manually manage static queues on pages delivered to their audiences. They try to cram as much information as possible onto their homepage due to the low success rate of what they provide to their audience and interests. This limits the usability of digital websites operated by traditional media organizations.
Additionally, traditional media companies tend to be isolated and fail to create a work environment that is conducive to the skills essential to creating good digital consumer products – engineers, designers, product managers, and social / digital marketers. This makes the end-consumer websites and applications created by traditional media several steps behind other digital consumer products.
This has remained true even though the rest of the Internet itself has evolved over phases of consumption – from desktop computers using static bulletin boards and directory services; to a combination of desktops and laptops in research-oriented interfaces; and finally what we see today – mobile consumption driven by discovery and personalization. As a result of this development, audiences today expect their content to be delivered in a personalized, easy-to-consume way and delivered through a functionally and emotionally satisfying product.
This difference between what traditional media organizations provide versus what consumers expect is why there is a huge gap in user engagement (as measured by the number of visits and the length of sessions during those visits. ) on digital websites operated by traditional media compared to other digital websites. content providers such as social media. Traditional media companies urgently need to transform in order to bridge this divide.
As CEO of the media, I am not going to water down the difficulty of the journey that awaits us. This journey is difficult, both in its initiation and in its sustenance. I saw this personally while leading the transformation of one of the largest media brands in India as Digital CEO and Group and Digital Director. In my role as CEO, I had to build a strong, growing and profitable digital business to form the future core of the company. In my role as CDO, I had to help the rest of the group to transform and become digital first. This portfolio included India’s largest network of radio stations, some of the country’s largest and best-known newspapers, and an extensive education portfolio.
We overcame resistance to change and other challenges to create one of the only two profitable digital media companies in the country. We have put the larger group on a solid transformation path, pulling out of non-core areas with poor organizational fit and investing in areas of growth, especially in digital. Many talents have entered the company in areas such as technology, digital content leadership, product design and user experience. This team ended up creating one of the fastest growing traditional media websites in the world.
Today, digital is the jewel of the media house. But much of the talent needed for its growth has dispersed and the global transformation has stalled. The trip started off well but was difficult to sustain.
(Rajiv Bansal is the Founder and CEO of OPOYI.com. The opinions expressed in the column are personal and Indiantelevision.com may not agree with them)