A New Mindset in the Media Industry; Reinvent or Die



In the context of the digital era, the media industry has been, without a doubt, one of the most impacted on a global level. The way in which new technologies have revolutionized and transformed this sector, was addressed for the first time in our country in the latest version of the Singularity University Summit led by BeSTinnovation.



In this instance, I was quite struck by the surprise that this issue generated in the audience, considering that this revolution in the media is not recent or local but has been generated for decades and worldwide since the advent of the Internet.


The figures, in fact, are compelling. In England more than 190 local media have closed since 2005, and in the United States more than 1,000 local print media have ceased operations. In Argentina, between 2016 and 2017, at least six media were recovered by the cooperatives formed by their own workers. In 2016, the media industry in the United States decreased from a valuation of 60 trillion dollars to 20 trillion dollars; The Washington Post has decreased its annual advertising revenue by 13% and the New York Times by 9%. In 2016, 90% of websites reported that unique visitors on mobile devices had overshadowed the desktop and 90% of digital advertising growth came from only two companies: Google and Facebook.


All these changes have impacted, of course, employment. In the United States, the newspaper and magazine industry has lost around 113,000 jobs in the last two years, while internet advertising and digital marketing companies have generated around 114,000 new jobs.


At the local level, we also have several examples of how digital disruption has affected the media: the integration strategy of Paula magazine, Pulso and Qué Pasa to La Tercera, the reconversion of Channel 13 and the reinvention of media such as Mega. They have openly declared their need to open up to new alternatives and digital platforms. And this will continue to happen with increasing force both in Chile and worldwide, so that the media that are not able to reinvent themselves, will simply die in the attempt.


Consequently, the challenge for this industry is to rethink its business models, to understand what the consumer's needs are and to be able to respond to them, since these have also evolved profoundly. So, for example, there are many print media companies that have converted their model from old classified ads to other online verticals such as: real estate, jobs and automotive sales. Other media are experimenting with business models with mobile technology and ancillary businesses such as conferences, loyalty and e-commerce. So, there are many ways in which a media company can reinvent itself and adapt to this digital age.


Some suggestions that the media should take into account, in my opinion, have to do mainly with:


  • Find ways to improve and reinvent your business model TODAY.

  • Digitalize the business model through various stages, mainly driven by data and focus on specific audiences, rethinking the classification of said target audiences. Here, it is key to enhance the user experience (UX), designing customer experiences. Some examples would be mobile devices that facilitate navigation, the export of an article to a social networking site, have the option to save or share it and give answers to users in real time.

  • Explore what new business models can be created adjacent from existing data and infrastructure.


The question is, then, if we are prepared to take on these new challenges. And not only at the media level but also at the academic level ... Are Chilean universities prepared to redesign their academic networks and teach a new form of journalism?


Today, the media are at a breaking point and it is the minute to rethink what and how communications will adapt to the digital age. For me, this challenge does not represent a threat, but rather, a tremendous opportunity for both the media and the users.


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© 2018 Bárbara Silva