The technological revolution that changed the face of the world impacted few areas as much as the information of citizenship: suddenly the media traditional not only did they begin to compete with media digital, but also with supports that grew on the content circulation, and also fake newslike the social networks. The advertising stopped being income from television or newspapers to go to competitors who didn't even sell journalism, how YouTube or Instagram. Suddenly powerful media companies did not know how to make their business profitable.
AND then came the coronavirus.
"The advertising and circulation fall below 25% of what they were in 2014"Predicted Eduardo Tessler, the Brazilian journalist (O Globo, Estadão, Rede Bom Dia) and media consultant at Latin America and Europe from Midiamundo. He spoke from his home to an audience of journalists and media entrepreneurs who were watching him from theirs because the social distance that imposed the COVID-19 prevented the annual meeting SIP Connect that the Inter-American Press Association (SIP) usually performs in Miami.
"That makes imperative a reinvention of the media"He proposed. "2015 It was the first year of the sharp decline in newspapers in many Latin American countries. Many said it was something momentary, that soon everything would return to normal. But the decline continued in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and always worse. Now, with the coronavirus, we have to accept that that scenario is over"
What was known as normal it seems to have vanished, not only from the media horizon but from that of people all over the planet. That implies, ”he quoted Arianna Huffington, writer and editor of The Huffington Post- learning a lesson: far from trying to return to something that, in reality, was not working very well, for many the opportunity to "rise up and do something better"
Tessler summarized the situation of the media at the end of 2019: in addition to the loss of circulation of print, advertising sales fell and sales were affected. shareholder benefits. Also the media relevance, something that was a mark of identity, was weakening: “About 10 years ago you came to any city and quickly realized that there was a strong newspaper. You saw the publicity on the streets, the people who read it in the parks and on public transport, the copies on the tables in cafes. Today that hardly exists"
At the same time digital audience increased, thereby restoring confidence in the brand that made the transition and journalistic creativity was accelerated, with new formats (“Year after year, examples of very innovative ways of telling a story appear”) that in turn brought new income. But fixed costs were risingon the one hand of the dollarized web services and by another one of the paper media that they have dollarized inputs and a distribution “just as expensive as when they sold five times more”.
While the first consequences advanced on reality -layoffs, cutbacks in circulation, closure of physical structures- The number of people reporting on the screens of their phones, tablets, and laptops increased. "There is no doubt that we are digitized"He added.
If “the history of the journalistic world is divided into two”, as he proposed, “before coronavirus (AC) and after coronavirus (DC)"It is very important to unite all the factors that affect the industry to turn the situation into a unique opportunity for the media in general, local or national."
For the expert who participated in the digital transformation of O Balloon, among other 30 international projects, it is common to think at once about all aspects of a medium, from the drafting to commercial management, from audiences to integration of alternatives. That is why he said that in the DC era the media have to "regain relevance" and to do so is convenient for them. "Take on a startup spirit".
Part of that attitude is "having the size that the business demands", he developed. "Today we keep gigantic buildings for very few people, or positions whose logic has been lost ”. He proposed an exercise in imagination: open a competitive medium in the same street as his own. "Surely we would imagine it with half the structure and costs."
Open questions that shake basic concepts, as for example that the newspaper comes out, as its name implies, each 24 hours. "The Tampa Bay Tribune, which is the best-selling newspaper in Florida, United States, lowered its frequency from seven days to just two, on Wednesdays and Sundays, ”he illustrated. The rest of the week the edition is only on-line. Other cases, he noted, are not published on Mondays; The economic ones do not go out on weekends and others only go out on Saturday and Sunday. "Must evaluate each case, each city, each society to decide what is better ”.
Also the image of the legendary nose editor flakes off: not always a great print director will be a great director of a multiplatform medium, nor a star reporter of newspapers will do something equivalent in video. "We must ask ourselves what people profile we need, ”Tessler continued. "Based on good journalism, the challenge is to find different, agile, positive, innovative people, who are not afraid of being daring." Companies face a change the profile of your products, in which there will be "a mix, where the form will be one of the points but not the heart".
In addition to restructuring, the DC journalism "Requires the ability to reinvent" He cited the cases of O Povo, from Fortaleza, who launched into multistreaming; also that of The Guardian, from London, who instead of charging a subscription opted for the crowdfunding. Tessler coordinated the project for which O Balloon he put the great strength of each day on digital and a complementary value on print. "We went from 24,000 digital subscriptions to almost 200,000 today."
In this new profile, the media find unexpected competitors, arisen from the new technologies. "They are not journalistic companies, but they do some kind of journalism: a youtuber scientist, singer Anitta”, He gave the influencer Brazilian. "These people occupy a space in the information agenda of the people", that is to say, these are the competitors of traditional informants.
Equivalent operations can also be made from the journalistic company, such as generating derived income of the resources used in the main operation, such as network management or printing for third parties; or events, with paid tickets and sponsors, in addition to direct marketing and branded content.
The AC media bring some strengths to the DC era: already they know their audiences well and they know how to do quality journalism. They have also undergone transformations technological, although stumbling: some saved and it was a mistake, others invested more than they needed and have serious debts. "I say that technology, audience and journalism it is the most holy trinity of new media companies ”, he summarized.
"It will be necessary to think a different newsroom, in which journalists understand that there are many different ways of connect with the audience"He continued. The creativity It rules: it is also not possible to submit to the dogma of the digital empire and decree the death of print. “The old form is dead. But there is tremendous space for print that is capable of offering something different. ”
It also changes the concept of being support from the advertiser: “It is not enough to put the advertising of a client, you have to help you sell your products, being co-responsible until the success of the business ”. And a figure gains space in the writing: the data analyst. The data should drive the quality of the media. "A deep analysis of the Chartbeat metrics from Google Analytics, who tell us about the behavior of the audience. And the people who do it must contribute ideas, understand the move, not only carry a list of the most viewed ".
The rebirth of DC journalism is possible in "a new model that puts journalism at the center." The importance of breaking news does not change: “The News it is what 99% of digital media know how to do ”. Neither the value added provided by intelligent texts, analysis with commentary and other forms of "refinement of content" And more than before productions matter interactive, with digital language, made for the web.
"You have to accept that 2015 is over," Tessler closed. "We can understand the new informational interests of the audience, create connection strategies with people and not be afraid of change ”.
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