The Media Industry's Digital Road to Recovery

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When I started out at my first job as a journalist at a local daily newspaper in Pittsburgh nearly 20 years ago, we wrote our articles on a PC with a green screen using a DOS prompt. The Internet was only in its infancy so we relied on a combination of microfiche, the Yellow Pages, and knocking on doors for our research and to track down sources. By the time I landed my second job at a newspaper journalist in Connecticut, the Internet had advanced to the point where the publisher thought it was important enough to order a single AOL account for all the reporters to share, accessible from a single desktop computer.
Digital Engagement

When I started out at my first job as a journalist at a local daily newspaper in Pittsburgh nearly 20 years ago, we wrote our articles on a PC with a green screen using a DOS prompt. The Internet was only in its infancy so we relied on a combination of microfiche, the Yellow Pages, and knocking on doors to conduct our research and to track down sources. By the time I landed my second job at a newspaper journalist in Connecticut, the Internet had advanced to the point where the publisher thought it was important enough to order a single AOL account for all the reporters to share, accessible from a single desktop computer.

My fellow reporters would wait in line to conduct our research or find an address, grumbling about the long wait and the slow searching capabilities. The B2C side of the business was not much different. Residents received their papers on their doorsteps every morning, called circulation to resolve an issue, and contributed handwritten letters to the editor. Local businesses bought static print advertisements.

My experience, while it sounds like it occured in the 1950s, didn't happen all that long ago. The media and publishing industry, while fraught with traditional business models and stalled by prohibitive budgets that prevented it from advancing rapidly at the dawn of the Web, has made strides in recent years. In today's article, "The Media Industry's Real-Time Endeavors," Cynthia Clark explores the digital advancements made among media outlets and how some brands like The Boston Globe are tailoring content to individual customers.

Robert Saure, the newspaper's director of customer experience and innovation, said the move toward digital is allowing the company to provide information as it's happening. Through a robust customer service strategy, the newspaper rectifies issues on the spot, and delivers news at is happens through a smartphone app. Finally, chat functionality affords customers the opportunity to self-serve, including making payments and scheduling delivery times.

The Boston Globe and other media outlets have also shown their commitment to social media and it's working to grow their audiences. In fact, a recent Pew Research Journalism Project survey found that 50 percent of social network users share or repost news stories, images, or videos while nearly as many as 46 percent discuss news issues or events on social network sites.

Media outlets are also finding new revenue streams through custom content.The New York Times, The Washington Post, and most recently The Wall Street Journal have now begun or announced plans to begin devoting staff to this kind of advertising as a part of a new "custom content division."

Although the media industry's efforts to enable a real-time, digital enterprise--both internally and externally--are improving, Clark points out how the road to true one-to-one real-time, relevant engagement is long. Getting there will require investments in the technologies and strategies and enable the collection, analysis, and optimization of data intelligence. Also, overcoming cost pressures and the need to align creative and business teams will be strategic imperatives for media outlets as they continually search for new ways to enable the real-time enterprise

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION