Originally uploaded by Rory Brown
Over the past few months I have done a few pieces of consultancy work for a range of media companies. Most of it has been around managing the transition from an analogue to a digital world.
We talk about the different ‘publishing’ disciplines involved online and of incorporating new tools into their websites with community elements, social media, blogs and video.
We talk about search engine optimisation to open up the content to a raft of new visitors; about different advertising opportunities and the various models for paid content.
We talk about moving our content up the value chain so that it can really become ‘must have’ rather than ‘nice to have’.
It’s all good and exciting stuff. The things that a modern media company must be doing and yet we are still left with a problem.
The problem is that there are hardly any examples of print products that have transitioned online and been a commercial success. Print pounds get turned into digital pennies and publishers are forced to prop up their declining brands rather than turning them off.
So maybe we need to start looking at things in a different way. Maybe instead of looking at the transition of a product that was successful in a different medium we should be actively looking to bring those products down. We should be launching the very start-ups that threaten our eco-system around the edges of our brands.
If we don’t do it, then someone else undoubtedly will.
As Claire Enders of Enders Analysis said recently “The expectations that the online model is going to replace the print model are totally erroneous. We know now that these are not substitutes. It’s basically an extra feature one way or another.”