Print Media Czars Struggle With Digital Upsurge
With competition revving up in the media world, the established print media barons are struggling to cope with the pressure. Barely had the story of Newsweek folding up subsided, when the owners of the 65-year-old prestigious French daily Le Monde sold stakes to a consortium that included Internet and porn media tycoon Xavier Niel, causing angst to French President Sarkozy.
Soon after, the top British daily Guardian went to town ridiculing the failed strategy of its competitor, Rupert Murdoch-owned iconic Times and Sunday Times, to retain viewership after adding a pay-wall for readers of its e-edition. Rubbing salt in the wound, Guardian, which has an advanced open platform to support its own well-subscribed e-edition, wooed celebrated columnist the 'Baby barista' blogger from the Sunday Times fold, and has given an open offer to several others to cross over.
On the other side of the print media turf wars is the dog-eat-dog digital media that survives on advertisement including link-based revenue, Google Adsense and sponsored content that is increasing by the hour. This is also getting highly performance-based depending on the advanced web metrics that track not only unique page views but also the duration of stay. This pushes the onus of bringing and retaining traffic from the SEO geeks to the content developers, which actually should be a huge advantage for the established print media. However there is a big gap in the visual presentation and the processing speed of news, both of which favor the digital media.
The art of getting readers begins with driving traffic to the site, making them stay with new and interesting content and graphics coaxing them to pay for the read either directly through a pay wall or indirectly through advertisements. Whereas it is easy for those who are ready to innovate and learn the value of processing and disseminating news quickly, it is increasingly becoming difficult for the companies who are looking to retain the methods of existing framework of the publishing industry . No wonder even successful publications like the New York Times with a high digital following are treading carefully before they make their e-edition go behind the pay wall. The planning and re-orientation of the paper has been going on for 2 years and the transformation will be formally done only in 2011. This is because readers will start to pay for digital information directly only if it is different and worth the moolah.Continued on the next page