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More tough times and tough decisions for the media

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 23rd September 2009

Our interview last week with Computing editor Bryan Glick highlighted the significant changes journalists have seen in the last 10 years.

And there have been further suggestions recently (as if any were needed) that the industry is in a state of flux and some tough decisions will need to be made to secure its future.

Firstly, London’s afternoon freesheet, The London Paper, folded citing poor advertising revenues and, with £12.9m losses, clearly a flawed business plan.

And then, despite the protestations from Rupert Murdoch that newspapers will have to charge for online content in the future, a Harris Interactive survey for Paid:Content UK finds that “if their favourite news site begins charging for access to content, three quarters of people would simply switch to an alternative free news source.”

Just five percent would choose to pay to continue reading the site.

So where is the money coming from? Advertising revenue is down. Print is dead dying. And in a country where we have a free news service provided by BBC, is anyone ever really going to pay for news?

From a PR perspective, we are seeing the changes too. Journalists are less and less willing to leave the office, with 24 hour news-cycles, fewer colleagues and the pressure to be the first to break stories.

News will survive, but PRs (and clients) and journalists (and publishers) need to adapt to the changing environment to survive and thrive.

Danny Whatmough