Media Landscape Part II
Well, yesterday I wrote about the fact that PEW’s 2009 State of the Media Report findings indicated that in the U.S. only about 34% of the population is reading newspapers (personally, I think that is a bit high) and of that number, the readership population is predominantly an older generation, with a few younger audiences scattered throughout. Newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23% in the last two years. Some papers are in bankruptcy, and others have lost three-quarters of their value.
By recent calculations, nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009? Well, that remains to be seen.
And, today, I read AP news and a few others want to charge money for online news content. ”AP, News Corp bosses tell search engines and bloggers that it is time to pay up” Would you pay for online news? I am not as versed on the international media landscape, but I am sure changes are being felt or noticed overseas as well. I did find a traditional media landscape for Europe for anyone who wants to dig into that area a bit deeper. But, I digress.
OK, so, does AP and the top News Corp bosses sound a bit panicked here? are they mad? Is this an attempt to recover from their own dismal landslide in revenues, as previously noted in the Pew 2009 State of the Media Report? I welcome opinions.
Long story short, print media, i.e. newspapers are struggling. And, if you are unaware of the social media landscape, then developing your strategic public affairs or media relations plan for your organization could render results less than spectacular- you could be in a print newspaper black hole and not even know it. But, who is reading print these days anyway? As I mentioned in my previous blog, only about 34% of the people are doing so. And, what predominant age group? 65+ years old. Is this the circle of influencers or your target audience that you want to reach? I beg, please dig deeper.
When I stumble across companies jumping into the waters of social media unaware “because everyone is doing it or because it’s the hottest thing out there”, or because public relations agencies are pushing social media practices as a “must have” for their clients as part of their new tool box of capabilities-I become just a little nervous. But, contrary to what many may say, social media is not a silver bullet, nor is it ideal for every company. It’s a strategy that should be carefully and strategically researched and considered and its subsequent tools which are designed to take companies to where their target audiences are already conversing.
So, today I want to look at what that “new landscape” might look like with a bit more depth. Ultimately, our goal should be to prepare to advance from the basic direct one-way communication strategy, using those basic media tools of yesterday to a more aligned two-way continuous communications model/strategy where there is true engagement. How, might you ask?
Before you start touting social media, please make sure your own site, your own news room, and press releases are Web 2.0 enabled. Are your own senior executives embracing and using the new media landscape?
Well, first off you need to know what the new media landscape looks like. With a little research I came across a great little visual source which I just have to share which is a little farther below. After taking a look at it, I image you may be saying…”How can you achieve continuous communications across so many channels, simultaneously? Believe me, there is a way to do this with a couple strategies. But, stay tuned, as I will get to that on my next blog post. Now back to our landscape work.
Like I said, being aware of the media landscape is important. The traditional media sources should not be completely ignored nor forgotten but part of your entire media mix. Therefore, I am providing a couple of links to the top 100 US newspapers , the top 100 international newspapers, top radio stations by state and DMA as well as TV networks. We will now take into consideration the “other new” channels.
There is no question that social media is responsible for a dramatic shift in the relationship between those who produce news and those who consume it. And, both traditional and new media are very fragmented. But, consider it another step in the evolution of a more mature continuous communications model. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, to name just a few, are all incorporating innovative uses of the Internet. Who are the top dogs (Websites) in the US?
News subscribers are no longer defined as simple recipients of news, getting information by only reading newspapers, watching television or listening to reports on the radio. Today, consumers of news are also gatherers and distributors of news: they take part in creating it, capturing it, re shaping and disseminating it.
In fact, in a survey of 50 radio newsrooms in the top 50-markets, News Generation uncovered the impact that social media is having in the newsroom. The survey found that nearly half of the newsrooms (45%) use Twitter and Facebook, to offer their technologically savvy audiences an extension to conventional radio to provide another broadcast platform. But, there are so many other channels within the social media construct. Therefore, I would like to introduce the social media prism, a lense through which each petal represents a social media channel.
Source: Strategically, as a communications professional or agency professional, you should want to find yourself at the center of the prism – whether you’re observing, listening or participating. So, with this conversation landscape noted above, how does one manage all the channels? How can you be “one with a channel” or even begin to strategize and garner results with this much fragmentation? Does it make you dizzy just thinking about it? But, to resonate, to be heard, to listen, to be in the mix, you do have to have some idea of what it all looks like and who is out there.
From my observations, there seems to be four main Web 2.o usages that have evolved. And, the various topical usage tools and services displayed in this landscape are listed below.
1. Expressing tools allow users to express themselves, discuss and their social life:
- Publication tools like blogs (Blogger, Typepad, WordPress), wikis (Wikipedia, Wetpaint, Wikia), microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr, Identica), citizen news (Digg, Newsvine, AgoraVox) and livecast (JustinTV, Ustream, BlogTV) ;
- Discussion tools like forums (phpBB, Phorum) and video forum (Seesmic), instant messengers (Y! Messenger, Live Messenger, Meebo, eBuddy), comments services (IntenseDebate, Cocomment, Disqus, BackType) and 3D chats (IMVU, Habbo, WeeWorld, vSide) ;
- Aggregation tools (Topix, FriendFeed, SocialThing, LifeSteam, Profilactic, Plurk…).
2. Sharing tools allow users to publish and share content:
- Content sharing for videos (YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo), pictures (FlickR, SmugMug, Picasa, Fotolog), music and playlists (Last.fm, iLike, Deezer), links (Delicious, Magnolia, Reddit) and documents (Slideshare, Scrib, Slideo) ;
- Product sharing with recommendations platforms (Crowdstorm, ThisNext, StyleHive), collaborative feedback platforms (FeedBack 2.0, UserVoice, GetSatisfaction) or swaping platforms (LibraryThing, Shelfari, SwapTree) ;
- Place sharing with tools based on local adresses (BrighKite, Loopt, Whrrl, Moximity), on events (Upcoming, Zvents, EventFul, Socializr) and on trips (TripWolf, TripSay, Driftr, Dopplr).
3. Networking tools allow users to search, connect and interact with each other’s:
- Search networks allowing users to find ex-classmates (Classmates, MyYearBook, Alumni) or persons (MyLife) ;
- Niche networks (Boompa, Dogster, PatientsLikeMe, Footbo) ;
- B2B networks (LinkedIn, Plaxo, Xing, Viadeo) ;
- Mobile networks (Groovr, MocoSpace, ItsMy, Zannel) ;
- Tools to build an online network (Ning, KickApps, CrowdVine, CollectiveX).
4. Playing services that now integrate strong social features:
- Casual games portals (Pogo, Cafe, Doof, Kongregate, PlayFirst, PopCap, BigFish, Prizee) ;
- Social games portals (Zynga, SGN, ThreeRings, PlayFish, CasualCafe, Farmtown,ChallengeGames) ;
- MMORPGs (World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Lord of the Rings Online, EVE Online, Lineage, Dofus, Runescape) ;
- MMOs (Drift City, Kart Rider, Maple Story, Audition, Combat Arms, Quake Live) ;
- Casual MMOs (Puzzle Pirates, Club Penguin, Neopets, Gaia Online, SmallWorlds, OurWorld).
But, for the communication professional, public affairs, media relations professional do you have to be on top and up to speed on all of them and have uptine # of channel masters working each one? I can hear someone saying in the background now, “I am going to have a media meltdown. How can I keep up?”
Is media still top down? Is it direct one-way communications any more? Or, is it top down and bottom up simultaneously? Anyone have other thoughts on this evolving social media landscape? Hurry, it will change yet again!
Next, we will look at how to distribute through and connect across multiple media channels after you have strategically performed your target audience research.
Have a good weekend everyone!
Sincerely, Alice M. Fisher
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