Clement Charles

Clement Charles 's thoughts
June 11th, 2012

Media and newspaper can get out of the crisis. If they want to.

Newspapers and media are in crisis since a few years facing the challenges of the change. Despite that, consensus remains strong on the absolute necessity to have quality and relevant media for a healthy democratic society.


The first problem is the external pressure on revenue. This pressure comes as much from the change of technological context or from the always more intense competition between various outlets than from the increase of production costs (price of paper, logistics) or of the lower advertising revenue.


More discreet and subtle, but also more profound and problematic, the second issue is the production logic, within newsrooms which are demotivated and full of questions around their role in society. Historically valorized for the production of original and unique content, journalists reach the limits of their capacity to deliver added value in specialized subjects outside their field of expertise or in generalist top stories content, telling again and again what everybody knows already.


Medias already have the solution to their revenue problems: resale their unique content, after publication, to other medias and other platforms, in original and/or translated versions.


The second step is the true setting-up of outsourcing acquisition policy to acquire important contents that are outside the natural field added value of the media.


International analysis, reports from conflict zones or very narrow vertical topics, these contents already exist, in excellent quality, at competitive prices, not yet made available in the region of the buyer. An article about the war in Syria or on the US election, as well as a page on natural health tips or video games reviews, are excellent examples of articles which should be produced uniquely by newsrooms that can deliver an expertise and an exclusive added value to the content, and then should be resold to the other media that want to cover the same subject but without having the same resources internally. Taking a day of work to compile little stories from agencies about conflicts in the Middle East does not create any added value and kills the moral as much as the journalist to his reader, when at the opposite, talents in the newsroom have an unique skill and exclusive competence of creating unique content expected by his target audience.


Combined, these two methods can increase revenues while releasing a large part of the existing resources of the newsroom to allocate them on projects that create an unique set of value, the only one that can strengthen the link between the media brand and its final clients. While increasing its audience and by diversifying its revenue, the media re-motivates its troops and show them that their investment, their views and their curiosity are the key elements of the value creation.


Personally, I am 100% convinced that those methods allow media to come out of the vicious circle that they have been living in for the past ten years, and such, to engage the virtuous circle, the only one that allows to get out of the crisis. I want to share it that my peers.



Clément Charles |