Wilkinson at ISOJ: Newspapers must adapt in “age of micro media”

AUSTIN, TEXAS_ Newspapers have to adapt to the “age of micro media” in which every unit of content must have value, INMA chief Earl Wilkinson told attendees Friday morning at the International Symposium on Online Journalism.

Determining their content’s value should be a top priority for newspapers, because content value can serve as a proxy for engagement in the Digital Age, Wilkinson said during a fiery, impassioned presentation.

Even if  newspapers never charge for content, segmenting “content platform,  audiences” forces a market approach to growth and places them in the context of today’s “abundance of information,” Wilkinson said.

The traditional business model will not survive,  Wilkinson said.

“We clearly have reached a point where we need alternative funding sources,” he said.

Advertising will account for a smaller portion of a newspapers’ revenue, but won’t disappear entirely, Wilkinson said.  The pure value of content, however, keeps changing.  Newspapers must find ways to monetize content, which will require significant leadership and industry collaboration, Wilkinson said.

The global recession accelerated changes to the news industry.

“It’s transformed our business models and we’re never going to go back,” Wilkinson said.

Newspapers are going through transformation and evolution, but they’re not going to die, Wilkinson said.

The future media landscape will consist of less advertising and smaller companies, Wilkinson said. There will be less journalists, but more editors as print complexity is replaced by a digital one.  According to Wilkinson, newspapers should invest more in sales, marketing and research, while focusing on product development and speedy delivering of news enhanced through social media.

Wilkinson says that  “Value= Audience + content + platform”

I found myself often nodding in agreement during Wilkinson’s presentation because, in my humble opinion, he “gets it.”  His presentation, more than any other, has me fired up to present my paper proposing a new business model tomorrow.

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