The challenges of digital media

Very interesting session at yesterday evening 200Club meeting. Presentation and discussion around the issues of digital media and the challenge to traditional publishing channels (esp newspapers).

The main themes

Ubiquity of potential access

  • The whole world is one click away
  • Physical distribution costs dwindle
  • Marketing becomes the challenge

Fragmentation of distribution channels

  • Traditional channels don’t work
  • The value chain is shorter
  • Elephants on your doorstep
  • Mice in your cupboard

Everyone is a publisher

  • the blogsphere challenges content value
  • democratisation of access to facts and opinions questions publisher value add
  • competitors can arrive from anywhere – and do

Freedom of information?

  • Advertising demands traffic demands free content
  • Users assume all content should be free

The Winners

Google, eBay, Craigslist,
Information users

  • Huge range of free content
  • Newspapers individual and collective share of voice is tiny

Search engines

  • Huge choice puts premium on navigation
  • Google wins traffic and ads

Free web aggregators

  • Magenta, Moreover et al grow
  • Newspapers putting more and more content online Newswires

Everyone needs news

  • Traditional dependence on newspapers as distributors dwindles
  • Specialists




  • Ads going online, fast
  • Monopoly of local supply is breaking
  • Users are disappearing – kids don’t read

Business newspapers

  • Their news coverage is historic
  • Their specialist content is covered more fully by specialist sites

Paid aggregators

  • If Magenta can cover 20,000 sources, who needs Factiva?
  • Publishers value advertising supported revenue over paid revenue

Information specialists
Proving added value becomes harder
Users go direct to the web – any you cant stop that


The web creates many opportunities

  • But the best require specialist focus, an understanding of interactive and
  • transactional publishing that is foreign to many publishers

News is a especially vulnerable to change

  • Multiplicity of suppliers, multiplicity of needs, means consumer choice must drive change

Transactional services will dominate

  • Web is a superb transactional medium. Information will be given away to support advertising and sales even more than it always has.

B2B publishers time will come
When all court records are online, and state and charitable funders require research to be published, their current splendid insulation will end

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