Strategies for Longer Term Transformation of Print Media and Short Term Viability

Why the Future of Print Media is good

There are many experts who have been claiming that the age of newspapers is over and hence, the future of media is digital. However, if statistics are anything to go by, print media are still relevant and their bottom lines are healthy in Asian countries. However, the future of print media lies in transforming themselves to complement digital media and concurrently retain the print aspect. To actualize this, print media need a longer-term strategy and at the same time a plan to stay viable in the short term. This article discusses some of the strategies that print media can follow as they transition to a digital media complementary business model and at the same time remain competitive in the short term.

The basic premise of this article is that while consumers read news in the digital medium for real time needs, they read the newspapers for views and opinions that the digital and visual media often fail to provide in the 24/7 saturated coverage model.

Longer Term Transformations and Short-Term Viability

The key aspect of a longer-term transformation of the print media business model into a model where newspapers coexist with digital formats is the funding of the journey from print to combination of print and digital. This means that media houses would need to restructure costs, increase revenues, and maintain near-term shareholder value. The bottom line imperative is that the print media cannot win without funding and getting the team that is needed to build the organization as it transforms is not likely to happen without some early wins in the process. Hence, many studies have concluded that the print media need to think out of the box when they are faced with transforming themselves over the longer term and at the same time ensure that they do not go out of business in the near-term.

Visualize the Outcome

The media houses embarking on the transformation have to visualize the end state of the process i.e. whether they would like to have digital complementing print, or supplementing it, or a digital alone strategy.

The point here is that when synergies are sought to be achieved by having any of these outcomes, the media houses must first determine the optimal outcome according to their capabilities and competencies. This involves estimating the costs of the transformation, finding the funders, and conceptualizing the organizational changes needed for the transformation. As has been mentioned in the previous section, the double whammy of finding funding and building the team without short-term wins means that the task before the media houses is indeed arduous. This is the reason why media houses with visionary leaders often make the cut whereas traditional media houses, though respected, often go out of business because they are unable to manage the transition.

Closing Thoughts

Given these imperatives, the media houses that are embarking on the transformation should focus on high quality content and strong editorial voices. After all, the print as well as the digital media are driven by content and where content is king and content rules, the focus on quality must not be sacrificed at any cost.

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