>> Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I recently attended a discussion with Michael Wolff, contributor to Vanity Fair. His discussion revolved around the death of the newspaper as we know it. According to Michael, the news vehicles of the future are Twitter, Facebook, and aggregated news sites, all of which act as filters and forward news from original sources.
This highlights the consumers’ change in behavior when it comes to searching for content and news. The breadth and currency of content from the new sources has triumphed over the depth newspapers offer. Younger consumers find added value in live feeds over in-depth analyses and biases from the traditional media providers. They are in an environment that values speed and efficiency of information above all else.
The new wave of consumers finds added value based on the filter through which the content is being accessed, rather than the original source. They access the site that best addresses their needs in filtering which news is relevant and reliable, regardless of the reputation of the original source. They rely on opinions from other users as much as they do from the original editor. The internet outlets allow the consumer to itself become a filter and forward its opinions of the news on to its peers. This two-way exchange of information is empowering to consumers and increases their engagement with the sites.
Michael explained that although there is still question regarding how the future of news media will shake out, newspapers will undoubtedly die fast. I agree that until traditional news media companies acknowledge the needs and values of the new consumer, they don’t have a standing chance. They must accept that their reputation alone will not sell their content, but rather need to add value through a new method of distribution and consumer engagement.
Sr. Client Financial Analyst