Media Revolution: Stop Press?

Tonight the BBC aired part one of a three part mini series entitled Media Revolution: Stop Press? for their Money Programme series, presented by Janet Street-Porter.

It was interesting to hear the views of Rupert Murdoch & Martin Sorrell… but I couldn’t help thinking they were still missing the point somewhat (although that could be down to editing). Rupert Murdoch stated “the world is changing and newspapers have to adapt to that, consumers want choice, it seems it is even harder to make profits from online publishing than from old-fashioned newsprint. With so many free news sites to choose from, no one seems prepared to pay money to read newspapers online.” I agree with most of this, but I still think that consumers will part with their money for convenience & good service (think music & iTunes), the current websites are focused around how convenient and user friendly it is for the newspapers themselves, they’re still expecting users to come to their websites, (how about when I’m not online? newspapers were portable!) and as to hoping advertising with fill the gap of non-subscription? it won’t!

Martin Sorrell stated “Many people say newspapers are going to die. I don’t think newspapers will die because they are the best way, or one of the best ways along with TV, of reaching large sections of the population… That’s not going away.” As the chief executive of advertising agency WPP who spend $70bn a year on newspaper & magazine advertising he would say that wouldn’t he?!

I don’t see how Martin Sorrell can state “newspapers & TV as the best medias for reaching large sections of the population” as the statistics speak for themselves, advertising revenues for newspapers has dropped 20%, and newspapers have lost 2.25 million readers in the UK this year alone! As to TV advertising, that’s in melt down as well, the major independant commercial TV networks are in serious trouble!

I have enormous respect and admiration for both of these gentlemen, both of whom are at the top of their respective games, but I feel that they’re somewhat misinformed or missing the real nub of the problem. Readers & viewers are leaving because they’re not being given what they want. The news content is still the same high quality, but they don’t want it delivered on paper and simply replacing it with a website covered in adverts isn’t going to do it either! You get what you pay for, or at least you should

For more details about the programme read this or visit the money programme page on the BBC website. If you’re a UK resident you can catch the episode again on 11 Feb 2.05am or on the BBC iPlayer here for the next 7 days.