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Media figures still in the dark about future

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The more I read about predictions for the future of media by senior media figures, the more apparent it becomes how few of them have any clue where things are going.
Two recent reports, one from the World Editors’ Forum & Reuters, the other by Accenture, illustrate this in spades. The first, based on interviews with ’435 of the world’s editors-in-chief, deputy editors and senior news executives’ (from Roy Greenslade), suggests many of them have given up worrying and are now adopting a Panglossian view. 85% appear to agree with Voltaire’s character that ‘All is for the best in this the best of all possible worlds’ (i.e. that they will enjoy a bright future). 50% believe that journalistic quality will improve over the next 10 years. And 75% see increased interactivity with readers as a positive development for quality journalism.
The second report is less sanguine. Amongst other findings it picks up, and contradicts, this last point. Accenture interviewed 110 media executives in the US and Europe. The biggest challenge, 57% of them said, was how to deal with user generated content. “To succeed in this environment,” Universal Studios’ Doug Neil said, “you need to innovate and anticipate the needs of the consumer, be willing to take risks and try new things.” Take a punt, in other words.
Accenture themselves appear to be equally clueless about the direction of media. Gavin Mann, one of the authors of the report, informs us that: “Traditional, established content providers will have to adapt and develop new business and monetization models in order to keep revenue streams flowing. The key to success will be identifying new forms of content that can complement their traditional strengths.” New business models? New forms of complementary content? They needn’t have done 110 interviews to learn that.

Written by Martin Moore

April 17th, 2007 at 12:33 pm

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