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Trends reshaping the future of news stations

Trends reshaping the future of news stations

2017 witnessed Israel’s Channel 1[1] nightly news ending its 49-year old journey abruptly. Closer home, NDTV took its English business news channel NDTV Profit[2] off the air in June. Regional (Kannada) news channel Udaya News[3] also shut down operations in 2017 due to losses.

In countries like the UK and the US, television viewership has declined on an average by 3 to 4% annually since 2012. When compared with the decline in newspaper circulation, there is a steep decline of 25 – 30% since the 2000s in the traditional consumption of news.

Though traditional television formats like 24-hour news channel and evening bulletins still cater to a large audience, with news being easily accessible in the age of digital media, television news providers are facing aging and eroding audience on traditional platforms.

Legacy broadcasters like PSB, BBC, CNN, RTL, ARD/ZDF, TF1, France Télévisions, ITV, etc. are experimenting with online video news to reach younger audiences in this changing environment. Print media, both in India and abroad, like the Daily Telegraph, Vice, Economic Times, Times of India, and New York Times, have started incorporating video as part of their digital strategy. The industry also has some pure digital players like NowThis, WatchUp, Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed is focused on building an audience for distributed viewing via platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

While these are still on experimental stage, we list four key trends below that will reshape the face of news channels:

Mobile Journalism

Thanks to social media, even an ordinary man is a broadcaster today. The newsroom has evolved from being linear to circular. People know what is happening in the blink of an eye. With social media channels becoming a valuable tool to reach out to the potential viewers, news broadcasters are in a rat race to deliver news first across all available platforms. This has led to the emergence of mobile journalism.

Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report indicate a steady growth in mobile use for news. From newsgathering to production, distribution, and consumption, mobile affects every stage of news. Newscasters have started reporting live from the venue using applications like Skype, Hangout, Google’s Duo, etc. Mobile phone cameras are replacing DSLRs to capture superior quality images and videos to be telecasted directly. There is no time lag from ground zero to the living rooms of the viewers, as the production control room (PCR) patches the audio/video of the reporter with the anchor and he is live on-air in practically no time with his news report.

However, broadcasters need to realize that ‘mobile first’ journalism does not only mean rearranging the newsroom or having a responsive website, but about having hyper-relevant, short, and visual stories to tell. Content management system needs to accommodate new and varied formats to cater to multiple devices and platforms.

Distributed Content

Both digital start-ups and legacy broadcasters have started pursuing distributed video strategies. Broadcasters are offering content on third-party platforms without dragging users away from the platform they choose to be on. Analytics company Tubular Labs report BuzzFeed, NowThis News, and AJ+ among the top ten most viewed ‘creators’ across Vine, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Tubular Labs estimate that CNN generated 214 million views in January 2016 and Fox News about 172 million[4]. CNN’s ‘Great Big Story’ initiative is an example of how some legacy broadcasters have embraced distributed viewing, and one clear takeaway is that socially distributed videos should be different not only from television clips, but also from website content[5].

However, broadcasters need to address the challenges around monetization and the risk of losing a direct relationship with the audience while pursuing distributed video strategies.

Live Streaming News

Live streaming news is still in its infancy. While some breaking news like terror attacks and events like Olympics do see a spike in the audience, the regular news is yet to catch up. However, news agencies and broadcasters do realize the demand for content around live events.

Apps like Twitter’s Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook LiveStream are offering live streaming to witness events, where much of the content is offered by ‘citizen journalists.’ Broadcasters like BBC is developing its mobile aggregated content and live video stream – Newstream – that would offer both in-depth analysis and immediate stories. CBS News runs a 24/7 online live stream running content from the news division and affiliates.

However, broadcasters need to address the editorial challenges and the business prospects around live streaming to explore this trend completely.

Long Form

Broadcasters are also experimenting with a longer form of content, mostly interactive videos and documentaries to stand out in the competition. News agencies like Sky News and New York Times are experimenting with virtual reality, allowing users to have an immersive experience of major events from their smartphone. Vice, which started as a print magazine has built an online presence among the younger audience with its documentaries. Although the long form of content is yet to have mass adoption, producers foresee it developing into a mainstream application helping brands carve out a distinct identity.

However, the challenge is to find an approach that adds value to the longer form of content and stays beyond 24 hours – be it by being compelling, having a background, novelty or an angle to the story.

To survive the rat race and remain profitable, news broadcasters need to devise new strategies to reach out to the masses effectively. The news is no longer only about what is happening, but about how the common man wants to view and interpret what has happened and predict the future outcome.

[1] https://www.timesofisrael.com/with-two-hours-notice-and-after-49-years-channel-1-news-goes-off-the-air/
[2]http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/ndtv-to-bring-down-curtains-on-ndtv-profit-117060101597_1.html
[3] https://tvnews4u.com/sun-tv-network-mulls-closing-operations-udaya-news-gemini-news/
[4] https://tubularlabs.com/yt/cnn, https://tubularlabs.com/fb/foxnews
[5] http://www.gulfcoasthurricanecenter.com/many-people-turning-away-local-news/
Big Data and Media Organizations: A Big Impact

Big Data and Media Organizations: A Big Impact

If we were to define “Big Data” in the simplest definition, the term refers to voluminous amounts of organized and disorganized data that organizations can potentially mine or examine for business gains. Big data includes volume of data, velocity of data, variety of structured and unstructured data and most importantly data which has perceived value in context to business insights.

The ability to access, analyze and manage vast volumes of data while rapidly evolving the Information Architecture is crucial to Media & Entertainment Companies. Media companies procure reams of data every minute from every sector of their organization-advertising/sales, readership, user ship, content and accounting. The main sources of data collection are Social Media, Web Browsing Patterns, Traditional Enterprise Data from Operational Systems, Data from Data Aggregators, Advertising Response Data, Demographic Data & Historical M&E Data.

No one in the enterprise can ignore the 24/7/365 onslaught of news and social media. The amount of global media, including worldwide production of online and print news, articles, blogs and broadcast has exploded. Business data is doubling every 1.2 years. Social Media is the significant platform for big data. More than 1.4 billion online consumers are spending 22 percent of their time in social media. 172 million individuals visit Facebook each day, 30+ billion pieces of data added to Facebook each month, 40 million Twitter individuals each day, 22 million LinkedIn individual users each day, 20 million Google+ individual users each day, 17 million individual users each day and 2 million blog posts are written each day. Surprisingly, streaming videos take up more than 1/3 of the internet traffic during normal television watching hours. 72 hours of videos are added to YouTube every minute and this number is surely mind boggling. 1.3 exabyte’s of data sent and received by mobile internet users each month, more than 35million apps are downloaded each day and finally “more iPhone’s are sold than babies born each day.”

This revolution in technology will make media advertising enjoy a renaissance of sorts. Technology innovation will make it possible to trim a great deal of waste out of advertising by making it more precise. As advertising becomes more precise, it will become more efficient, which will drive up its ROI. This higher ROI will then lead to more investment in advertising. High advertisement budget will become smart business move. Accessing the right data-set and filtering out the noise contributes immensely to the success of the process.

Netflix’s creation of “House of Cards” is a well-documented example of Big data vis a vis Media & Entertainment Companies. Netflix concluded from the analysis of their customers their likes and dislikes, including ratings that indicated that many were fans of political dramas. Netflix also comprehended that they liked the actor Kevin Spacy and that they appreciated David Fincher’s work. Such well-researched data-set helped frame the highly successful creation of “House of Cards”. The impact on Netflix is that targeted programming is bringing them more subscribers and greater revenue, profitability, and market share.

Finally, not only Media & Entertainment companies, political data analytics has advanced from simple micro targeting to true predictive data science, and the track record is good. The Big data team of Donald Trump, President-elect, United States of America has a mammoth role to play. The polls, the pundits and the models predicted the win months back.  Oczkowski, Director of product for the president-elect’s data team Cambridge Analytica, says, “Data’s alive and kicking. It’s just how you use it and how you buck normal political trends to understand your genre.”

The pattern of consumer consumption of information, movies, music, television and entertainment as well as the competitive nature of M&E companies assure that those that take advantage of big data to augment what they know about their business, will continue to be leaders. They will continue to invent new and better business processes and efficiencies and they will do so by evolving their Information Architecture in an impactful manner.