Spotlight on the New Business Media

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THE MEDIA LANDSCAPE has changed beyond recognition. There was a time when we got our news by listening to the radio, reading the local papers, watching TV or simply chatting to friends. Now we can consume media non-stop 24/7 – whether it’s online, via social media, via mobile devices. It never stops.

According to the 2016 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, which surveyed over 50,000 online news consumers in 26 countries, almost everywhere we are seeing the continued adoption of online platforms and devices for news with growth in distributed news consumption. Half of respondents (51%) said they use social media as a source of news each week, with around one in ten (12%) saying that it’s their main source. Smartphone usage for news has increased dramatically, with over half (53%) of the global sample using a mobile device.

All of these trends have come at the expense of print, which continues to fall dramatically. In the UK, almost all newspapers have recorded decreases in print circulation, with the Independent moving solely online in March 2016, ceasing production of its newspaper after 30 years. Falling advertising revenues continue to put huge pressure on traditional publishers, who have had to innovate and increase their digital offering to survive.

However, where there is change, there is opportunity. We’re seeing the emergence of a new set of publishers – the so-called digital born players, who are targeting the new digital news consumer. A number of burgeoning players are vying for a share of the news market and our shrinking attention span.

So who are the major new players in the finance and political space?

Titles like Quartz, Business Insider and Politico are shaking up the media market.

The so-called traditional players have responded by investing significantly in their digital offering, and in some cases reinventing themselves, to appeal to this new media consumer. And it’s working. Following the fallout from Brexit, the Guardian gained six weeks’ worth of members in one day, with the FT also reporting a huge spike in online subscriptions. It’s working because the content is good, insightful and, most importantly, trustworthy. Readers trust the likes of the FT and the Guardian – these are brands they’ve known their whole careers. In the turbulent times we are living in now, that really matters. This is where the ‘traditional publishers’, who are now multimedia, multichannel producers, may have the edge over the new digital players.

Source: Reuters Institute Digital News Report, 2016  

So can they all exist together?

As communications professionals, we need to recognize the importance and the influence of both groups. Business Insider, Politico, Quartz and their peers are building up impressive readership figures in a relatively short timeframe.

They have a captive younger audience who want access to fast, visual and appealing content. They need to be considered as part of an effective multimedia strategy, alongside the likes of the FT, Telegraph and New York Times.

In today’s rapidly-changing world, brands and organizations simply need to be where the most important conversations are happening at any given time.

Founded in 2012, Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for business people in the new global economy. In short, it puts the most important business news of the day into a conversation. As my US colleague described to me: “It’s like going to a cocktail party, you are having a conversation about news with fellow guests and you continue the conversation throughout the evening”.

Built primarily for mobile and tablet devices, Quartz is focused on delivering digestible and easy-to-read news that can be easily shared through social media.

Although focused on international business and economics, it writes on a broad range of topics from motherhood to politics to fashion to scientific discoveries.

Part of the “data-driven explanatory news” market, developers and journalists work together to produce digital stories, finding the best ways to report and deliver information online.

Quartz’s main office is in New York City, with correspondents and staff reporters in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. Expansion to other locations is on the horizon.

Launched in 2007 by Henry Blodget, Business Insider is now – according to ComScore – the fastest-growing and number one business publication in the US.

There are seven international editions of Business Insider – in Australia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, and the UK. Targeting the next generation of business leaders, these provide realtime, digital-native business news coverage, with social and mobile at its core.

Business Insider is gaining traction in the UK with its controversial headlines and use of photos and visuals to attract readers, especially a younger audience.

Embracing the new style of journalism, the articles are easy to digest, making use of listicles (e.g. Top 10s) and video content. Regular features, such as “10 things you need to know before European markets open”, incorporate data, charts and graphs to break up the text.

Launched in the US in 2007, Politico is focused on politics, policy and the personalities behind the headlines. Its objective is to break down some of the more traditional journalistic conventions by creating a distinctive brand of journalism that drives the conversation and is “more fun to read for a community of people who love the drama and sheer sport of politics.”

Available in both a digital and print format, there are nearly 300 reporters, editors and producers in Washington, Brussels, London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois and California.

The term "politics" doesn’t fully capture the deep coverage of business and regulation that Politico provides in sectors like energy, financial services and healthcare.

Politico Europe launched online and in print in April 2015, with its headquarters in Brussels. Its readership has spread rapidly, fueled by the current political turmoil in the continent. The content draws on the political culture of Brussels, European politics and light-hearted stories. It has a strong use of visuals on the website and the stories are eyecatching and easy to scan, with simplistic but informative language.

Media, New Media, Online Media,
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