Newscorp’s proposal to split into a TV and Entertainment company and a Publishing group seems to misunderstand what convergence means. In the digital world a newspaper is a television station and vice versa.
I’m limiting myself in how I use of the word newspaper, because it implies that a print outlet needs paper, when it demonstrably doesn’t.
The converse of that is amply demonstrated by the ABC which is one of the largest distributors of print news in Australia, but doesn’t publish any of it on paper.
Newspapers aren’t so much publishers, as news organisations, a description they have in common with television stations.
One major difference between a newspaper and a television station is actually in the percentage of the output of each devoted to news.
Newspapers do mostly news and television stations, unless they are Al Jazeera, or 24 hour news stations, do mostly entertainment.
But as their mediums of delivery converge on the Internet, then it is their intent that defines them rather than how their content is presented.
In a world of print and audio-visual delivered via the ‘net a news organisation ought to work on the basis of presenting its information first on the web, before distributing it through other channels, such as hard copy.
So with live news and analysis the pathway would run something like this with.
- Stream the whole of a media conference to your website and archive it there.
- Publish text excerpts from the conference on your website as well as transcript when available.
- Edit and broadcast audio and audio-visual snippets and summary from the media conference. You can reuse text excerpts in these broadcasts where appropriate.
- Include summary broadcast in major broadcast news bulletin, providing split screen links to text summary
- Blog initial analysis of media conference engaging core audience who will provide critique and better material via blog comments
- Produce rounded print analysis for website for reuse in other media as appropriate.
- Do broadcast version of print analysis.
- Throughout the process engage with social media.
The first news organisation to operate on this basis will blitz the rest as they will totally dominate the news cycle producing material for a variety of different audiences on a variety of platforms before anyone else.
They would also go close to collapsing the costs of a news television station and a newspaper into one, increasing profitability, or at least their cost competitiveness.
Approached the right way they would also have rich audience feedback that would make their coverage even deeper than it is now.
I thought Newscorp was the most likely news company to adopt that approach, but it appears I may have been wrong.