Attendees from the West Coast Innovation Mission have been asked to provide some of their top takeaways and thoughts on what they’ve experienced during this week-long innovation tour.
From Dan Easton, Co-Publisher, Victoria Advocate
- Need to look at social channels beyond Facebook and Twitter.
- Focus on what video content works online - not all of it works, and it's relatively costly to do.
- Display real-time analytics in the newsroom to provide immediate feedback on what is driving traffic.
From Joe Boydston, Vice President of Technology and New Media, Daily Republic
- Wikipedia: Innovation is the process of making improvements to something established by introducing something better and, as a consequence, new.
- AT&T holdings delivers on this by combining its technology, brand and business model based on scarcity.
- The take away for me was inspired by a comment by @cleepost : we need to determine if it makes sense for us to pursue a partnership that provides lower net, but higher margin products. Does this compliment or distract from our goals?
- AT&T technology and positioning is compelling. My question is : Does a national directory offering add durable value to our brand?
From Emily Walsh, Multimedia Publisher, The Observer Group, Inc.
Half-way through .... My key takeaways are more like key "reinforcers":
- Train, train, train
Train your staff in new technology (iPhones, IPads, Social Media etc.)
- Content is King
Continue to improve your editorial and print products, in addition to digital strategy.
Partnerships with other media groups (AT&T) and other newspaper groups as well as digital pure plays are key in adding more eyeballs for your content and more value to your customers.
You can watch a video of me interviewing Eric Bright of Deseret about our visit. Check out this video on YouTube:
From Eric Bright, Vice President of E-Commerce, Deseret Digital Media
One topic that stayed with me overnight is the notion of "saving the cash cow" - which, coming out of the World Congress and Sales Tour, seemed to be the newspaper. We saw some innovative and effective examples of advertising in Euro print media - but most of the examples were just bigger. And more disruptive. I kept asking myself, "What really is the cash cow in media?" Is it the paper? Is it the advertisers? I would argue it is the audience. With myriad media consumption options, consumers, we've found, are not terribly receptive of increasingly bigger and disruptive advertising. We as an industry need to spend more time talking with our audience about what we can do to add real value for them - then build products to meet those needs.
What a great day! Such an interesting contrast of cultures and juxtaposition of strategies between Fisher and Canadian newspapers. If I returned home today, the trip would have been unbelievably well worth it.
As we look back at Day Two, I am struck by the great challenge that lay before our industry. Constant change, ardent believers in print, increasing adoption of new mediums, and the relentless aging of our audiences - those who were raised with print and still clinging to it and those who aren't being raised with print and can't really understand it.
During a deeply engaging conversation with Peter Kvarnstrom, I couldn't help but notice that while presenting all the data which pointed to the solid grip print has on Canada - there sat at the table two executives from Newspaper Direct, a print company in name only. When I asked Nikolay Malyarov from Newspaper Direct what his take was on print as it exists in Canada: "It's what drives our business." To which I responded, "Is it the paper that drives your business or the words on the paper that drives your business?"
Peter and Gary Rust followed with the same point, albeit with a decidedly softer business edge: it's about being a trusted voice in the community. The dollars will follow. Agreed. That shouldn't change - that is the ultimate brand promise of community newspapers. But what is changing (and will change in Canada) is the medium the community uses to access our trusted voices. Somehow along the path of downsizing and profitability, the discussion has been jumbled and now we seem to correlate the advancement of technology with the decline of trusted voices as if using an iPad or iPhone to access content is the first step towards assimilation into the Borg. While it is true that anyone can have a voice on the internets, this is all the more reason for media to embrace and advance technology mediums so users can access the trusted voices where they are. Which is increasingly a digital space. Amazing day on the Innovation Mission.
I think today…we had a breakthrough.
After hearing about all the ways the major pure plays want to work with small/midsize newspaper groups, it is pretty clear that the opportunity is in their favor. I was so stoked by the conversations to band together and really rally. Do create something that fits the gap in the market where the pure plays are too big to go and that fits the needs of local media companies trying to find that toe hold.
There are certainly gains to be made by partnering with big media and pure plays, but putting all of our eggs in those baskets doesn't ensure long term viability and growth for any of our businesses. We can do better – partner where prudent, but look for solutions that are right sized for our markets.
We can do this – we have good ideas and can put our collective strengths together to create something lasting. Another great day on the Inno Mission. So glad I came and so excited to see what comes of these new partnerships.