Multimedia Journalism: Business Model Not Included?

by Dan Blank on January 22, 2008

Can We Monetize Multimedia Journalism?As news organizations evolve to focus more on multimedia and leveraging new online tools, there are two lingering questions:

  • Will readers be truly engaged?
  • Is there a business model to support this?

More and more, we are seeing examples of established media brands reorganizing themselves to leverage new media:

  • The Associated Press
    “…The A.P. will change the way it files, edits and distributes stories, opening at least four regional editing hubs as part of a plan it calls AP2.0. It is also expanding its multimedia packages for entertainment, business and sports reports. And the company is moving toward an all-digital platform it calls the “Digital Cooperative.”

  • BBC News
    “BBC News has reorganized its news division into a “multimedia newsroom” that combines radio, TV and online.”

While these are positive changes, here are two intersting examples of multimedia failing to engage their intended audience:

  • Online Video Ads Must Change
    “A recent survey of people’s attitudes toward online in-stream video advertising suggests that advertisers using this increasingly popular form of Internet marketing are wasting their money. Half of all respondents said they stopped watching online videos once they encountered in-stream advertisements, and nearly one in six said they immediately left the web site, according to results of the survey released Monday by Burst Media, an online advertising network.”

  • 6 Reasons I’m Not Hooked on Podcasts
    Jennifer Woodard Maderaz finds the following reasons why Podcasts don’t capture her attention: they are too long, many don’t get to the point quick enough, they are difficult to scan to find good content, some really require video, they take a lot of time to consume, and there isn’t a streamlined way to manage Podcasts across her devices.

It also seems that advertisers have not fully embraced online multimedia. I have been experimenting with quite a few online TV services, and often find the same commercial or sponsorship repeated over and over. I am sure they may call it “100% share of voice,” but to me, it seems as though:

  • They are having trouble attracting many advertisers to experiment online.
  • Those that do, often repeat the same television-centric commercial, over and over.

As video and podcasts flood the web, exactly who will be paying top dollar in order to build revenue around them? One study indicates that engagement with advertsing is greater on the web than it is in print or on television:

“A cross-media study by Simmons, a unit of Experian Research Services, also found that viewers are 25% more engaged in the content of TV shows that they watch online than on a TV.”

“…TV aside, the study found that people are 18% more engaged in ads online, as opposed to print versions, of magazines–and that they are also 15% more engaged in magazine articles online than in print.”

Media organizatins and journalists are rushing to revamp their skillset to find audiences through whatever media channel they are consuming… but you have to wonder what is getting lost in the flood of articles, blogs, videos and podcasts. Is their enough attention to engage this audience? Can we find ways to monetize this engagement? Where is the value?

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