How traditional media can compete against online platforms

Key agenda at MultiChoice #DigitalDialogue2018 conference exams disruption in the media space

We are living in interesting times. While previous generations only had radio, TV and newspapers as the main sources of information and entertainment, we currently access and interact with news or entertainment via multiple mediums, all thanks to the internet.

But while the sources and mediums of accessing news and information have multiplied, the number of such trusted and reliable outlets has come into question, leading to a new fad, ‘Fake News’.

(TOP: Yolisa Phahle, the CEO of General Entertainment at MultiChoice speaks during the first day of the #DigitalDialogue2018).

Turns out this distrust and skepticism of emerging outlets of news and information is a blessing in disguise for traditional, struggling media outlets like radio and TV stations as well as newspaper and magazine publishers.

This was the gist of a presentation by Yolisa Phahle, the CEO of General Entertainment at MultiChoice delivered during the first day of the #DigitalDialogue2018 in Dubai, UAE.

Giving her opening address, Phahle emphasised the need for mainstream news outlets and organisations to think of how they can stay relevant and remain the go-to mediums as credible sources of information by use of technology and innovation.

“How technology helps drive the news and entertainment industry is a key part of today’s agenda… The role of trusted news brands and outlets will continue to be even more important. The internet hasn’t reached everybody and not all news content that’s shared on the internet is authentic, the battle now is between news and noise,” noted Phahle.

This is more so because the news business is being impacted by other competing internet-based platforms globally. Technology and IT firms like Facebook, Google, YuoTube and Twitter are currently providing news and entertainment content to audiences, something that was previously the preserve of news outlets.

So ubiquitous have some of the IT and social media companies become that even industry regulators are having problems when it comes to how to classify them, whether as technology companies or news organisations. A good example here is Facebook.

A 2016 article published by the Guardian stated that Facebook was by far the dominant social media news source with 44% of those surveyed using it to find, read, watch, share or comment on news each week, with the figure being more than twice that of its nearest rival, TV.

The article added that the importance of TV news is generally waning, with all groups under 45 saying that online sources are more important than broadcast, a finding which somehow contradicts the earlier sentiment on online and social media platforms not being credible sources of news and information.

But even as they compete – and at times even ‘steal’ from each other – both traditional news outlets and the emerging online and social media organisations which also publish and broadcast news and information can co-exist, with each even complimenting the other’s efforts lading all to benefit from the symbiotic relationship. A point which was also emphasised by Yolisa Phahle.

“Social media platforms can be used as marketing channels for news outlets and content creators. An example here is sharing links to sites which lead readers and audiences to the main site or outle,” she noted, adding: “The 3 most important aspects and drivers of the news and entertainment business – People, Content, Technology…”

In her conclusion, Phahle said that the rapid advances in digital technology in Africa has created new opportunities to innovate on content delivery.

She however added that: “The digital disruption has and will change how people consume our products, as people who are invested and committed to the future of Africa, it is our collective responsibility to play an active role in making sure our continent benefits from this opportunity”.

The #DigitalDialogue2018 Conference is a thought leadership platform facilitated by MultiChoice Africa in order to foster a better understanding of the future direction of the video entertainment industry in Africa. Now in its 5th edition, the conference was established in 2012 to create a better understanding of Digital Migration and its impact on Africa’s digital landscape.

Since then, the independent and growing platform has been critical in fostering a better understanding and building knowledge on video entertainment and Digital terrestrial markets while creating necessary conversations with thought leaders about various industry-related issues.

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