A Closer Look: Indian Digital News Publishers
My interest in understanding the undulating, choppy waters of digital news, media and communications business is but natural. That is my profession, area of study, research and work. However, the sea change which the Indian news and media environment has undergone in the last 18–24 months is remarkable.
A lot can be attributed to rising internet, social media and smartphone adoption, network penetration and multi-fold increase in digital content generated by Indian publishers. Clearly, a segment which was earlier thought to be a playing field for ‘geeks’, ‘yuppies’ and goths of news media (i.e. bloggers!) is not only competing with legacy news outlets but also with innovative and niche news/content publishers.
There is a significant amount of research available in the public domain which explores subjects of platform versus publishers, news versus content, journalist versus content creator, audience versus readers and many such inherent conflicts which are the underlying characteristics of this constantly transforming beast of digital news publishing.
To find a deeper insight into the changing Indian digital news dynamic, I have been researching business models, academic papers, global new media success stories, Indian digital start-ups, legacy news media transition among other related subjects for the last 8 months. If one were to conclude in a general way, it would appear that the bottom line is the bottom line.
I thought it may be a good idea to document my thoughts, exchange ideas, gather view-points in my quest to tame the digital beast.
So here goes nothing! Below is an initial set of business operations and key practice areas which I could think of as a starting point for a deep-dive into a digital news publisher.
a) The three core operations of a news business — Gathering, Production/Publishing, Distribution
b) Ownership and Org. Chart — This seems to be an area which not many delve into while researching digital news publishers. Going beyond reporters will give a deeper insight into the machinery that churns stories in digital newsrooms. Also, an intrinsic understanding of their monetization strategy and editorial philosophy may be useful to develop an informed view while reading/viewing stories from individual news outlets
c) Audience/Readers/Consumers — The underlying demographic and socio-economic data of the audience/consumers. It may be useful to segment this audience and/or develop personas as per their unique characteristics for a deeper understanding about their behaviour, preferences and biases
d) Revenue models, innovation — Also, a key focus area in an ever changing digital media market is to get a closer understanding of emerging revenue models, innovation and unique/niche news products digital publishers are able to launch, sustain and monetize effectively
e) Content/Authors viz News/Journalists — The most critical part is of course being able to collect data points which help analyze the three R’s — Reach, Resonance and Relevance — of digital news stories published.
Hope this serves as an introductory note which allows for critical and deep thinking on this subject. Will follow-up with data analysis, trends, resources, and findings in subsequent posts.
And so it begins…