Wednesday, October 18, 2006

'Press Relations' is re-born

The news from every corner of the publishing industry in the UK is that they have a new way of doing business. In less than a fortnight the announcements have poured out one after the next.

The media has discovered that good, competent and rigorous reporting has value. In addition, its value is enhanced when attached to a well respected brand. Add these assets to digital distribution and publishing is a money machine all over again.

For PR, this is a massive change and a big shift in how we manage the PR process. This is what has happened and is happening now. Its too late to wait. First mover advantage is now.

The news that prompts this post is this:

The Guardian has re-branded to reflect its new digital self. Reuters has a Second Life. We see the Telegraph's new multimedia centre opened (see picture), The Times is getting new interactive features, National Magazines is creating an aggregated digital network. Then there is a huge change at Trinity Mirror which is to re-launch all its regional and local newspaper websites by the end of the year. Trails are already in taking place. The change will include 60 video journalists round the country (competition for local TV stations) .

The Express and Echo ran its first video story this week scooping the local TV station.

Hub and Spoke
The Telegraph's integrated multimedia newsroom

We can now expect every publishing house to begin to deliver news in a huge array of formats. They will all broadcast with podacst radio, TV and video on-line and there will be print. There will be blogs and wiki type resources, file and picture sharing, story forwarding and sharing facilities. News to cell phones will include text sound and video and much more.


Because the same story, reformatted automatically will have a revenue stream attached to it.

In the past in print, there was one opportunity to sell advertising alongside several editorial stories. Today each story can have a dozen advertisements attached to it in a range of formats through an array of channels. Furthermore, where once a story had no market the day after it was published, today it stays on a server for people to access and use in perpetuity (with a brand new add attached).

The best editorial, the fastest news the best journalism will gain market share.

The market, once largely limited to UK audiences, can now reach round the world, the audience opportunity is far greater.

The PR industry now has a big challenge. We have to understand these forms of publishing. We have to be able to offer content that is optimised for this new form of publishing.

We will need to re-adjust to news being published as a continuous flow 24/7. The first edition will be published every few minutes and there will never again be a second edition. We have to monitor news all the time. Not once a week or day but every hour, every minute.

We also have to recognise that reach has changed. Half of news across Europe is first read online. In fact only half of the readership of newspapers sees the print version. The readership, audience and demographic is completely different.

Value added will come from the further opportunity to attach relationship values to these stories and give them added life among our client constituencies. We can do this with our own media. It might be hyperlinks on blogs, wiki posts, content in Second Life but whatever additional channels we use will be enhanced by using highly regarded content from the new and reformed publishing houses.

These are exciting times.