Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Media Evolution

For Public Relations, a future in which practitioners identify the nature of the 'public' or sector or stakeholder (culture) and in which the client operates is changed.

The professional in this arena now has  to:

  • Identify the sector (culture)
  • Identify the key descriptors (concepts - I will comment on concepts as part of semantics in PR in a future post) common to, and unique to the sector (culture) 
  • Identity changes and the rate of change
  • Identify the media of most significance to the culture e.g. Newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, digitally enabled channels (from Netflix to Twitter).
  • Develop capability to affect the culture.
  • Deliver 
  • Evaluate.
The historical nature of PR that depended on the media to provide focus on 'publics' has changed.

The extent to which people have withdrawn from reading print media is now well versed. The trend is continuing.  The Newspaper Readership Survey in 2014 shows a dynamic shift from print to digital:

All research is based on National Readership Survey (NRS) data from January 2013 to December 2014, but does not include mobile and tablet app readers.
Print (000s)Website Only (000s)Net Print + Website Total (Net - 000s)Increase with Online (%)
Financial Times15408632403+56.1
The Daily Telegraph4138750611644+181.4
The Daily Telegraph/The Sunday Telegraph4895733412229+149.8
The Guardian3993830112294+207.9
The Guardian/The Observer4544812112665+178.7
The Independent/i395740768032+103.0
The Independent/The Independent on Sunday/i436240148377+92.0
The Times45514114963+9.0
The Times/The Sunday Times66265027128+7.6
Daily Express327325095782+76.7
Daily Express/Sunday Express403924656504+61.0
Daily Mail11232859519827+76.5
Daily Mail/The Mail on Sunday13536803521571+59.4
Daily Mirror7206490712113+68.1
Daily Mirror/Sunday Mirror8515477513290+56.1
Daily Mirror/Sunday Mirror/Sunday People9010473013739+52.5
Daily Record14809842465+66.5
Daily Record/Sunday Mail (Scotland)18469542800+51.6
Daily Star34389434381+27.4
Daily Star/Daily Star Sunday39229344856+23.8
The Sun13594166215256+12.2
The Sun/The Sun on Sunday15061159316654+10.6

By mid-2015,  The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and The Independent had a larger online readership than print.

An example of the significance of the above trends would suggest that all  Press Relations practitioners should now be fully trained and equipped digital media expertise.

Meanwhile, the nature of traditional channels is changing fast as well. There is a much wider range of communication platforms in use.

A survey in the UK by Cision in 2014 showed 54% of journalists who responded couldn't carry out their work without social media (up from 43% in 2013 and 28% in 2012). Fifty-eight percent also say social media has improved their productivity (up from 54% in 2013 and 39% in 2012).

If the survey is representative, this means a majority of UK journalists are open to a form of communication that is very different to the traditional press release.

It is a change that took less than a decade to emerge.

But these developments are but drops in the ocean. There are examples, case studies, that show how powerful the internet and notably social media, and the application of technologies can be.

So far we have seen publications, broadcasters, journalists and some PR practitioners, together with advertising agencies gently move into the digital arena.

Meanwhile, the general population is tearing into this new digital environment.

Nearly four in ten UK households bought a tablet in the last year. Mobile now accounts for 23% of digital ad spend and 56% of social media spend.

Among Britons online, smartphones are the most common internet-enabled device (1.7 per household)¹, followed by laptops (1.3) and tablets (1.2). Four in 10 (40%) households now own one tablet, one-fifth (19%) have two, while 11% own three or more. According to the IAB/PwC data, tablet-dedicated ad spend alone² grew 118% to reach £87.4 million.

Political leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn, can point to successful election campaigns driven by Twitter and Facebook.

The dynamism of the Corbyn social media presence is described by Stuart Heritage in the Guardian ( In which he describes the elements that add up to internet gold. 'All of a sudden, you can’t move for Corbyn parodies and memes. Want to see a Photoshopped picture of Corbyn as Obi-Wan Kenobi promising a new hope? Check the internet. Want to scroll through endless pictures of his face pasted onto the bodies of rippling vest models? Check the internet. Want to read a weird stream of mothers declaring their berserk lust for Corbyn, based on the fact that he reminds them of a “salty sea dog”? Check the internet, and then go and scrub your face, hands and brain with Swarfega.'

At one point, the hashtag #JezWeCan was being used once every 25 seconds on Twitter. Over on Facebook, a tentative Jeremy Corbyn victory party was being planned for the evening of 12 September in Trafalgar Square, London.

Many, many personalities, not to mention brands woul like to replicate such a movement.

The nature of communicating is outwith traditional media relations and the Corbyn example is a very noticeable case in point. 

Picture: Jeremy Corbyn as James Bond. Photograph: @sexyjezzacorbyn.

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