Digital Transformation of Media

Mehtajur Rahman

On the 3rd of May, 2020, Mission Save Bangladesh arranged an hour-long live session on “Digital Transformation of Media”. The panel of experts for the discussion comprised of:

1. Jabbed Sultan Pias, Head of Business, Prothom Alo Digital.

2. Azim Hossain, General Manager, Digital, Channel I.

3. Samannoy Ghosh, Manager- Brand & Strategy, ABC Radio.

4. Shuvashish Roy, Digital Marketing Manager, The Daily Star.

And touched upon some of the key aspects of this issue.

Over time, the needs of audiences regarding content consumption, may that be the amount of content accessible for them or how they consume the aforesaid content, has changed drastically. A key point and a recurring theme throughout the discussion was how the traditional media has coped up with this mammoth shift in people’s attitudes towards content consumption. It came out through the discussion that over time, different mediums from newspapers, TV channels to radio stations have embraced this change. A proper blend of integrity toward their traditional principles with the modern flair of communal engagement through integrating social media handles like Facebook has helped the media to expand their horizons. A question might arise whether a shift towards these monopolies such as Facebook or Google endangers the authenticity or even the need for media outlets where anyone can propagate their platforms and how these websites choose to moderate the content of publishers, both genuine and bogus ones. Media outlets are based on the idea of curated content for the viewers and stands on the pillar of communal trust and expertise. Especially in the field of journalism, where the world is overwhelmed with the problem of misleading news reporting, authentic media outlets are truly the white knights of our time. In a time where gossips and fake news have become more profitable, mainstream media continues to emphasize the quality and messaging of its content.  As a result, the content produced by the media outlets shall forever remain relevant and just as important irrespective of the medium. Advertisers see the profit of partnering up with such outlets that garner respect and trust from its subscriber base. The credibility, quality, and distribution systems of the content offered through these media outlets are just unparalleled.

In the era of telecommunications, The media has had to take drastic steps to keep its relevance intact. One key aspect of this has been personalized media. Over the years, traditionally, media outlets couldn’t deliver content in a manner that would be accessible to people at their convenience. Through moving their contents to online platforms, they have been able to attract people’s eyeballs and incorporated it into their business model. An event as magnanimous as COVID-19 in current times that have shaken the very foundations of the industry promises much quicker strides towards digitalization for many of these outlets.

“Content comes with a price.” The production costs of producing quality content are very high. To justify the expenditure, media outlets and advertisers in unison need to come to an agreement on what would be profitable. A lack of quality content in some cases can be attributed to the lack of funding. As a result, a subscription-based service is a positive way forward for media outlets, where funding and a large audience would give the media outlets negotiation powers over the advertisers and a higher level of liberty over the content itself guaranteeing a better quality of content. Such services may not be on par with the international giants we have all come to know so well right from the onset, but there shall always be an undying demand for local quality content.

Over the decades, how people consume media has evolved and shall keep evolving over time. Traditional media outlets need to keep adapting to such evolution. We see that The Daily Star, Channel I, Prothom Alo, ABC Radio all have adapted to the ever-changing situations, emphasizing on online platforms. The roles of media outlets have indubitably changed from the 90’s days and have merged with modern-day internet to make sure there isn’t a drought in light of the ever-increasing demand of content and media. The media can now travel faster, reach more people than ever before.  As a result, the co-existence of media outlets from different spectrums is now beneficial for both the viewers and the advertisers.

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