The major concern, however, lies in the GCC region where the media face higher risks than any other region in the world. On a 10-level scale, the risk facing GCC media is at nine, said Niko Ruokosuo, COO of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group. This risk is a result of a couple of main challenges such as isolation and denial, he said.
Explaining his viewpoint, Ruokosuo said the regional media still shy away from interaction and close their eyes to the new realities, imposing changes in business models, integration between different platforms and listening to the consumers’ needs.
To avoid that, he suggested a list of solutions, including investment in non-advertising-based businesses such as SMS feeds and services or education services similar to the Washington Post model.
He said: “The regional media need to form partnerships, launch new products, learn from the experiences of different media organisations across the world, and remain updated on the major issues and challenges of the media environment.”
Ruokosuo added: “Instead of remaining in a state of denial, media in the region need to start listening to young focus groups, observing trends and developing action while the business is still healthy.”
The other speakers provided successful case studies where their media organisations have taken the challenge to change their mindset, learn more about the readers and interact with their advertising clients.
“It is a fragmented world,” said Theo Blanco, Senior Sales and Marketing Director, Upsala Nya Tidning AB, Sweden.
He said the sales teams in media organisations will no longer be selling off the rate card, but instead will be sitting with the advertiser and suggesting solutions that can best fit their needs, while engaging different platforms, mainly the online.
Blanco noted that amount of viewing time of online advertising can range between five and seven seconds per ad compared to print ads which range between 1.5 seconds and 3 seconds per ad. “This is because viewers online keep going back to stories and clicking on links that allow them to view an ad over an over again at an average of 10 times, each for 0.5 seconds. Print ads are viewed only once.”
This, Blanco said, also depends to a large extent on the quality of the advertisement, because advertising is content too.
Blanco said the change is imposed by consumers becoming more individualistic, among other factors. This consequently influences communication models to become more geared towards consumer to business and business for consumer.
Chris Lloyd, Assistant Managing Editor of Telegraph Media Group, gave a presentation that concurred with the proposition of integrated media.
According to Lloyd, this has allowed the media organisation to become more than a space provider for advertising content. “It is not about the sell anymore. It is a solution,’’ he said. “Of course, media agencies are not geared up to work closely with media, yet, we have integrated ourselves with the advertisers, and have worked creatively through our established products.”