Monday, January 19, 2009

Online vs. Print: Who rules?

It is funny! Print, which ruled, and well, still rules, is now under some threat from online. However, in India, have no fear! We are a developing nation, and a very high number people do turn to the morning newspaper for their news.

Imagine, if the same people started browsing their mobile phones for their morning news! Unthinkable, for now!

Now, translate this into a scenario within a media company. Most media are now on the Web, and daily, and even hourly updates are given for! You also have social media to cope with. Well, what do print publications do? Naturally, ply their trade online!

What, if some people in editorial teams are reluctant to move to online? Are they still living in denial? Are they scared of having to do too much work? Probably both! It is NOT easy to maintain a daily Web site. Why, even maintaining a blog is a very tough task!

It has been noticed that those reluctant to change still brandish the print vs. online story. Print is bigger, and online, hey, it's of no consequence, since we are a bigger brand, they say! It is their ignorance, inexperience or folly, or all!

Cross media is now standard! Those who don't want to embrace it will be overtaken by it! Once written online, a story is circulated all over the Web. Imagine waiting 15 days or a month for a magazine to run the same stories!

I tasted cross media way back in 1996, when I first started work at Global Sources. We had to do print + online + CD-ROMs. Teams were divided thus, as were the events. Editorial teams were developed to contribute for various verticals -- electronics, telecom, components and computers.

Later, the bureaus went even better. Teams started becoming cross functional. The chap from electronics soon became equally adept with telecom and computers. Those who triumphed over components went on to establish themselves.

All this while -- cross media has remained unchanged!

Understand the power of cross media, friends. Don't hold on to your horse -- I have a bigger brand, and so, I am bigger! If you can't update your site and wait for others to seed your stories for generating traffic, you are asking for trouble!

Circulation levels of technology magazines have gone down than what they used to be. The reason -- Internet's much more faster! Even faster than electronic media, some would contend!

I do come across folks who still think that print rules, and that their print brand is bigger than a sister or any other online brand! Sure, it does, mate! However, print is no longer like what it used to be!

Consider this: good bloggers do get invited first to industry events today! Why? Their blogs are more authoritative and influence the social media! Blogs are also used for research. There's a huge blogosphere out there. Can't get funnier than this!

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