Technology + People + Process

Surviving the Disruptive Change in Media Industry

Surviving the Disruptive Change in Media Industry

Digital technology is no longer the disruptive force in media - it is the driving force that shapes content creation and distribution. The distinction between traditional and digital is not relevant anymore: publishers have become, with varying degrees of success, digital media companies. But the industry continues to evolve, pushed by changing consumer behavior and business innovation.

Consumer Behavior and Technology are disrupting the Media Industry

For a very long time, an average person used to wake up and see a newspaper or watch a news bulletin to get a glimpse of the local and world news. With the proliferation of the social and mobile media, the news is available to you round the clock and on demand. You don’t wait for a newspaper or a television channel to give you the news. You get news when you want it or in the case of push/alerts news, when you need it.

The business of newspaper and television is to create an audience based on great content and brand loyalty and the commercial operation monetized that audience by selling advertising. Advertisers were attracted to these media because they offered large, homogenous and profiled audiences based on the positioning and reach of the medium in question.

The Internet has changed everything, almost. Audience became fragmented and the competition for the news industry has changed beyond recognition. Now anyone with a smart phone and an Internet connection can report news. So did the news consumption, it moved to social and mobile channels that did not exist a decade ago. Based on the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in Feb 2016, Facebook led the pack of social networks where most of the US adults get their news followed by Twitter and YouTube.


The digital transformation has changed the consumer behavior forever. We open news apps on our devices than buying a newspaper, stream our favorite programs than watching television and expect our smartphones to notify us of breaking news and other interesting facts. This behavior will become pervasive as the global middle class grows from 1.8 billion people in 2009 to an estimated 4.9 billion in 2030(4). The demand for new media services focusing on convenience, education, premium content and video-on-demand will grow.

Users appreciate having someone to curate content for them, similar to what an editor would do with a newspaper or a bulletin. Innovative reading experiences and native advertising platforms are reaching new and savvy audiences, enhancing the user experience and allowing publishers to charge a premium to advertisers.Technology now allows access to content anywhere, anytime. The increase in mobile and Internet penetration has made being connected a way of life. Information collection and data analytics enable companies to get customer insights across many channels and devices, allowing them to deliver relevant and meaningful experiences. The power of mobile and social is transforming how media is consumed and perceived. Technology is changing how media is created, distributed and monetized. Traditionally, the media industry focused on creating content and optimizing distribution, but today many companies are automating this and finding new ways to monetize.

The changing consumer behavior and evolution of technology at an unprecedented pace has left the media industry in an unenviable state. They are left with no choice but to rethink and reevaluate their business models and transform themselves in this state of flux. Established media companies are facing competition for viewership from new content sites and social media services and the advertisers are offered new ways of effectively targeting, reaching and measuring their audiences.

What is the Impact?


As the media consumption on all traditional channels go down, it is imperative that the business models have to be re-imagined and innovation is not optional anymore. The newspaper industry is trending the wrong way with both circulation and total ad spend going down. Newspapers in 2015 had perhaps their worst year since the Great Recession. Daily circulation fell by 7 percent, the most since 2010, while print ad revenues declined another 8 percent(20). Traditional brands have the advantage of credibility and heritage but new brands have a vibrancy and responsiveness that is often leading the way in innovation and new formats.

Three billion people are currently online, with another billion be added by 2020, most of those in the developing world and almost exclusively on mobile devices. The new age of interaction on social media platforms and more recently the surge of messaging applications keeps adding to that growth while at the same time presenting very real risks too. Broadcasters with websites used to have two separate newsrooms in the past, driving costs, ensuring inefficiencies, guaranteeing duplication. Now most of them have already merged into one combined newsroom, although other processes - commissioning, news gathering and post-production - are still done very much separately.

With proliferation of news sources, with the rise of social network-powered aggregators, it’s clear that most news providers will find it harder and harder to get the majority of their digital audience go directly to their platform. Users are more likely to consume the provided content off platform, selecting from dozens of competing sources.

Kevin Kelly, who is a co-founder and former executive editor of Wired magazine, says we will have an ecosystem of filters, human and algorithmic, where personalization will increasingly be part of the process of how we produce and consume news. Text and images will come together to form a new kind of media. Technology is less about the new than about recombining in new ways. The value in remixing is to create more possibilities. With virtual reality, we’re moving from having information at any time to the sharing of experiences.

There is some good news: news readers, whether in print, online or on tablet, are highly engaged. They are engaged with the content longer – up to 40 minutes a session in the case of The Times – and they have a longer term, more meaningful relationship with a news brand in terms of trust and credibility than with other publishers.

In most countries, media companies continue to have commanding brands and strong consumer relationships. In developing economies, they are still growing, as incomes and education levels rise.


Survival of the Fittest, Be Digital Ready

According to Forrester, only 27% of today’s businesses have a coherent digital strategy that sets out how the firm will create customer value as a digital business. IDC expects that the percentage of enterprises creating advanced digital transformation initiatives will more than double by 2020, from today’s 22% to almost 50%. Successful digital transformation will be based on establishing data streams in and out of the enterprise and finding new ways to monetize them(25).

News organizations that are currently undergoing the transition from a legacy news media model to a digital online reality face tremendous challenges. The speed of information dissemination has changed the way that newsrooms have to operate in a connected world and new multiplatform modes of news production.

The organizations that can evolve and implement integrated newsrooms will end up winning the battle for consumer attention. Leveraging digital technologies is crucial to staying relevant and profitable. Companies lagging in this area risk losing ground to newer entrants and business models that are poised to disrupt markets with innovative products and services.

IDC expects that the percentage of enterprises creating advanced digital transformation initiatives will more than double by 2020, from today’s 22% to almost 50%.

One editorial production line, one digital newsroom, where editors, reporters and producers can access a single system to coordinate, approve and edit content for multiple platforms will be the key to success in the new reality. Reporters only knew a story had done well if a colleague patted them on the shoulder, or if they got a letter from a reader. The social engagement now provides instant gratification. Reporters get real-time feedback to their stories together with relevant metrics.Transformation for media companies means a complete overhaul in how they think, plan, operate, and define success in virtually every aspect of their business. Organizations that are ready for digital transformation will be able to seize new opportunities, while organizations that lag could become obsolete.

Critical capabilities for the transformation will be a) Transform business models, b) Create new experiences for customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders and c) Innovation and flexibility at core.


To get your organization digital ready, start by identifying the business goals, build the culture to be digital first, capture the data and analyze the same to feedback into the whole process. For an organization to be ready to face the challenges of the current marketplace, it is important to undertake a digital transformation initiative.

The organization will have a centralized, data-driven infrastructure and management (cloud services, digitized catalog of content). Around this core, there will be independent units that can move fast to create new products across different platforms or apps.

Robust, cloud-based technologies are getting cheaper by the year, making content creation, distribution, and presentation far easier. Brands can be created with far less capital, as the social sphere rewards work that captures imaginations at marginal cost. It’s social, mobile, infographic-loving, and sponsorship-friendly for starters.

Ecosystems are increasingly important in the digital economy. They are becoming essential to creating new relationships and capabilities, leveraging new technologies, and accelerating innovation. By collaborating across the ecosystem of partners and institutions, companies can create new opportunities to address consumer needs in the B2B and B2C spaces. Technical platforms that allow devices, applications, data, products, and services to work together in new ways become a core part of the overall business strategy.

El País, the highest-circulation daily newspaper in Spain, has also completely revamped its newsroom structure and placed digital distribution at its core, literally. Editors have created a digital distribution desk focused on audience measurement, social engagement and SEO and placed it in the physical center of its newsroom, surrounded by the company’s other verticals and departments.

To thrive in the digital era, media companies will need to be leaner, nimbler and more open to working with ecosystem partners. To engage new audiences, media businesses will need to partner with consumers to co-create and crowdsource material. With improved connectivity, data collection and analytics, content creators are now able to take advantage of this to harness their audience’s ideas when creating shows. The ubiquity of social media and smartphones now gives content creators far greater power to create new storylines almost in real time. Enabling audiences to interact with content creators has the potential to build more loyalty and engagement with the content, particularly if seamless second-screen support for an interactive, community-based experience can be designed.

The Process


The Solution, Integrated Newsroom

Overall media consumption is on the rise driven by a rising amount of time spent on digital consumption. With increased digital usage, more media companies will offer digital alternatives, further propelling the overall shift to digital-media consumption. To effectively serve the audience and keep them engaged, an integrated newsroom is necessary.


In the traditional model (Newsroom 1.0), there were multiple media newsrooms with dedicated editorial resources for each platform that is serviced by the publishing houses. There were separate editorial units for the print edition and for the online site and the content generation, editing and production is by and large divided between the print and the online world. With the online revolution, there was need for a new model for the newsroom (Newsroom 2.0), the content gatherers generate the content for all channels served by the editorial department.

The pervasiveness of mobile and social made it necessary to change the model for the newsroom to a more integrated once with integrations across various channels. An Integrated Newsroom (Newsroom 3.0), provide content on multiple channels by integrating the complete news flow across print and digital media from the planning to the production.

The newsrooms that adapt and evolve have seen the greatest payoff, growth in audience and engagement and in some cases growth in subscription revenue.

Digital Transformation Approach

Digital Transformation approach starts with identifying the digital transformation strategy for the organization. We will partner with you to define the strategy, implement the strategy and assist you in monetizing the same. We will be the partner throughout the entire process to help you increase revenues and enhance customer engagement.

Implementing an Integrated Newsroom

The following figure shows the various components of an integrated newsroom. RBT can assist with implementing all or parts of the integrated newsroom.


Transformations are ultimately about establishing new sources of growth and profit, so media companies need to demonstrate new digitally aligned business models that are sustainable.

Opportunities Ahead

Legacy media companies often lack the technology and the marketing capabilities, and in some cases the digital audiences, to develop new businesses themselves. And they can struggle to create effective new digital channels that will attract new customers. Whether digital operations are acquired or built, they do best when they are grown and managed outside the core business. Emerging businesses need dedicated resources and, more often than not, new kinds of talent.

The potential growth opportunities for media companies can be found with the following.

  1. Branded content has emerged as an important growth engine not only for the near term but for the longer term as well. Publishers such as The New York Times and Condé Nast have aggressively entered the branded-content business. And companies such as Unilever, GE, and Red Bull are actively building in-house media capabilities, pulling editors and journalists from publishing companies and working with agencies and publishers to develop content.
  2. Events have become a big hit for advertisers, too. In addition to profitable events for consumers, many publishers organize events for advertisers that make money and contribute to brand building
  3. Traditional print is far from dead—profitable business opportunities can still be found. Publishers are offering new print products to drive incremental revenue, especially in the premium segment.
  4. Collecting and analyzing data have become the key to determining how to acquire audiences and make money from them, but data and analytics have also become critical to producing the insights that publishers need in order to develop content.

Case Study - Telegraph to use digital content as backbone of paper

  • One integrated print/digital newsroom.
  • Two shifts worked each day, one from 6am and one ending at midnight.
  • Three speeds to work at, from fast for breaking news to slower for a feature.
  • Four key skills for each journalist: social, video, analytics and search engine optimization.
  • Five deliverable ideas required from each desk each day: including one video, one shareable and one interactive.


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25. 6 Predictions About the Future of Digital Transformation,

Chait Mudunuri
CEO, Raybiztech.




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