Opinion and Editorial

The newspaper is not dead. The old business model is

Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)
Filed on December 16, 2018 | Last updated on December 16, 2018 at 10.16 am
The newspaper is not dead. The old business model is

(KT file)

The current model - good as it was for centuries - is now in need of serious repairs.

As we look forward to bidding goodbye to yet another year in a couple of weeks, it's hard not to look at this year's ride and the journey ahead of us through a David vs. Goliath prism. And by 'us', I mean the local UAE media, including newspapers and magazines, online news platforms, and TV and radio channels. Traditional ad revenues have declined progressively in recent years and digital ad revenues haven't grown enough in proportion, leaving us at the FAG end of our proverbial tethers. The 'FAG' manifestly refers to Facebook, Amazon and Google, the tech giants blamed for eating the media's lunch.

But are they really to blame for the plight of traditional media? The giants happen to have a solid business model that is relevant today. Their digital DNAs afford them the luxury of being huge in size yet agile in operations, rich in revenues yet entrepreneurial in mindset, steadfast in approach yet nimble-footed in tactics. In contrast, the chinks in the traditional media's business model of selling space as opposed to solutions are now laid bare. The current model - good as it was for centuries - is now in need of serious repairs. We need to find our niches, reskill and upskill our resources, and reinvent ourselves to compete with social media and other frenemies. Media firms need to take a thorough relook at our business models.

And we at KT are doing just that. With a 360-degree approach to offering solutions to our clients, KT today partners with advertisers by leveraging the multiple platforms through which we now engage with our audience. While we've always offered first-class journalism, we're also now offering innovative solutions to exceed advertiser expectations while keeping a steadfast focus on our raison d'Ítre: the reader.

What we have working in our favour in this drive to rediscover our mojo is credibility - 40 years' worth of reader appreciation and client support in the case of Khaleej Times, the country's first English daily. We triple-check our sources and reconfirm the facts for accuracy before publishing every piece of information on our platforms. And we're quick to acknowledge our error when one still slips through.

Forwards and shares don't have that feature, and we believe that you, the audience, deserve to continue receiving unbiased, objective journalism to counter the double-whammy of fake news and alternative facts. It's a two-way street, though. Local readers and advertisers need local news and solutions, and local media needs the backing of local readers, government and private business. As we explore innovative ways of storytelling and new platforms to reach you in the format of your choice, do keep your patronage and let us, as always, have your unadulterated feedback.

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