How to sell the news to the MTV generation

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it Harry S. Truman

A new freesheet, Metro, is set to be launched in Ireland shortly which will shake up the marketplace. The people behind it say that its main selling point (apart from the fact that it’s free!) is that it is designed to be read in twenty minutes. The paper for the MTV generation? Prehaps, but it got me thinking that traditional media have to look at every aspect of their offering in order to make it fit seamlessly into the consumer’s life.

Do the makers of the Metro think that people only want twenty minutes of the news in their day? That leaves a whole twenty three hours and forty minutes to think about Z-list celebrities and their gossip filled lives (we can dream about them as well!) I sincerely doubt that. What they realise is that people will tune into the news at some point during the day on the radio, check the Internet for developments during the day and watch TV in the evening.

By recognising the different stages of people’s day – i.e. travelling to work on public transport, relaxing during their lunchbreak, sneaking a peak at their email during the day or relaxing in front of the television at night – and finding ways to present their information to them, certain media organisations will go from strength to strength.

For example, look at RTE who offer news and other media content via the web, TV, radio and print (that is if you really qualify the RTE Guide as worthwhile reading.) By and large almost everyone in Ireland will be exposed to their content at some point during the day because of their wide spread.

With developments in IT, other media organisations – most notably print – can emulate this and target new customers. What I’m getting at is by making content available in different formats, be it SMS or mp3, we are moving away from a system where we track a media organisation’s popularity by circulation, listenership or hits.

Opening up to new forms of distribution and recognising the change in people’s lifestyles, media organisations should offer new ways for consumers to subscribe to their content. You can currently listen to playbacks of RTE News on their website, but why can’t you subscribe to it via iTunes? Are stagnating circulation figures a sign of the world’s dumbing down or is it more reflective of that fact that people like myself are turning to the internet as their main media source?

The truth of the matter is that media organisations have to keep track of trends and position themselves to take advantage of them. So if it means making content available via mp3 for the masses of people that have iPods or starting a blog, by exploring new avenues these organisations will expose themselves to a new audience as well as offering their current customers a new way to interact with them.


5 Responses to “How to sell the news to the MTV generation”  

  1. 1 Ed Byrne

    The great thing about the web, and in particular RSS, is the coverage you can get, in a short space of time. One newspaper can’t do that.

    That’s why I think the metro will be a huge success. A paper I can get through in 20 minutes is perfect – I don’t want to spend ages reading it, because I’ve so many other source to check in with as well.

  2. 2 Piaras

    That’s the thing though – shouldn’t the Metro use the web as another channel. I know we’ve all got our owned trusted sources of info, but I find myself constantly using RTE’s RSS feed as well as watching the news in the evenings. By complimenting their core offer they cast their web (no pun intended) further in terms of audience.

  3. 3 Ed Byrne

    Of course they should! As should all the papers.

    The reason I’d read the Metro (aside from it being free) is that it’s small, manageable, and I know I can get through it in 20 mins. Maybe some days I’ll have more time, but probably not in 1 sitting.

    A good news site would really compliment the Metro.

  4. 4 Monkeyfight.org

    perfect for that 20 minute train ride into town from the suburbs in the morning, where you want stimulation, but not too much…

  5. 5 Piaras

    20 minute? Don’t you mean 40 thanks to the good old Irish public transport system :D

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Piaras Kelly
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