As new types of media continue to emerge and evolve, you might imagine the old media skills, together with the old media themselves, are becoming irrelevant. However recent trends would suggest you’d be wrong on both counts. Let’s take the ‘old media’ first. The TV streaming services, which had been eating the lunch of the traditional broadcasters, have gone ex-growth. At the same time as falling subscriber numbers at Netflix have been hitting the headlines, research from Kantar suggests that more than 1.5 million UK households , hit by cost of living pressures, got rid of their streaming subscriptions during the first quarter of this year.
At the same time the BBC’s news output and that of other long-standing media brands have been growing again in terms of global reach and subscriber numbers. The recent rise in geopolitical tensions has boosted this trend. Although the lack of younger readers remains an issue, serious news brands such as the Telegraph, Times and New York Times have built impressively solid, and growing, digital subscriber bases. In fact at News UK, where it always used to be the tabloid Sun propping up the more serious Times, now it’s the other way around.
At the same time the great media decentralisation – with social media influencers grabbing the attention on TikTok, Instagram or YouTube – means that anyone, or any organisation, can become a broadcaster. Those who succeed and rise above the noise are those with good communication skills and something interesting to say, understanding those traditional journalistic instincts of knowing what’s relevant to the audience. This is what we continue to teach in our media training. It means that more often than not it’s the individual we trust, not the organisation. So, Marcus Rashford (rather than Manchester United) or MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis (rather than its parent company MoneySuperMarket). This is why the smarter organisations in the financial services sector (Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor etc) have all been busy recruiting media-friendly commentators who can be smart on social media, and also shape the debate on broadcast radio and TV. Those core media skills are more relevant than ever – ignore them at your peril.
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