Friday AM January 16th, 2009

Big media is another industry facing economic pressures, and many have been changing their business models in order to survive. Ed Mayberry reports.

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The business models historically dependent on print ad revenue — newspapers and magazines — have been scrambling to develop a presence online.  The move is largely being driven by changes in consumer behavior, as Gordon Plutsky of King Fish Media in Boston explains.

"Consumers are becoming more diffuse and people are spending much more time online and marketers now are much more interested more than ever, and the economy has just exasperated this trend in that they're looking for measurable results.  With traditional media, yes, you can measure that through ratings, but it's just telling you kinda about eyeballs.  It's not telling you if you took anyone closer to becoming a customer.  When you do something interactive, you can also capture someone's name, their lead.  Also you can send them right to a site where they can buy something."

Newspapers and commercial broadcasters have been trying to embrace the Web, but they've had to balance resulting revenue reductions.

"The rates that they were able to charge when it was in its original format — whether it be in a print version of the New York Times or on NBC network — are dramatically higher than they are what you're able to capture on the Web."

One major change is that material put on the Web is worldwide.

"The barriers that used to give the media companies their riches, and why they made so much money, is because they had a stranglehold on certain geographic areas or they had a certain platform, but the Web has knocked all those down."

Plutsky says handheld devices are becoming more important, as are social networking applications.  

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...