Changing tides of China media

By Pauline D.Loh ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-18 07:23:26

The buzzwords that resonate in the boardrooms now are from a totally new vocabulary. Unique selling points, key performance indices, product management and marketing, native advertising ...these are all exotic fresh terms to learn.

Buying the latest hardware and getting the latest software are just part of the process. The most important changes come from the most important asset in any news organization - the people.

For people to change, the corporate culture must change.

A unifying corporate culture preaches the company creed, views it as a complete whole, and not as a group of separate entities with individual interests, much like the competing communes of the past whose purpose is reflected in their Chinese name - "production brigade".

The Chinese media market place is still somewhat like the Wild Wild West, and success stories revolve around the bold and adventurous. Sooner or later, and in China it is still likely to be sooner than later, things will settle, and then it will all boil down to who gets his act together first.

As the market finds the most level playing field, mergers are already happening, and in Shanghai especially, we see it in a marriage of print and digital platforms, of newspapers and magazines, of general and niche media.

Media is not the only thing that is changing. How clients advertise, and what they are looking for in buying into media is also very different from just a decade ago. They want interaction, they want instant gratification, and they want to know which media works best - and they want to know it all, yesterday.

For newsroom managers told to keep an eye on the bottom line, there is yet another line that swims into vision with increasing frequency - the thin line that divides editorial credibility and successful marketing of the product.

It calls for a completely different set of skills from those taught in journalism school.

The hardest lessons to learn are about connecting the product and potential clients, and that always starts by listening. In China, that's often the most difficult thing to master.

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