Olga SMETANSKAYA, “FACTS”
The theme of the future of media is now in the midst of attention, because journalism is under threat of existence in a time when society needs it like never before. In the information space flooded the huge number of fakes, and this infogame spreading worldwide as fast as a pandemic. Against the background of infogenie many Newspapers, magazines and TV channels were on the verge of being closed, thousands of journalists around the world lost their jobs. Unfortunately, society still does not fully understand that a professional media is not less important than, say, occupational medicine. Almost all sites of the world famous publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and Le Monde, has created on their portals partition the “Media”, where talk about the news in the media, opening the door of the “kitchen”, where he is preparing the information. And, apparently, for readers is not less interesting than to visit the kitchen well-known chef or the Atelier of the famous fashion designer.
How can change the media after the pandemic, the “FACTS” told a well-known journalist, chief editor of mediadome “New time”, held a training course on mediaupdate at Stanford University, Vitaly Sych.
“Many believed that to pay for the content on the website in the Ukraine, no one will, but it turned out that it is not”
— Vitaly, the British newspaper The Guardian wrote that the coronavirus has killed your appetite for the disturbing, grisly news. On the day when the death toll from the virus in the UK has increased critical, almost seven million people watched the television show how craftsmen restore old things — clocks, lamp shades, furniture… what do you think, in Ukraine, the pandemic is also reflected in the preferences of readers?
When she started, in all online media was a huge surge of interest in the news about the coronavirus. It is clear that information concerning the safety of life and health of people, all interested, and very serious. Now interest in the news on this subject has fallen because people are emotionally tired. In the quiet time is always more demand for entertainment content, “Style”, “Techno”, “Sports”… So we on the newspaper’s website trying to develop themes, which could compensate for the decline of interest in the absence of sharp news.
— It is believed that after the pandemic the first might be the theme of ecology. What do you think about this?
— Unfortunately, at us many people think that global warming, which is a danger for all mankind, it’s somewhere there, far away. Our people are more interested in what concerns them directly today. In Ukraine the subject of wide interest is the policy, because we depend on it all — money, business and other spheres of life. And in addition to the policy, as I said, people are interested in style, gastronomy, techno… And if the publication has a good balance between the political and economic news and entertainment, then this combination will be in demand. I was at the European newspaper forum in Vienna. And what is interesting: two very respected in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung, which had published the sheets, analysts have started to do the application Pro-style. They are very invested and earn well on this. And if someone from journalists said: say, why write about such nonsense, for many readers, nothing is a policy and economic news. More entertaining and useful content and updated magazine Spiegel: technology and innovation, style, cooking, parenting, psychology, travel… read About it all — including politicians and businessmen!
Digital media worldwide now trying to make content pay. According to the latest Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in the world have 16% of people pay for online news. And, for example, in Norway, these readers are already 42 percent. Many media experts say that this is the future…
– Abroad paywall already implemented and The New York Times and the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal and many publication. A number of media, for example, The Guardian in the UK, and in Ukraine — “the League” and “the Ukrainian truth” has chosen another way — donations of readers to quality independent journalism. We, in turn, the first of the major Ukrainian media introduced paid access to the content on the website. Initially, of course, had doubts. Many believed that to pay for the content on the website in Ukraine, no one will, but it turned out that it is not. It became apparent that a purely advertising model of media leads nowhere, and in 3-5 years Google and Facebook will take even more money from media and publications, remaining in the old model, will overreact to compete in Ukraine for a small island advertising funds. Not to get into such a situation, we have introduced paid content, thus broadening the sources of income.
We consulted with colleagues from Slovakia and Latvia and based on their experience. By the way, according to them, in all countries, the media are afraid of how to react to the reader in paywall, but that’s no reason not to enter. I can say that the result exceeded our expectations — more than ten thousand subscribers pay for access to content on the website. Of course, there are people who unsubscribe, but most prolong it. I think for the first year of paid content will be 20 percent of our revenues, which in principle is a good starting point.
“You have to understand: if you’re reading something for free, so it’s already someone paid”
In Norway some media sell articles individually and even promise the reader to return the money if his attention linger on the publication of no more than ten seconds. Whether it is possible to practice in the Ukrainian media?
— Why not? But I am unaware of similar precedents with return. If the reader is disappointed, he can just not renew your subscription.
For the reader willing to pay?
Is journal articles (interview and investigation), editorials and business content (news and analysis). As for the last segment, the business audience more money than usual, and they are willing to pay for the materials that are important to them. We have the website share the premium content of 5-7 percent.
— Do you think that as soon as most portals Ukrainian media will introduce a fee for digital content?
— My answer is this: the more sites will make such a move, the sooner there will be a transition to this model. For example, in the United States almost all high-quality press online paid: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post… For all developed media market environment, this is a rule. You can of course get a free tabloids. But we need to understand if you read something for free, so it’s already someone paid. For example, if you watch free channels, their owners, the oligarchs beneficial to you to see it.
— According to the latest Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, in April, the pandemic has raised the credibility of the traditional media up to 59 percent. Many readers have more trust in printed media, as, in their opinion, the information in them more reliable. As they say, that written with a pen, not cut down with an ax…
Yes, print media are considered more reliable source of information. At the beginning of the pandemic there were many versions, from what they can become infected as the disease, kills the virus in the sun or not. Especially a lot of the fakes have appeared in the tabloids and social networks. Traditional media to more carefully check the information, so people rushed to read the media to understand what is going on.
— What, in your opinion, the future of print publications?
— I think the most difficult daily publications that compete directly with the Internet. Less only problem is the monthly, because there is a different content type. In General, print media several years can feel safe if they have a website for which they are the provider of the paid content. In addition, the credibility of the sites, backed by print publications, will be higher.
— What do you think, is there any chance to clear the information space from the fakes? What method of verification of the information you consider most reliable?
— At the beginning of the pandemic, people’s emotions were running high, and many of the media, the temptation to get ahead of the competitors tried to pass off information as soon as possible. Now the degree of intensity has fallen, and therefore fake, I assume, will be less. Of course, check out the info you need — I think, first of all, you need to look at its source.
The “main “effect” of the pandemic that I see is that people like to work from home”
With your point of view can change our life after the pandemic? In one foreign publication read the forecast of a psychologist that the pandemic will instill today’s children fear to engage in extreme sports and even travel.
— About extreme sports will not say, and to travel, hopefully, will be soon, that everything will be fine. The main “effect” of the pandemic that I see is that people liked to work at home. Many have realized that the office and business can operate remotely. Previously this was difficult to imagine, but it turned out that it can work quite well. Once in the Esquire magazine was published data from a survey of people who were dying, on the subject of what they most regret. Mostly respondents were of regret that I worked too much and everything else they didn’t have the time. I think a lot of people during the pandemic have realized that they can work from home, to communicate more with family and children and thus make their lives more comfortable.
— A few years ago in Israel at auction for 1.5 million dollars was sold in the recipe of happiness from albert Einstein, who he once wrote on a paper towel in a Japanese hotel: “a Quiet and modest life brings more happiness than striving for success”. Do you think the pandemic will change the concept of happiness?
— You know, I’m reading a book Mo Gawdat “Formula of happiness”. The author of the book — an American engineer who worked at Google. Passed in my life many tests, he derived the following formula: “Happiness is reality minus expectations.” If expectations are such that he can’t reach them, will feel unhappy. I think this will be rethinking many things. For example, the fact that you can work hard and earn, but not to be happy, but can be a bit slow to get more enjoyment out of life.
— What would you wish readers of “FACTS”?
— Wish the pandemic as soon as possible ended, all returned to normal life, able to travel, go to restaurants and enjoy life.
See also: Many companies will consider the possibility to work without an office, — digital-expert Nikolai Regines
Earlier in interview to “FACTS” well-known media expert, chief editor of the portal “media Detector” Natalia Ligachev also expressed the opinion that the pandemic will hasten the transition of media to paid content.
Photo from album of Vitaliy Sych