Is ‘pay-per-scoop’ the salvation for traditional media?

Why are some media doing fine?  Online ‘pure players’ like Business Insider and Politico but also specialised services like Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Reuters are not suffering as much from the disruption that’s shaking the media world to its core.

Frédéric Filloux of Monday Note sees a pattern: the hungry bird gets the worm.

In countries, regions, or segments where newsrooms compete the most on a daily basis (on digital or print), business is doing just fine. At the other end of the spectrum, the French press mostly gave up competing. (…)

Worse, Filloux says, the French media don’t actually want to compete anymore. Their market shares are fixed, they’re locked in an uncomfortable coopetition where actually showing any competitive spirit is considered bad form. (Reminds me a bit of the situation in Belgium).

Reminding someone of the importance of competing, of sometimes taking a piece of news from someone else’s plate tends to be seen as ill-mannered, not done. The result is an accelerating drop in newspapers sales.

Digital players do not suffer from such a cumbersome legacy. Building organizations from scratch, they hired younger staff and set up highly motivated newsrooms. Pure players such as Politico, Business Insider, TechCrunch and plenty of others are fighting in their beat, sometimes against smaller but sharper blogs.

Financial news also fall into that same category. Bloomberg, DowJones and Reuters are fighting for their market-mover status as well for the quality — and usefulness — of their reporting; subscriptions to their service depends on such performance.

Is ‘pay-per-scoop’ the solution for traditional media?

Filloux also thinks that the demographics of the newsroom (aging) but especially management are a factor. Traditional media shy away from the very thing that might make their journalists hungry again:

(…) “quantifiable motivation” for the staff. At Bloomberg — one of the most aggressive news machine in the world — reporters are provided financial incentives for their general performance and rewarded for exclusive information. Salaries and bonuses are high, so is the workload. But CVs are pouring in — a meaningful indicator.

It’s high time to reshuffle the nucleotides and splice in competitive DNA strands, they do contribute to economic performance.

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via It’s the Competitive Spirit, Stupid | Monday Note.

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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