NZ news organisations have a number of different tools at their disposal to communicate with their constituents. From television broadcasters to radio stations and newspapers, it is the digital forum where these enterprises are needing to adapt – and quickly! The competition across New Zealand is not the same as the United States, United Kingdom or even Australia, but many of the same challenges and opportunities exist in this environment.
There are viewers, readers and listeners who remain wedded to their traditional habits and will be happy to stick with these mediums so long as they remain in place. Yet a growing percentage of citizens at community level are receiving their news through their digital devices. This is a trend that is heading in only one direction.
The financial component is the single biggest driver which has seen NZ news organisations making the switch across to a digital profile. The price of printing and distributing newspapers, running deluxe television studios and radio station hubs is costly business. It is not just the news personalities that front those enterprises but all of the additional staff that have to produce the content behind the scenes where the money really escalates. By embracing website integration with streaming and publishing tools at a lower rate, the overheads become more manageable.
NZ news organisations are geared to serve the interests of the public and if their consumption habits change over time, then it is the responsibility of the business to adapt their working model to meet that requirement. In the current landscape the smart TV, the laptop, the smartphone, the desktop and tablet are commonly the tools of choice to see what is happening in the world day to day. Expecting the community to gravitate to their standard television set or their car radio station doesn’t have the influence that it used to have.
The fact remains that NZ news organisations can achieve more reach to more people when they embrace digital forms of technology. Websites offer brands a chance to share their content through a series of various channels 24 hours of the day and 7 days a week. There is no interruption with broadcast scheduling or advertisements that interfere with the production. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and podcast outlets including iTunes and Spotify give news networks an opportunity to tap into new markets. The focus on the news agenda can stay the same, but their flexibility across these domains will increase their following.
The quality of the content will improve when NZ news organisations are tapped into social media feeds, live streaming, digital mapping and other modern features that add value to the production. Waiting until 6pm to receive the official news bulletin or the next day when the paper arrives is too late in the cycle to stay up to date with what is happening locally, nationally and overseas. By having these outlets available, the organisation can broadcast live news conferences, events and information form trusted sources as soon as they receive it.
It is an unfortunate reality but there are enough case studies of NZ news organisations at a local level folding or being acquired to save on costs. Some owners will move reluctantly to this change while others are already ahead of the curve to embrace new strategies and tools that make their work easier and more cost efficient over the course.
NZ news organisations at their core are a public good and they must remain viable. In order to achieve that target, they have to recognise and adapt to digital forms of communication with their followers. The technology is there and available to make it happen for the business.