According to Technopedia, “Media is the plural form of medium, which (broadly speaking) describes any channel of communication. This can include anything from printed paper to digital data, and encompasses art, news, educational content and numerous other forms of information. Digital media, which makes up an increasingly vast portion of modern communications, is comprised of intricately encoded signals that are transmitted over various forms of physical and virtual media, such as fiber optic cable and computer networks.”
It is an area I have worked in consistently over the last 15 or so years, a period in which it has undergone, and continues to undergo, immense change and, yes, disruption. Beyond working within and across different mediums – print, television, digital and radio – I spend quite a bit of time trying to keep up with trends, best practice and experimentation globally.
Within an African context, because of the narrative that has been pushed for eons, issues around representation and the media’s distorted views on things like beauty, I do believe that there is a social responsibility for those us working within the media landscape. It is about changing the narrative. Who and what we explore, how we do it, etc. But, too often, we forget that at the core of the discussion on media and its evolution are the business models. And those business models are in flux, with all of us struggling to find the right fit.
I remember when I was in magazine around 2010. It had been decided that print was dead and digital was the future. Yet, few us explored what that meant from a revenue perspective. There was, and is, the assumption that by shifting to digital, everything would be alright. But, the revenues from digital lagged far behind what print was generating and businesses were structured around print, which made it difficult to change direction.
In my view, we have gone from businesses where one medium was the ‘hero’ in the business with everything built around it to a situation where there is no central platform. To focus simply on magazine or newspaper or radio station or website is to forever be a step behind. It is about creating an ecosystem of sorts, working across multiple media, which brings with it its own unique challenges because revenue may come from only one or two. It is about balancing resources – financial and otherwise – and ensuring that the business, overall, is profitable. And it is about exploring all the mediums, including events, merchandising, and everything in between.
I had the opportunity to chat to Ntokozo Mazibuko and Preteesh Sewraj on the POWER Lunch on Power FM about this, storytelling and influence.