Migration from analogue terrestrial transmission to digital formats has seen a stirring of the waters in the traditional media landscape. The numbers are in and there has been quite the attrition on two fronts; first the regulator driven switch has forced media houses to rethink their rate cards with a rebased reach and second the revenue decline has seen the culling of executives in a normalization drive to ensure longer term sustainability, as many of the incumbents figure it out.
The real onslaught is however on the format and mode of media consumption, with a mobile first audience that has flipped the flow of information with the citizen journalist providing real-time access to news worthy content from the mundane to the serious, feeding an always connected and ready to engage audience.
There are six factors that call for a journalism reboot. Journalism defined by the American Press Institute as “the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.”
Safaricom is pushing hard on its 4G rollout with unverified statistics placing new smart phone sales at sixty five percent and Airtel recently reporting a good run on their latest data product Unliminet. The uptake of mobile data and devices with a wider range of capabilities will not abate soon.
The concept of YouTube spaces as done by Google, currently only live in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, New York, Sao Paulo, Berlin that provide production facilities for content producers and innovators will take root and open up the creative space by commoditizing production.
Nichecasting and the ability to make bank from small but high value audiences, flying under the radar of mainstream advertising riding on targeted outreach made possible by mobile inventory is also now a reality.
Setting up a media distribution outfit based off in country hosting to offer content on demand or via always on streams is now affordable with a rudimentary but working solution possible in as little as 72 hours, down to billing.
Ambitious journalism focused projects are pushing the envelope on innovation from both sides of the divide; traditional outfits and startups. The Knight News Foundation for example has drone journalism project with a fund earmarked for “research and experimentation on the use of unmanned aerial vehicle as news and information-gathering tools” while Code for Africa , “Africa’s largest data journalism and civic technology initiative, operates Citizen Labs to help fast-track digital experimentation and transformation in newsrooms.
While other issues such as bias, objectivity, verification and accuracy arise in the democratized space, the old gated walls of traditional broadcast and print journalism are on their deathbed.