Friday, October 16, 2009

The View From the Phlipside

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside
I've talked a lot over the last year or so about the changes in the media, especially for the print media. As a life long reader of books, newspapers and magazines the future for those media are of great interest to me. Not just because I like reading but because each of them provide a unique and I believe important service to society. We've seen lots of ideas that haven't worked and some big names crash and burn. The latest in that line is Gourmet magazine. Last week the publisher Conde Nast announced that November's issue would be the last for the magazine. Even in an age when more and more of us are interested in good food and cooking for ourselves Gourmet couldn't keep the doors open.

So I guess the question is this - is there a successful formula out there? Is there a way that you can move to the digital world and be a success? The honest answer to that has to be we still don't know. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal may point us toward an interesting example however. The newspaper interviewed Sports Illustrated's Peter King about his transition from being one of the most respected print sports writers to being one of the digital world's most successful sports writers. King's online column "Monday Morning Quarterback" is reportedly generating 2 million visits a week. That, in the language of the advertising world, is a lot of eyes. Meaning a lot of chances to see a product, a message, a sales pitch. The question is what makes the difference? Take nothing away from Peter King, he's a bright, articulate writer who has serious connections in the NFL. He's well known and well respected. So quality content needs to be on the list of reasons why his transition has worked. In the article however King notes one other thing that has really seemed to make a difference. Peter King is just...well, Peter King. He talks about himself and his real life. The majority of his readers really like it because it helps them connect with him. Stories about the death of a pet and his daughter's field hockey results hit a chord in his readership.

And that may be the key ingredient we need to be looking at. Old line media tended to be impersonal. Especially print media. Electronic media, like TV and Radio, have always had the ability to bring "real people", or the illusion of real people, into the audience's home. Digital communication tends to be a very personal medium. That kind of personal connection may just be the winning ticket in the media lottery.

Call that the view from the Phlipside

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