It is no secret that the media landscape is changing at an extreme pace. There are thousands of outlets out there that focus on niche parts of culture and because consumers of media have a limited attention span, outlets need to stay ahead of the curve to be in front of the new media trends.
I recently took a tour of Vox Media’s new office here in New York City. Vox Media is a quintessential example of where the media industry is going. Vox Media is the multi-platform parent company of eight brands focusing on different facets of modern culture such as technology, sports, cuisine, gaming, fashion, home décor, business and virtual reality. The office had an open floor plan for open communication. An overwhelming majority of their employees were millennials. Snacks and juice bars were a plenty, and dress was super casual.
Their innovative office environment is indicative of where the media industry is inevitably going. Modern media companies are obsessed with staying on the cutting edge. The Vox Media sales executive, who also served as my tour guide, told me that “thrive on change” is their mantra. Companies like Vox Media have to thrive on change to compete with other outlets like Vice Media, Buzzfeed and Mashable.
If media companies want to stay competitive, they need to always think innovatively. For example, media outlets have increasingly started to produce their own original video content. In the lower levels of the Vox Media offices, they have an in-house video production studio decked out with sound proof studios and a control booth. They have even tapped production execs from popular television shows like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Producing original content is vital to media organizations since viral videos are now engrained in our culture and seems to be the number one topic of conversation on a daily basis.
Modern consumers of media like Millennials and Gen-Xers are obsessed with social media and media companies need to keep a strong presence on those platforms. A focused goal for them needs to be developing a strong following on social media since this is where news is now being consumed.
PR and marketing agencies will also need to take a page out of the book of new media. If their ultimate end goal is to raise their clients profile and be a part of trends and conversations, they will need to move away from the old school way of doing things and start embracing the current media climate. This could be seen in hiring a team of social media experts to grow a strong following for clients or by producing videos and strong thought leadership on a timely topic that may to go viral. Agencies should also recognize that traditional news outlets like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, while prestigious, are not attracting the same audience as they once did. It would be beneficial for agencies to focus on placing their clients in up-and-coming outlets like Vox Media or Buzzfeed because this is where people are flocking to get their news.
A lot of media professionals are nostalgic and like to approach media in a more traditional way. Whether we like it or not, the media landscape is drastically changing and if media companies and agencies want to remain relevant, they need to adapt to the new ways media is being produced and consumed. Don’t fight it, embrace it!