I have, for over a week now, been trying to complete my India Social Media Trends 2009 piece and not having succeeded in doing so, decided to write them one by one, rather than all at one go. They are NOT in specific order or priority based on impact so request that you read them so. Here’s the first one that I got prompted to write after reading this piece Difficult Days: low ad revenue, pagination by Ashish Bagga, CEO, Living Media India Ltd, in LiveMint’s 2009 Trend Predictions series.
Bloggers make money via mainstream media and micro-publishing.
Making money in print media is tricky business even in normal times. Advertising & Circulation contribute 65:35 average revenue respectively as cover prices are subsidized significantly in most cases. Advertising revenues have to keep pace with circulation growth, as you are losing money for each extra copy that you sell. A slowdown in advertising could make dynamics change quickly. The Mint article talks about the following as an outcome of this:
- Higher cover price, leading to lower circulation.
- Lower pagination – expect ad driven supplements to come less frequently; city supplements may get thinner; even regular pages may reduce.
The piece also predicts:
- Rightsizing of human resource will be another key trend. Both the number of employees as well as the cost of employment will be under review.
Effort would be to cut salaries and infrastructure cost. In this scenario, I would expect:
- More dependence on content generated by wire agencies.
- For some bloggers, this may clearly mean that over are the days of “loser generated content” – as my dear friend Narayan Madhavan of Hindustan Times refers to blogger/ user generated content, as s/he has hitherto not been paid; has mostly felt grateful to mainstream media if it has chosen to feature her content; in many cases the content has been plagiarized anyway – often, not just without permission, but also without due credit.
In comes, paid – syndicated content, enhanced recognition & visibility for the blog writer/s. Experiments in this direction (the reasons may be different) have already begun with Kamla Bhatt’s excellent tie-up with LiveMint and ContentSutra drawing content from VCCircle.
Expect more and more content from blogs to be sought by mainstream media as, even after payments to blog writers/ blogs the costs will typically be much cheaper than staffers. I have always said about blog credibility : credibility has nothing to do with the tool, but with the name behind the words/ voice. This one is a win-win for both parties involved and a trend likely to go North in 2009.