Legacy media must learn digital economics



Monday marked the official opening of the 2015 International News Media Association World Congress in New York City, as a packed auditorium at The TimesCenter received a welcome and introduction from Yasmin Namini, president of INMA.

“It’s so wonderful to see so many old friends,” Namini said. “It’s even more wonderful to see so many new faces in the audience.”

Namini, who spent a 30-year career with The New York Times, gave the audience a list of different interesting facts surrounding The TimesCenter. This site for the INMA World Congress boasts 52 floors, 1.5 million square feet of space, and has served as the sixth home for The New York Times since 1851. Namini then turned to discussing the congress attendees themselves.

“We have a willingness to share our stories among each other like no other association in the world,” Namini said.

Namini then invited the record-breaking crowd of more than 500 attendees to participate in the World Call of Nations, where attendees stood and remained standing when their country was announced. This year’s World Congress has a representation of media companies from 45 countries around the world.

Namini then turned the stage over to Earl Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA, who opened with reflections from the Media Disruption Study Tour conducted prior to the World Congress, visiting Manhattan and Brooklyn’s digital media houses like VICE Media Group. Wilkinson compared the ideas and concepts of legacy versus digital in relation to media.

“I call it two ends of a rope burning toward each other,” he said.

Wilkinson explained the differences: legacy media is very serious about news and quality, while digital is a means to an end for journalism, with legacy making decisions based on the heart while digital is making decisions based on analytics. Wilkinson discussed these in relation to changes in technology trends, including devices such as wearables.

“It’s about connectivity, the shift to consumers,” he said.

Wilkinson then took a look at the priorities of media companies in the next year, showing that consumer-paid content, digital alternative revenue streams, e-commerce, and paywall development had all dropped in interest.

With subjects including Big Data 2.0 and programmatic advertising advertising on the plate, Wilkinson explained why he believes so many people are in the audience: “We have to unlearn print economics and learn digital economics.” 

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