With the advent of news on mobile devices, the public relations industry as a whole shrugged. Then they started hemorrhaging money left and right. Pundits and prognosticators weighed in, predicting DOOM for the Traditional Media. New media, they presumed, was king. People didn’t want Old Media anymore when they could get it on their phones. But, trends are not always to be trusted. Rumors of News’ death may have been premature.
While the momentum is still decidedly on the side of New Media News, at least one contender to the throne of Tomorrow’s Media has fallen from contention. Former New Media Cinderella “Circa News” recently reported that it would be putting its news app on “indefinite hiatus.” That, usually, is code for “we’re done with this.” It’s almost always cheaper and more profitable to come up with a new idea than to try to resurrect a proven loser.
Then again, Circa News may not really have been a bad idea. It may have just been too expensive for its developers to continue to produce. That’s the current story being floated, anyway. The promise had been “breaking news faster and better and more mobile-friendly than ever before…” then they ran out of cash and had to pull the plug.
Wait, you argue, isn’t there more cash out there for a concept with some momentum behind it? Usually, yes. Unless that idea is going nowhere.
In their swan song missive, the decision makers at Circa divulged a fact all media tycoons understand – real news is expensive to produce. Here’s what Circa’s CEO Matt Galligan had to say:
“Producing high-quality news can be a costly endeavor and without the capital necessary to support further production we are unable to continue.”
This is the dynamic all digital news agencies and app producers have to face. The news business is hard, profit is tough to come by and making it work on a reasonable budget is next to impossible. Competition is fierce, and the public appetite is immediate. Delays don’t just cost money, they kill companies.
At the center of all of those dynamics is the reader. The fickle, ever-changing reader. There was a time when media control was absolute. Now a single-menu restaurant has become an all you can eat buffet of options. To be consumed, media has to be chosen. That means media – both old and new – is subject to the same dynamics that govern the marketing of any other high-competition product or service. Those who figure out how to work within that paradigm will survive. Those who ignore it, favorable winds or otherwise, will sink.