What Will Media Look Like in Digital Britain?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Ah, the fuss around Digital Britain is growing, isn’t it? And I don’t just mean the report – I mean how Britain looks in a digital future. Events like a judge giving The Times approval to reveal the identity of an anonymous police blogger, or evidence being given to select committees seem to be marking battle lines between traditional media and the new breed of small, passionate upstarts.

I quite liked these posts written in reponse which give a glimpse into what the media future might actually look like. 853 cites existing south east London sites that need nurturing more than the traditional model:

There’s already a variety of different types of community site – greenwich.co.uk has cash backing while volunteer-run Brockley Central has evolved quickly from its beginnings as a local blog. The daddies of them all are Brixton’s Urban 75 – run for love – and London SE1, which also incorporates a print version of its local news site. These are what need nurturing, not the busted flushes based far from the areas they claim to serve. All have varying elements of local news, but all have the same stated commitment to their patches.

And Rick Waghorn covers some basic facts of new publishing in a marvellously entertaining rant:

Last time I looked, I had some c35,000 uniques, on average visiting three-and-a-half times a month and when they did, average ‘engagement’ time was the better part of seven minutes. Varied, by month; by the team’s performance – January, when the transfer window opens, we have an absolute ball…

As will the football section of any ‘ThisIsSomething’ site… big, sticky content delivered online to a passionate, niche audience.
And once unbundled from the broad and damning brushstroke delivered by Ms Enders, those people deliver the kind of demographics advertisers like. I’ve got the British Army signed up on a 12-month deal; cos our core audience is 16-30 males. Bingo.

There’s no rule that says the media that emerges from this transformative phase we’re going through has to look anything like the media we have now.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.