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商业 - 传媒与文化

2013,媒体能否逃出生天?

Erika Fry 2013年01月04日

回首2012年,我们可以发现,新闻和出版业现在的处境,并不比一年前好多少,他们依然在苦苦追寻一种可持续的商业模式。新的一年,新闻出版业又将面临哪些新情况?

    BuzzFeed创始人兼CEO乔纳·佩雷蒂

    2012年既是一个备受争议的总统大选年,又是一个奥运年,我们还在这一年中目睹了一个又一个的悲剧。你或许认为,美国媒体肯定在2012年斩获颇丰,但事实并非如此。媒体世界现在的境遇并不比一年前好多少,他们依然在苦苦追寻一种可持续的商业模式。但这并不意味着在过去一年中,媒体业并未展现出一丝生机,并未出现给人以启迪的时刻。那么,我们能从2012年获得哪些教益呢?

    封面出位、内容收费还不够

    去年倒下的知名媒体包括:《新闻周刊》(Newsweek)和新奥尔良的《时代花絮报》(The Times-Picayune)。前者的印刷版寿终正寝,后者则不再每日发行。就连被视为报纸守护神的沃伦·巴菲特也售出了旗下一家报社的股权。

    甚至连最受尊崇的媒体机构去年也未能交出一张及格的成绩单。《纽约时报》(The New York Times)12月份宣布裁减编辑团队。电视新闻的收视率继续呈下降趋势。《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)则被“釜底抽薪”:其母公司新闻集团(News Corp.)宣布该集团将重组为两部分:一部分经营包括福克斯新闻网(Fox News)在内的娱乐资产,另一部分则经营包括《华尔街日报》在内的印刷出版资产。

    与此同时,各大出版机构合纵连横的趋势依然在继续。最新一个案例是,兰登书屋(Random House)和企鹅出版社(Penguin)于10月份宣布合并。近来有传言称,哈珀柯林斯出版社(HarperCollins)或将与西蒙舒斯特出版公司(Simon & Schuster)合并,所有这些努力都是为了抵御亚马逊公司(Amazon)的咄咄逼人的攻势。

    广告商继续在网络、社交媒体和视频平台上追逐日益分散化的观众。显然,传统媒体需要改变,但另一个同样越来越明显的事实是,仅仅竖立起一道付费墙,就宣告任务完成,这是不够的。

    科技公司进一步染指媒体领域

    YouTube、Twitter和Tumblr等科技类公司之所以能够成长起来,同时受到普遍欢迎,部分原因在于这些公司提供了一个开放性平台:任何人可以在这些平台上发布任何内容。这一点并不会改变,但公民新闻已不再是这些网站的主角。科技公司们正在进行一次逆向工程试验:它们现在开始雇佣职业记者为自己庞大的用户群编辑、策划和创造内容。2月份,Tumblr朝这个方向迈出了一步——该公司开始雇佣自己的编辑团队。作为2011年启动的一项计划的组成部分,商务社交网站LinkedIn继续聚合并打造原创内容。亚马逊已经在从事出版和电影制作业务。Twitter正在尝试类似于媒体的产品,比如其“目标网页”就包含了经策划过的内容。为了成为明日的电视,YouTube去年10月份宣布,该公司将把播放专业制作内容的频道数量翻一番,扩充的内容包括一个ESPN频道,以及一个播放迈克尔·塞拉和萨拉·西尔弗曼喜剧节目的频道。

    In a year with a highly contentious presidential election, the Olympics, and tragedy, after tragedy, after tragedy, you'd think 2012 would have been a banner year for American media. Not so. The media world is on no firmer ground than it was a year ago as it continues its quest for a sustainable business model. But that doesn't mean the industry lacked for signs of life or teachable moments in the past year. What have we learned in 2012?

    Provocative covers and paywalls are not enough

    Among the carnage this year: Newsweek ended its print operations. The Times-Picayune in New Orleans stopped daily delivery, and even Warren Buffett, patron saint of newspapers, shuttered one of his holdings.

    Even the media's most venerable institutions didn't get a pass this year. The New York Times (NYT) announced newsroom reductions in December. TV news network viewership continued its downward trend. And The Wall Street Journal effectively had the rug pulled out from under it when parent company News Corp. (NWS) announced it was restructuring itself into two operations: one with entertainment properties (Fox News included) and the other with its print publication properties (WSJ included).

    Meanwhile, the big publishing houses continued their march towards consolidation -- most recently, Random House and Penguin announced a merger in October, and rumors have circulated over a potential HarperCollins-Simon & Schuster pairing -- all in an effort to give Amazon (AMZN) a run for its money.

    As advertisers continue to chase splintering audiences to online, social, and video platforms, it's clear that traditional media is in need of change, but it's also becoming obvious that putting up a paywall and calling it a day isn't enough.

    Tech dips another toe into the media pool

    The likes of YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr all grew and gained popularity in part because they were open to content from anyone. That's not going to change, but citizen journalism is no longer the starring act it once was at these sites. In an experiment of reverse engineering, tech companies are now hiring professional journalists to edit, curate, and create content for their massive user bases. Tumblr took a step in this direction in February when it hired its own editors, while LinkedIn (LNKD) continued to aggregate and build out original content as part of an effort it launched in 2011. Amazon is already in the publishing and movie production business. Twitter is flirting with media-like products, like "destination pages" with curated content. And in an effort to become tomorrow's TV, YouTube announced in October that it's doubling down on professionally produced channels: among the expanded offerings, an ESPN channel and a comedy channel with Michael Cera and Sarah Silverman.

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