Business of Media Management

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Presentation at Cairo University to mark opening of Media Management course, April 2010

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Business of Media Management

  1. 1. The management of media business<br />George Brock<br />Professor and Head of Journalism<br />City University London<br />Media Management Diploma, Cairo University, <br />April 2010<br />
  2. 2. Managing media is different<br />It is harder <br />
  3. 3. Why? (1)<br />Motives are mixed:<br />Profit?<br />Influence?<br />Mixture?<br />None of the above<br />
  4. 4. Why? (2)<br />Structure cannot be unified into a single hierarchy<br />Content producers<br />Commercial management<br />
  5. 5. Not FAQ but FMM (or FM2)<br />Pretending that it’s a cement factory<br />Failing to allow editorial autonomy<br />Keeping editorial too separate<br />Not studying society<br />
  6. 6. Media managers are -ologists<br />Anthropologists<br />Futurologists<br />News media markets volatile<br />Trends to watch: technology, economy, society, culture/taste<br />Quality research essential<br />
  7. 7. Futurology more important than ever<br />Digital changes a lot<br />Poses big questions – for all sides of the business<br />Buffet’s thought exercise<br />
  8. 8. Warren Buffet:<br />“Assume that Gutenberg had never invented the printing press, and that the news dissemination business originally evolved around the internet and TV. If somebody came to you and said “I’ve got this great idea. Let’s start a business where we print the news on paper. We’ll run printing presses all night and distribute the papers with huge fleets of trucks, so that people can read about what happened yesterday. Would you invest in that?”<br />
  9. 9. Q&A<br />Business Q: what replaces print advertising income if (when) it falls?<br />Answer: experiment until you find what works<br />Editorial Q: if anyone can be a journalist, what is special about the journalism you publish?<br />A: We have to define our value more clearly (see http://bit.ly/b8zW3x)<br />
  10. 10. Throwing spaghetti at the wall<br />Media companies often good operations companies<br />…and need to become innovation laboratories<br />Different sort of management required:<br />Agile<br />Unsentimental<br />Investments like flying pasta<br />
  11. 11. Management+editorial<br />I assume:<br />Best editorial is left alone<br />Competition is good<br />“Chinese wall”<br />Editorial quality creates, sustains trust<br />Editorial needs enforceable ethics rules<br />At the top, both sides must understand strategic framework<br />
  12. 12. Framework answers these questions<br />What are we doing?<br />Why are we doing it?<br />What value are we planning to add?<br />What does success look like?<br />
  13. 13. “Measurement” of editorial output<br />Intrinsically hard to measure<br />Misuse it and readers notice<br />Performance should be audited by Editor-in-Chief<br />? Managing Editor system<br />Editorial best led by single brain<br />Digital means flexible<br />
  14. 14. If you must measure…<br />Persuasion better than discipline<br />Section heads have a pivotal role<br />Online data: treat with caution<br />Leave time for growth<br />Content appeal comes first, business plan after<br />Don’t get obsessed by floor plans<br />
  15. 15. www.city.ac.uk/journalism/<br />www.georgebrock.net<br />

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