The costs and the competition

For the average person, using and contributing to social media is a low cost exercise. Most have access to a computer and, in the UK at least, many have the equipment with with to take photos and record video.

But what about news broadcasters? How do they pariticipate, and how do they keep up with the competition?

Talking to many people in the industry it seems generally recognised that the BBC have the best online news service. They’ve invested a large amount into developing the site, with dedicated teams running it and satellite contributors in it’s regional news.

They have been harnessing user generated contact for years, have dedicated and well maintained blogs from editors and featured writers, and encourage debate around topics whilst enforcing tried and tested house rules. It’s a phenomenal operation unmatched by any other.

It’s big rivals are behind. Far behind.  They know it, and so do the public.

It’s vital in the ever increasing online dependence the public has for consuming news, that news organisations develop their online content and social media outlets to reenforce their brand and audience interaction.

Last night ITV Yorkshire held their first live web chat with it’s audience, talking online through the website with a local councillor. The level of participation was good considering it was the first time it had been run, and it’s easy to see the benefits of increasing interaction with the audience.

ITV are pledging to invest in and redevelop their websites and content in order to try and catch up with its main competitor. This is a large scale operation that will take time, but really essential in this digital age. I wonder how they will do it…?

It raises questions: Can commercial broadcasters keep up with publicly funded organisations?  If not, why not? If they can, then why aren’t they doing it?

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