Leader: New media channels reach tipping point

We stand on the cusp of a revolution. Anyone who works in the media at the moment, whether a producer of content or a PR professional, realises we've reached another crossroads.

But unlike the last intersection, at the height of the dotcom boom, this time we must move ahead rather than turn off to the side. Back in 1999, the traditional media tried to recreate their formats online, with little understanding of how consumption of content was changing.

But now one senses we are reaching the tipping point between old and new media. Modest estimates suggest 80,000 new blog sites are launched every week. Convergence and interactivity, much talked about but rarely achieved in the last tech boom, are becoming a reality.

Respected media brands such as the BBC and The Guardian are following the lead of tech brands Google and Apple, investing millions in delivering their content to wireless and portable devices. And PR professionals are being forced to adapt accordingly as business leaders and politicians demand new ways to evaluate, influence, or simply cope with, the wild west of news and opinion that the internet has become.

From a marketing point of view, technology is generating growth within the PR industry itself. The tech PR consultancy business feels dynamic, while generalist consultancies are securing lucrative work from tech manufacturers, mobile operators and a new wave of dotcoms such as MySpace.

This week PRWeek introduces a technology news page to help monitor developments in this area. Bulletins will be sent out online and we will be introducing a round-up of the best blogs. On 21 June the first PR and the New Media Conference will take place in London. The 2006 PRWeek Awards, which opens for entries this week, will include a new category for Best Use of New Media.

Like other content brands and comms professionals, PRWeek does not claim to have all the answers, but we certainly aim to embrace the debate with gusto.
danny.rogers@haynet.com

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