Without a shadow of a doubt the Net is one of the most exceptional technological revolutions of the past 50 years. Yet I believe it will never replace traditional media such as newspapers.
While the Web has become part of everyday life, it is – especially in the business world – a functional tool. City AM has a website and will launch a new portal in September. Our ambitions for the Web are clear: we want to develop the user’s experience with the brand. To achieve this we will enhance the editorial offering, such as developing our lifestyle section.
Research into our readers’ favourite lifestyle sites – recruitment, travel, property, as examples – has led to white-label partnerships with these sites. In effect, we have created a “one-stop shop” where readers can find anything from the latest financial news to where to get their hair cut in the city. The new portal will be different to any other newspaper site. We do not want to replicate our paper but enhance the overall performance of City AM and the relationship with its readers.
I doubt cityam.com will be a financial profit centre that is better than the newspaper. There are very, very few brands that have been created purely on the back of the internet. Companies still need to have an excellent product, which needs to be communicated through traditional media as well as the internet. For business, the internet is purely a sales tool. I would like to know, for instance, how much of the revenue derived by FTSE-250 companies is generated via internet versus their total billings. I would be surprised if it exceeds 10%.
If the Web is really as strong as some claim, it would carry much more brand advertising. Part of the problem here is the creative execution. Pop-ups ruin the user experience, whereas advertisements in a newspaper enhance the reader experience.
The industry needs to take a more balanced view of the internet and appreciate it is just one component that makes for a multimedia world. Let’s be pragmatic and champion each component on a real scale.
Lawson Muncaster, City AM