Blog: Terry Oprea

Terrence Oprea is the President and CEO of Mort Crim Communications and a 30-year veteran of broadcast television and radio programming. Along with his numerous awards (including local Emmy's and the National Headliner Awards), he’s presided over New Media content initiatives for online corporate communications in a variety of fields. Terry will be writing about the changes and challenges traditional media faces as technology and the Internet rewrite many of the rules.

Post No. 1

Most people just don't understand traditional "big" regional media. By that I mean daily newspapers, weekly print publications, and broadcast TV and radio stations. First, they're all making money- always have. Making money is a fundamental reason why media properties exist. And of course, if you don't make money, you can't have content and programming that serves the local population. No money, no mission, eh?

The good news is that broadcasters and print publishers are in no monetary danger that threatens their respective missions. Yet despite that success, every one of them at some level is freaking out.

But why?

Because publishing is all about audience, readership and advertising. The primary growth media not only in the Detroit Region, but in regions all over the USA are digital. Internet, Satellite Radio, Digital cable TV with Video On Demand. Tivo. DVR's. ITunes.

Did I mention daily newspapers, TV News, and your local radio stations? No, I didn't, and for good reason. Though tradtiional media may occasionally have growth in a single brand, the fact is that the total number of users taking advantage of print and traditional terrestrial broadcast properties is at best flat - and in some cases is in a state of continuing a decline that has gone on for more than a decade.

This is not good news.

So what's a traditional media property to do?  Well, they've already done it - created their own web sites. Really powerful web sites. In fact, local media web sites get millions of visitors a month.  That's because all of the traditional media properties have invested in web versions of their respective brands. Many of them simply clone their traditional media content, and put it on their web sites. But some of them have wisely invested in infrastrucuture, designated editorial staff, and produced robust amounts of "rich media" (video and audio online). Ironically, the print guys have been generally more aggressive (with some exceptions) in web investment than their broadcast counterparts.

And they promote the daylights out of their media web sites in print and broadcast, in order to grow the number of unique visitors to those sites. It costs them very little to promote using print space and broadcast time they already own. That strategy has had some significant success. One of the Detroit Region's TV stations' web sites gets over 14 million unique visitors each month. One of the daily newspapers gets a million page views each day.

So why, why, why, are the traditional media properties here and everywhere across the US freaking out?

I'll start to tell you why next time....