Decline of News-on-paper: United States


Mapping the decline of news-on-paper

[Latest update: December 15, 2017]
The Newspaper Extinction Timeline, released in 2010, predicted that news-on-paper would become “insignificant” in the U.S. Read the Review of the Newspaper Extinction Timelinefor full context.

This page compiles some of the most recent available data on the state of news-on-paper in the U.S. Note that there are massive challenges to gaining an accurate current view of the state of news-on-paper.

  • The Newspaper Association of America (now renamed News Media Alliance) stopped providing detailed industry information in 2013.
  • Publicly listed news organizations have been largely very opaque in providing details on their print revenue and circulation.
  • Almost all so-called “newspaper circulation” figures available include both paper and digital formats. Most of the data below includes both paper and digital so does not provide real insight into the state of news-on-paper.

However the most important issue is NOT the decline of news-on-paper, but from the position we are in today how we can best create a positive future for the news industry over all channels.

More than a 1/3 of paid daily newspaper circulation has disappeared over 10 years

At the turn of the century, newspaper circulation in the United States rested at a relatively stable level of approximately 55 million copies a year. Nevertheless, ever since peaking in the late 1980s—hitting 62.82 million in 1987—the circulation of paid daily newspapers has consistently declined.

[NOTE: Figures include both print and digital]

Data sources: Editor & PublisherAlliance for Audited MediaPew Research Center  Chart source: statista

The pace of decline accelerated in 2004 (54.63 million), but not precipitously, resulting in a drop of more than 36% by 2016 (34.66 million). According to the last ten years of recorded data (2006-2016) supplied in the chart above, paid daily newspaper circulation sunk 34%.  

To take a closer look at the yearly circulation numbers, statista provides an interactive version of the chart above as well as multiple options for downloading the information.

2016 circulation for both Weekday and Sunday editions has plunged to the lowest figures since 1945

[NOTE: Figures include both print and digital]

Data sources: Editor & Publisher (through 2014); estimation based on Pew Research Centeranalysis of Alliance for Audited Media data (2015-2016). Chart source: Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center offers deeper insight into the decline of newspapers in the United States, providing separate circulation data for Weekday and Sunday daily newspapers. The center’s analysis shows that in 2016 both hit their lowest levels since 1945, with circulation figures of 35 million and 38 million respectively.

Advertising revenue dropped nearly two-thirds between 2005 and 2016, while circulation revenue rose slightly

[NOTE: Figures include both print and digital]

Data sources: News Media Alliance, formerly Newspaper Association of America, (through 2012); Pew Research Center analysis of year-end SEC filings of publicly traded newspaper companies (2013-2016). Chart source: Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center also analyzed advertising and circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers over a 60-year period starting in 1956. Although circulation earnings have gradually increased, total advertising revenue fell significantly between 2005 and 2016. During these 11 years, total advertising revenue for the industry plummeted by nearly two-thirds, decreasing from $49 billion to $18 billion. The bulk of advertising revenue still comes from print, compromising approximately 80% in 2011 and dropping to close to 70% in 2016.

We recommend the valuable Pew Reseach Center website on Journalism & Media, which is compiled from a variety of industry resources.

Print became the least popular news source in 2014, continuing to fall through 2017 down to 22% weekly consumption

Data and chart source: Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017

From 2013 to 2017, the number of people who read print newspapers decreased by almost one-fifth. As the medium dropped out of favor, social media as a news source enjoyed a steady climb, with consumption growing by about 6% each year.

Each year since 2012, the Reuters Institute in partnership with the University of Oxford has released a digital news report offering insights into the transition to online news and its effect on the media landscape. Although the first report covered just five countries, the latest included survey data from 70,000 participants across 36 countries.

For people wanting to delve deeper and compare data between and within countries, we strongly recommend reading the latest report and using the interactive feature to create your own charts.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal are uniquely positioned to monetize print but its role is rapidly declining

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal are distinct from other newspapers in the U.S. in that they are truly national and in fact arguably global “newspapers of record”. All three have made a concerted and successful shift to digital subscriptions and advertising. However, their role means that the role of print in their business models continues to be solid.

These uniquely successful news organizations recognize that they may not continue indefinitely on print. New York Times’ CEO Mark Thompson says in an interesting interview in Nieman Lab on when to stop the presses forever:

“The print product is a mature platform. It is, as you say, an economically important platform to us. It’s possible that platform will plateau. I think it’s more likely that the platform will eventually go away. It’ll go away because the economics will no longer make sense to us or our customers.”

Weekly community newspapers are severely challenged but are likely to have further life

There remain many newspapers across the US, primarily weekly, with small circulations but advertising revenues that are sometimes not eroding as fast as larger newspapers due to their highly geographically focused audiences and unique content.

Data source: Editor & Publisher, American Press Institute, Columbia Journalism Review

An excellent report from Columbia Journalism Review’s Tow Center on Small-market newspapers in the digital age provides strong insights into the state of the sector and some of the ways community newspapers are successful responding to change.

Since September 2005, employment in the U.S. newspaper industry has dropped by more than half

Note: Shaded areas represent recession, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Data and chart source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

U.S. Newspaper employment:
January 1990: 455,000 (62% decline since this date)
January 2010: 260,800 (33% decline since this date)
September 2016: 173,700

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also provides the above chart in an interactive format. Users can explore the data further by hovering their cursors over the lines representing the different information industries or by clicking on the “Chart Data” tab to view it in a table format.

NOTE: “Newspaper employment” includes staff working on both print and digital editions, a fraction of these figures work

How Algorithms and Human Journalists Will Need to Work Together


Ever since the Associated Press automated the production and publication of quarterly earnings reports in 2014, algorithms that automatically generate news stories from structured, machine-readable data have been shaking up the news industry. The promises of this technology—often referred to as automated (or robot) journalism—are enticing: Once developed, such algorithms could create an unlimited number of news stories on a specific topic at little cost. And they could do it faster, cheaper, with fewer errors and in more languages than any human journalist ever could.

This technology provides an opportunity to make money creating content for very small audiences—even, perhaps, customized news feeds for an audience of just one person. And when it works well, readers perceive the quality of automated news as on par with news written by human journalists.

As a researcher and creator of automated journalism, I’ve found that computerized news reporting can offer key strengths. I’ve also identified important weaknesses that highlight the importance of humans in journalism.

Identifying automation’s abilities

In January 2016, I published the “Guide to Automated Journalism,” which reviewed the state of the technology at the time. It also raised key questions for future research, and discussed potential implications for journalists, news consumers, media outlets and society at large. I found that, despite its potential, automated journalism is still in an early phase.

Right now, automated journalism systems are serving specialized audiences, large and small, with very particular information, producing recaps of lower-league sports events, financial news, crime reports and earthquake alerts. The technology is constrained to these types of tasks because there are limits to what sorts of information it can take in and process into text that humans can easily read and understand.

It works best when handling structured data that is accurate like stock prices. In addition, algorithms can only describe what happened – not why, making it best for routine stories based solely on facts that have little room for uncertainty and interpretation, such as when and where an earthquake happened. And because the major benefit of computerized reporting is that it can do repetitive work quickly and easily, it is best used to cover repetitive topics that require producing a large number of similar stories, such as sporting event reports.

Covering elections

Another useful area for automated news reporting is election coverage—specifically regarding results of the numerous polls that come out almost daily during major campaigns. In late 2016, I teamed up with fellow researchers and the German company AX Semantics to develop automated news based on forecasts for that year’s U.S. presidential election.

The forecasting data were provided by the PollyVote research project, which also hosted the platform for publishing the resulting texts. We established a completely automated process, from collecting and aggregating the raw forecasting data, to exchanging the data with AX Semantics and generating the texts, to publishing those texts.

Over the course of the election season, we published nearly 22,000 automated news articles in English and German. Because they came from a fully automated process, the final texts often had errors, such as typos or missing words. We also had to spend much more time than we had expected troubleshooting problems. Most of the issues came from errors in the source data, rather than the algorithm – highlighting another key challenge of automated journalism.

Finding the limits

The process of developing our own text-generating algorithms taught us firsthand about the potential and limits of automated journalism. It’s crucial to make sure the data is as accurate as possible. And it is easy to automate the process of creating text from a single set of facts, such as the results of a single poll. But adding insights, like comparing that poll to others in the past, is much harder.

Perhaps the most important lesson we learned was how quickly we reached the limits of automation. When developing the rules governing how the algorithm would turn data into text, we had to make decisions that might seem easy for people to make – such as whether a candidate’s lead should be described as “large” or “small,” and what signals could suggest a candidate had momentum in the polls.

Those sorts of subjective decisions are very hard to formulate into predefined rules that should apply to any situation that has occurred historically – much less to any situation that might occur in future data. One reason is that context matters: A four-point lead for Clinton in the run-up to the election, for example, was normal, whereas a four-point lead for Trump would have been big news. The ability to understand that difference and interpret the numbers accordingly is crucial for readers. It remains a barrier that algorithms will have a hard time overcoming.

But human journalists will have a hard time outcompeting automation when covering routine and repetitive fact-based stories that merely require a conversion of raw data into standard writing, such as sports recaps or company earnings reports. Algorithms will be faster at identifying anomalies in the data and generating at least first drafts of many stories.

The ConversationAll is not lost for the people, though. Journalists have plenty of opportunities to take on tasks algorithms cannot perform, like putting those numbers in proper context – as well as providing in-depth analyses, behind-the-scenes reporting and interviews with key people. The two types of coverage will likely become closely integrated, with computers using their strengths and the humans focusing on ours.

Andreas Graefe, Endowed Sky Research Professor, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences This article was originally published on The Conversation.

6 Key Strategies Media Companies Need to Prosper in the Future News Industry


One of the most striking trends in 21st century innovation is the significant potential for media to create value on a global scale.

Media, in all its forms, is fuelling economic growth, structural change, and technological advances like never before. As society debates the role and influence of media in a “post-truth” world, it is increasingly apparent that the future of media is crucial to shaping the future of humanity.

Media futurist Ross Dawson shared useful insights on how to create a vibrant future for media organizations in his keynote at the #SchibstedNext 2016 event held by Schibsted Media Group. You can see the video of the full keynote below.

Despite the widespread changes impacting the global media industry, Dawson pointed to the enduring and insatiable human appetite for information in a multichannel media world.

“Arguably the entire economy is becoming based on media, the creation of messages, the flow of messages, and where they are going,” Dawson said.

Here are six key ways in which media organizations can empower themselves to create their own future, drawn from Dawson’s talk at #SchibstedNext.

1. Create a compelling vision

“The best way to predict the future of media is to create it,” Dawson told the media leaders assembled in Oslo. For today’s media organizations, achieving a successful transition to tomorrow hinges on understanding “who it is we can be, who it is we want to be, moving forward”.

Forging a compelling vision for your media organization and communicating it effectively is vital for staff to adapt to the merging of technology and humanity, Dawson said, in an era when “technology is more and more capable, taking more and more of who we are”.

Without a clear strategic vision, companies are more likely to be blinded by past successes and overpowered by technological change. As the report of the 2020 group for the New York Times recently put it:

“To do nothing, or to be timid in imagining the future, would mean being left behind.”

2. Translate experimentation into value creation

Today, in the space of a day, you can test an idea, see how people respond, and develop it further. This has become a fundamental capability of every organization in the entire media industry.

“Revenue is highly uncertain, so you need to be able to experiment,” said Dawson. “For every experiment you should know what you want to learn, and when you learn that, you will be able to design the next experiment.”

Dawson referred to a basic test-and-learn model favored by entrepreneurs and outlined in The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: come up with an idea, put it into action, learn from that, iterate, and turn it into a result. “You can learn from others, absolutely, but you need to be able to create your own guidebook,” Dawson added.

Part of converting experimentation into value creation is a focus on community: “Being able to connect people, define what it is that’s common between them…to be able to create media which is relevant to all of those people, and to be able to filter that…to the individual…across many news or media organizations.”

3. Make the most of human and machine intelligence

Alongside advances in algorithms and the proliferation of convenient, high-tech user interfaces, robots and amateurs are now making music, art, video, and journalism in ways that were once limited to professionals. Dawson offered advice on how media organizations must respond:

“I believe that in the last 20 years, one of the most important things is how technology has enabled our creativity. If we are looking for the best media, we must bring together the professionals—who have the expertise and the context—with the amateurs, with all of us, with the many that are enabled by technology to create new possibilities.”

Optimizing both human and machine intelligence will become increasingly critical to value creation as organizations collect ever more data and achieve new milestones in consumer knowledge and engagement.

4. Ensure a clear and dynamic platform strategy

As existing and emerging media platforms vie for our attention, a solid understanding of platforms and their relationship to value creation is essential to steer media towards a positive future.

The best platform strategies, in Dawson’s view, are dynamic and user driven: “How is it you create value for participants? That’s the fundamental aspect of a platform,” he said. “Designing value for the participants in ways that they can create that together.”

In order to maximize value for participants across platforms, Dawson highlighted the role of data analysis, signal monitoring, user feedback loops, and collaboration with both internal and external platform creators.

5. Build on your existing capabilities and transcend their boundaries

A focus on transcending the boundaries has underpinned recent innovations in the media world, including the immersive virtual reality smartphone app available from the New York Times.

Media organizations must continue to think beyond the boundaries—such as print, broadcast, and even digital—if they are to create more compelling experiences for the audiences of tomorrow. Dawson elaborated:

“You need to be able to say, what are our capabilities today? What are we great at? What are we distinct at? What are we world-class at? What is it that we are going to build on? As organizations and individuals you need to be able to map your path and capability development moving forward.”

In order to transcend the boundaries and promote innovation, media brands are learning “to actually live what they are doing so that the messages that flow outside represent who they are,” said Dawson. This involves building the flow of communication and transparency internally in ways that mirror the external values and perceptions of a brand.


6. Foster bold and agile leadership to create your own future

Even as user participation in media continues to flourish, Dawson reminded the Schibsted audience that strong leadership remains crucial, because the future of media “is not a spectator sport.” As the Law of Requisite Variety makes clear, only those organizations that are as flexible as their environment will have the power to be able to create the future.

Therefore, leaders’ ability to put a bold vision into action, to push out the boundaries and set new standards for media will be crucial to success in the industry going forward. This is especially important because, at its core, the future of media “is an experiment,” Dawson believes.

“There is no roadmap to be able to say, this is exactly where the future of media is going. You need to create that. For your individual organization, it is going to be a different answer.”

9 Pieces of Technology You Can Use to Do Better PR


Today, even an Android smartphone has more computational power than did the world’s most powerful supercomputer just a couple of decades ago. Yet, few public relations pros have updated the way they work to take advantage of the capabilities now available to them.

It is true that public relations is at least in part a people business, and human relations are naturally resistant to digitization.

Even so, the tools I discuss here have boosted my productivity dramatically. In 2015, generated more than $80 million of media coverage, without an agency and with just one internal person dedicated to PR (me). Moreover, I have operated in another time zone and on another continent from most of the team.

So, here are some tips on using productivity-enhancing tools. They have helped place stories everywhere from CNBC and the New York Times to China Daily and Nikkei Asian Review.


Evernote is like the notebook where your mother used to keep her recipes (or maybe it was your father – no stereotypes here).

Unlike that notebook, Evernote can never get full. You can insert any sort of document, picture or video. It is completely searchable, easy to organize and even shareable with people who don’t have an account.

I have one Evernote notebook for news related to, which I share with Sales and Marketing. Another shared notebook stores content that I have created, and a third holds confidential files, which I share with no one. I clip items directly from my Chrome browser, iPad and even iPhone.

Evernote makes it easy for me to store and retrieve much more information than was ever possible before.

Apple Devices

You may prefer Android or Windows. By all means stick with what works for you.

As for me, I find Apple’s smooth, intuitive software makes work more fun.

The ease with which I can manage and produce files, photos, audio and video saves me countless hours on creative tasks. My MacBook Pro laptop is so portable that I take notes on it in meetings.

As for the iPad, it is a vast improvement over wading through a stack of newspapers and magazines each morning. Believe it or not, the iPad is also an excellent tool for writing, because it allows you to more easily narrow your focus down to the project at hand. Turn off all but the most important notifications in Settings, and you can compose without distraction.

The iPhone is so powerful that I have more than once worked entire afternoons with no other device, and been nearly as effective as I would have been with the laptop.

For greatest productivity on all of your Apple devices, in ‘Settings’ enable the dictation feature so you can compose an email or an article as quickly as you can speak the words.

Also, be sure to create official email signatures on your portable devices, so you look professional.


If you want to be good at public relations, you can’t let opportunities fall through the cracks. And, you need to make the most of the relationships you have.

After trying many, many contact and task managers, I have finally settled on this one. Officially billed as a CRM, Contactually works nearly as well for the public relations pro as the salesperson.

I use sales pipelines to track stories I am pitching. Contactually automatically creates tasks when I need it to. I rely on its built-in email templates and bulk emailing to easily send personalized messages to large numbers of individuals. Contactually could make it easier to sort contacts, and its mobile apps are atrocious. Still, it is the best relationship manager I have seen for PR pros.

Factiva and Meltwater

News databases and clipping services let you research the media environment before you pitch, and communicate the value you are generating after you collect your clips.

Factiva has much more powerful search functions, but several times a week Meltwater sends me clips that Factiva has overlooked. I recommend both if budget permits.


A subscription media contact database is helpful for those occasions when you need to reach someone new. It is expensive but useful, especially if you can share the cost among a team.

I have found Vuelio has slightly better lists for the international media I often pitch.

Skype and Viber

I place calls to every continent on almost a daily basis, which would be prohibitively expensive via my regular mobile phone service. Nor can I always wait until I am able to use a landline.

These two services allow me to call any phone, anywhere in the world, for pennies. Usually, call quality is better with Viber. On the other hand, colleagues and journalists are more likely to have a Skype account, which enables video chats and text messaging. You can even use Viber’s and Skype’s smartphone apps when you do not have Wi-Fi service, over your regular mobile signal.


One reason public relations is such a rewarding career is that you get to both work intensively with others and also spend time on your own — thinking and writing.

This is my favorite software for writing. Ulysses makes it extremely easy to organize files, but really shines in providing a clean, inviting workspace for putting down your thoughts. Just about every media release, op-ed, messaging brief and piece of web content that I create starts here.

My final advice is to keep experimenting and not let yourself be limited by what your employer will pay for. Invest a few of your own dollars to try promising apps or devices, and it will more than pay off in the long run.

The Exciting Potential of Virtual Reality Journalism


We are at the threshold of virtual reality becoming part of our everyday experiences.

Affordable head-mounted displays like Google Cardboard are already available to the public, giving widespread consumer access to people with smartphones. The consumer version of the Oculus Rift, a highly anticipated VR headset, is slated for release in early 2016, with competitors like Playstation’s Project Morpheus also waiting to make their debuts.

For the news industry, virtual reality’s impact on storytelling and media consumption could be transformative. Instead of just sharing a story, journalists can digitally plant viewers into unfolding events, giving them truly immersive experiences.

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Below are some noteworthy projects embracing VR journalism and how they are impacting this emerging field.

The New York Times – “The Displaced”

This month, The New York Times mailed its subscribers more than one million Google Cardboard VR viewers so they could watch its film “The Displaced.” Created with virtual reality production company Vrse, the 10-minute feature explores the stories of children forced away from their respective homes in Syria, South Sudan, and the Ukraine.

To watch the virtual reality film, viewers must download the free NYT VR app available on iOS and Android. This move is being considered a major milestone is bringing immersive journalism to the masses. Instead of only giving access to the few people with pricey VR developer headsets, it is offering inexpensive tools to the everyday person at no cost.

USC School of Cinematic Arts – “Project Syria”

Covering the plight of refugees with virtual reality is becoming popular. According to writer and director Nonny de la Peña, the medium evokes a feeling of presence and an emotional understanding of what the subjects are going through. With this form of storytelling, her aim is to encourage people to think about how they can help bring about change.

Her film “Project Syria”, which premiered at the 2014 World Economic Forum, is a digital recreation of an explosion on a busy street and of life inside a refugee camp. de la Peña built the scenes based on actual audio, photographs, and videos captured at the events.

Los Angeles Times – “Discovering Gale Crater”

“Discovering Gale Crater” is a virtual reality audio tour of the Mars landmark that was explored by the Curiosity rover. It is available on Google Cardboard, an Oculus Rift developer kit, or a standard computer. The 3D project allows viewers to explore the crater on their own or be guided by NASA geoscientist Fred J. Calef III.

The Los Angeles Times took on the project to determine how journalism can benefit from telling stories with virtual reality. The publication found a serious setback is that even when the tour ran smoothly, people using VR devices often felt dizzy and disoriented. There is clearly more work to be done to improve user experience. However, the interactive also represents a hopeful future for sharing remote, natural environments most people will never visit.

The Future of VR Storytelling

Television screens have separated us from the scenes of news stories, but virtual reality is making the audience part of them. There is immense possibility for journalists to create more engaging and stirring films with this medium. There is also a huge potential to attract younger audiences, many of whom may be interested in gaming and emerging VR technology.

There have also been words of caution about virtual reality journalism. In a letter to The New York Times, former managing editor of The Washington Post Robert Kaiser warned it is vulnerable to tricks and deceptions in how camera people choose to weave images together. This can distort how unfolding action is presented, and suit what the reporter wants the audience to see.

Laying out other potential ethical issues, The Associated Press Standards Editor Tom Kent suggests creating a code of ethics to overcome challenges and ensure fair and accurate reporting.

With the age of immersive journalism newly upon us, there is no better time than now to begin having these conversations. As consumer VR devices become more affordable and mainstream, there will likely be increasing demand for compatible content. The media organizations that can work out the kinks and streamline a set of best practices in advance will have the most to gain.

Image source: Nonny de la Peña

How Brands Are Using Live Video Events: The Opportunity for PR


New Balance, MasterCraft, Pottery Barn. Three big U.S. brands, one innovation in common: using live video events to improve public relations. The game changing potential of live, interactive broadcasts is already in motion. Take, for instance, the rapid growth of live-streaming platforms such as Ustream, Brandlive, Meerkat and Periscope. How are top brands using these live video technologies successfully, and what role should PR play in this process?

New Balance: Finding the right balance between in-store and online media
Sports footwear giant New Balance uses live video to build multi-event product launches. Consumers and retailers have been invited to “hear about all the latest in #runnovation and get your questions answered by the product team, live from #NBHQ!” Company spokesperson Tom Taylor has praised live video as “a powerful and consistent means of visually connecting with fans and customers, bridging the gap between in-store and online”.

If retail is on track for a high-tech, interactive future, the footwear brand is stepping in the right direction. Video kiosks at the brand’s retailers create in-store hype, while its live webcasts integrate social feeds, chat and e-commerce. New Balance also uses live video internally to give field reps the low-down on its products and brand message.

MasterCraft: Mastering the art of product education
Another brand using live video events for both training and consumer awareness is premium sports boat manufacturer MasterCraft. The company sought a streamlined method to inform its 150 boat dealers about new models. It also desired real-time, visual engagement with its geographically diverse consumers. As MasterCraft’s Director of Marketing, Jason Boertje, told Retail TouchPoints, “The more we can show our product when we educate the consumer, the better off we’ll be.” Using live videos with real-time question and answer feeds has increased the sense of participation from consumers and dealers alike.

Boertje believes that an interaction-based live video model offers a promising return on investment. Digital marketing research by MasterCraft’s live video platform, Brandlive, indicates that consumers are more likely to buy a product featured on a live, interactive broadcast than on a pre-recorded video. Plus MasterCraft can use Brandlive’s post-video quizzes and attendance stats to gauge the learning and loyalty of its dealer network. Creating and archiving live videos about sales, product specs and upkeep is proving convenient for the company and practical for sellers to access.

Pottery Barn: Harvesting the hype around holidays
Home-furnishing store chain Pottery Barn is converting public fanfare around holidays into live video. Online events such as “Host a Spooktacular Halloween Party” and “DIY Easter Baskets” are fun, informative and useful. Quality content adds value for viewers and can improve brand loyalty. Therefore, Pottery Barn crafts the perception of valuable content by asking viewers to register for “exclusive access” and by posting Facebook promos with in-house designers.

Nick Wheatley from VideoCommerce observes that, like Pottery Barn, the majority of brands using live video are not hiring professional talent. Instead, they are putting their own employees in the limelight. This strategy not only reduces costs; it also lets employee devotion and knowledge shine through.

How PR can ramp up its offerings
In a world where companies can deliver PR messages straight to the consumer via live video, how and why should PR firms assist with this process?

Fritz Brumder, CEO and co-founder of Brandlive, puts forward the following case in PR Daily:

“The good news is that PR firms are uniquely qualified to claim ownership of live video, because their media outreach efforts tend to focus more on timely news or event-driven campaigns such as product launches.

A PR agency looking to beef up its live interactive video offerings must know how to successfully build on its traditional skill sets. Based on our experience at Brandlive producing over 3,000 live interactive video events for over 120 brands, PR firms that can pull together a team with the following skills to form a “live streaming video center of excellence” will be best positioned to succeed:

  • Structuring and crafting brand and product stories
  • Preparing client executives for on-camera/on-stage appearances
  • Activating social interaction
  • Knowledge of audio/video production”.

The business case for PR involvement
As Brumder points out, PR agencies must formulate “a business case for why their live video capabilities would provide better value or produce more valuable results” than unassisted live broadcasts by companies.

Martin Shepherdly, the CEO and founder of BeThere Global, comments that live streaming has three advantages over traditional PR mediums:

  1. The level of engagement and two-way communication engendered among the audience through interactivity
  2. The customization of the viewer experience for specific audiences, and
  3. The detail with which viewer statistics can be measured.

PR agencies must learn to harness these benefits for clients if they are to swap pre-prepared, commercialized spin for natural, personal interaction. As futurist Ross Dawson reminds us in an article on where PR is going, PR is no longer “about hiding or manipulating the truth; it is about providing access, being open”. Live video bolsters a massive opportunity for PR: helping brands to engage with a world that favours dialogue and transparency.

Image sources: New Balance, MasterCraft, and Pottery Barn