One of the biggest challenges facing the news industry today is the fragmentation of audiences. The inability of the incumbent businesses to both foresee and adapt to the changing news habits of people here in Wales and further afield has left them exposed to a rapidly evolving market.
For years newspapers were printed, distributed and sold then along came the internet.
News publishers struggled to convert the value newspapers created from advertising to the online world. A page view of a physical newspaper had a quantifiable value, in the online world the same level of income could not be generated as an online page view required thousands of views by comparison.
Some news publishers have been able to pivot to digital through paywalls, mostly on a subscriber basis but this generally expects the reader to commit to a monthly subscription.
News websites that depend entirely on advertising require increased page views as their print incomes decline.
The sad fact is real news doesn’t generate the page views required to generate revenues. Stories that may receive hundreds of retweets and likes on Twitter don’t necessarily lead to the article being promoted being read online.
And here lies another flaw in the current business models. With the value based solely on page views publishing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are used to push people to websites instead of publishing stories in a format audiences would prefer on those platforms in the relevant formats.
Add into the mix the fact that TikTok and Instagram are growing in influence as news platforms and news websites are seeing a decline in readership.
And in order to satisfy those advertisers and the required page views actual news is being pushed further and further down the page and appearing less on social media being replaced by content designed to drive traffic, what’s on sale in the middle aisle of Aldi this week, kebab shop reviews and property listings.
Younger audiences, the digital natives, have rarely if ever bought a newspaper, choosing instead to consume news online. Turning to podcasts or watching videos online, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.
That’s why we have to provide a new kind of service, one that reaches different audiences in the locations where they consume news and more importantly in the formats they find relevant.
The backbone of our service at launch will be our team of ten journalists, located across Wales ensuring that the whole of Wales is covered, this number will increase as the service matures, bringing in journalists with specific specialities and covering different topics and specialisms.
The stories they research and report will be published by them online and our digital team will then adapt those stories for distribution across the platforms, as videos, threads or Facebook articles.
But the big difference with Talking Wales will be our use of audio and video. We will be launching Talking Wales, Wales’s first talk-based digital radio station.
Our journalists will be on hand to contribute to its output and we will feature regular discussion programmes that will give the public an opportunity to contribute as well as giving the Welsh public an opportunity to hear from key figures from Welsh politics.
But it won’t just be politics and news, we want to create a space for culture, sport, education, business, technology, and innovation. There is a real opportunity to create something new and unique from a Welsh perspective.
The influence of video continues to grow. YouTube is now available as a channel online, in-app and on smart TVs. We’ll be creating shows discussing the issues that matter, and creating short films that bring today’s issues to life.
By having a substantial and dynamic team at launch we can hit the ground running and create an immediate impact and reach.
We hope you like what we’re developing and help us spread the word.