Internal innovation in the Portuguese media: case study of 3 media outlets in search for the best practices for media survival and development
European Media Management Association conference
The goals intended are to analyze media outlets from the inside, to provide some guidelines on the best practices for media companies that want to shape/reshape their business to survive and grow in the currently troubled media ecosystem. The main questions are to understand how legacy media in Portugal are facing the changing media ecosystem, in special how are they using any kind on internal innovation strategies to outcome the decreasing sales and/or audiences and advertising revenues. We also pretend to frame this national reality into a broader picture, contextualizing the analysis with case studies of the best international practices and examples. So we pose the following questions: are the Portuguese media outlets seeking internal innovation to face and outcome the fall of traditional business models? How legacy media can change from the inside? What processes are they creating/recreating that affect the news production and dissemination? What processes are they creating/recreating that affect the revenue stream? How the Portuguese media ecosystem compares to the international best practices? What guidelines can be identified to help legacy media or journalistic startups to survive in a troubled sea? To achieve the objectives we will use non-participatory observation on three Portuguese newsrooms, and interview some of its managers/editorial managers, chosen by its diversity: a TV network that includes, among others, a free-to-air legacy TV channel with the most viewed eight o’clock news program and a 24/7 TV news channel; a national broadcast news radio; an online only newspaper. All three have their online operations, via website and apps. Both the TV and the radio are legacy media that, in different approaches and rhythms, are reshaping their business models, news production processes and news product. Both have internal innovation strategies that we will observe, register and analyze. The online newspaper was born has an online only operation, not needing to transform from a legacy/analog operation, but still develops internal innovation strategies to evolve in an always moving digital media landscape. We will also benchmark the three Portuguese media with the best international study cases, i.e. The Guardian, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Vox or Vice, looking for similarities and discrepancies. The study cases will be built from framed analysis and previous academic work produced by authors like Lucy Kung, Ramón Salaverría, Anderson, Bell & Shirky, Mark Deuze, Bastos & Zamith, Paul Bradshaw, Adelino Gomes, Gureskin, Seave & Graves, Lowe, Gregory & Brown, Storsul, Tanja & Krumsvik, Janine Warner or Barbie Zelizer. The project team – Miguel Crespo, Ana Pinto Martinho and Caterina Foà - is part of the CIES-IUL (Sociology Research and Study Center of the University Institute of Lisbon), a well renowned research facility, graded as “excellent” by the Portuguese science and higher education cabinet. The three researchers have previous experience in the subject, both as researchers and teachers (in courses like Entrepreneurial Journalism; Technology, Creativity and Journalism; Media Business and System, etc.) Expected outcomes are to identify the focus on the practices inside the Portuguese case studies, internal innovation strategies on newsrooms, entrepreneurial strategies to change from the traditional business model and boost the financial results. We also expect to benchmark the Portuguese media landscape with the international study cases, and to deliver and promote some guidelines to media outlets that want to innovate and/or to entrepreneurs wanting to create journalistic startups. The presentation at the Emma conference will be an opportunity to share the Portuguese media outlets situation and internal processes of innovation, giving the analysis an international context, to get feedback from researchers from other national/local realities, and to boost the discussion about the need to improve the internal mechanisms of change to survive in a troubled media ecosystem. Due to the main goals, questions, field of work and analysis, we believe this paper can contribute to better understand the challenges of media business and organizations, and to the knowledge in strategic media management.