Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Future of Ugandan Media in the Digital Age

The Ugandan media landscape is changing fast and, as a result, traditional print and digital media are being forced to rethink the methods of work that have kept them relevant to their audiences and profitable for decades.

With the advent of digital media platforms, the leveling effect of social media and the multiplicity of online sources of news, many legacy media houses are finding themselves more and more alienated from the audiences they have come to depend on for views and sales.

The "new media" is creating newer modes of capturing, packaging and distributing news content that are more relevant and responsive to the needs of a new generation of news audiences.

These changes in the media landscape have forced many media houses in Uganda to begin thinking critically about how they can embrace the new technology and platforms in order to stay alive in a rapidly changing media market.

This has led to media houses getting involved in experimentation with different formats, content and distribution channels but as yet nobody seems to have a good idea of what works best.

Those that have made some headway in producing, and delivering, content that their audiences want are finding they have to figure out how to make money from these new formats and platforms.

The dilemma that many media houses are facing is that innovations in digital and mobile news gathering and distribution will ultimately mean very little if these innovations cannot be monetized.

At present, while the media houses are slowly getting to grips with digital media, the advertisers are still hesitant to spend their money on these new products and platforms. The advertisers are still more comfortable dealing with legacy media, probably because they understand it better.

All things considered, it will be a while until Ugandan media houses sort through the experimentation to find what works and inevitably some will not survive.

However, those that are thinking seriously about the future, and investing in keeping relevant in the digital age, will experience lots of birthing pains but they will inevitably be the first at the table when what is today's new digital/social media fad becomes tomorrow's mainstream platform for delivering news.

Its a brave new world out there but it is also full of untapped potential.