World Association of News Publishers

Georgian Media Adapts to Meet Changing Audience Demands

Georgian Media Adapts to Meet Changing Audience Demands

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The Creating and Developing New Media Platforms workshop of the EU-funded Media Strengthening Programme for Georgia began with a session looking at Media Strategy, bringing Georgian media leaders together to discover ways of harnessing and embracing the demands and opportunities of a new media environment. Methods designed to reduce costs and create new revenue generating opportunities by producing content for the portable, personalised and participatory media landscape are seen as the future across all media platforms.

WAN-IFRA's David Brewer, founder and director of the media strategy and assistance consultancy Media Ideas International, led a three-day workshop in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, to respond to the specific needs of the country's professional media as they adapt to changing audience demands.

"In the social media space, people are snacking on rumour and chat, but they need to feed on fact, which is where mainstream media has a strong role to play, " affirmed David Brewer during the opening session. "Fact, unique and fresh, is what you need to provide to your audience; based on where your audience goes for information, you need to be ready to meet them there with your facts and create content that, once produced, can be used everywhere your audience feeds."

According to research carried out by Wired Magazine in 2009, the average American spends nine hours a day looking at a screen. Only one-and-a-half hours of those are spent watching TV, while the rest are spent in front of computers, games consoles and mobile devices. All of this should be considered when planning future media strategies.

The Creating and Developing New Media Platforms component forms only part of the complex Media Strengthening Programme for Georgia. Funded by the European Union within its Instrument for Stability framework, and implemented by a consortium of four partners (WAN-IFRA, International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) Europe, the Georgian Regional Media Association, and the Civic Development Institute), the 18-month programme was launched in January 2010.

The experience and expertise of the partner organisations merge in a joint capacity that allows them to effectively contribute to the success of the programme's four major objectives: progress in management and business development; new media integration and utilisation; supporting organisation and association building; and quality content production. A rang eof methods will be applied to achieve these aims, including consultation, small projects, grants, technical assistance and participation in international events.

"Participants were able to systematise their knowledge and gain entirely new concepts for their work," remarked Anna Keshelashvili, a local co-trainer for the New Media component. "Presentations and discussions were mind-opening for most of the participants, as was the practical assignment set up around the hypothetical newspaper project, Georgia Independent. Participants were actually thinking and planning as if this was their own media outlet."

WAN-IFRA's unique approach to the Better Management and Business Development and New Media components is designed to generate specific outcomes and ensure any new ideas or knowledge gained by participants is effectively applied once the programme is over.

This especially concerns the New Media component within which a series of five Creating and Developing New Media Platforms workshops are to be conducted for the same group of print, online and broadcast media outlets over the coming 12 months. "The important aspect of WAN-IFRA's approach to media development is that we aim for senior management buy-in from the very start before investing in technical reporter-level training," explained David Brewer.

Workshops are divided into two sections: Media Strategy and New Media Production. Media Strategy targets senior media managers and editors who determine newsroom policies and strategies. To succeed, ideas delivered through this training programme first need to be 'sold' at the top level.

"The Media Strategy workshop brought together a group of highly-talented and determined Georgian media managers prepared to make the necessary modifications to their news organisations to adapt to changing audience behavior, make the most of new technological opportunities and introduce newsroom efficiencies," said David Brewer.

Feedback on the three-day workshop has confirmed that a number of participants are already introducing the recommended strategic changes. "The good thing about the workshop was that the sessions were flexible, with the trainers adapting the content according to our specific individual needs," one of the participants explained. The project will support them as they continue to introduce change and will follow-up in three months with a second session to address issues that arise during the course of the implementation period.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2011-01-14 17:44

In its media development work, the WAN-IFRA strategy focuses on bringing a new way of thinking to the sector. WAN-IFRA has become a key player in the field of financial independence and management capacity building, conducting groundbreaking research and developing subsequent media development policies. Read more ...