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How digital disruption altered the media landscape


No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape the digital revolution.

As FreeBalance customers met in Nicaragua last month to discuss the changing face of public financial management (PFM), a number of recurring themes were brought up, including that of digital disruption.

Let’s take a moment to discuss how important it is for companies and governments to adapt and understand, as folk icon Bob Dylan poignantly put in 1964, the times they are a changin’.

For example, the once thriving print industry now fights for its life.

For decades, traditional media like newspapers were the only source of news consumption. That changed with the invention of the radio in the 19th century, and once again with the television in the early 20th century.

So why didn’t the print industry put up a fight when it saw the Internet take hold? Many believe newspaper bosses saw the Internet as a fad. If your company wanted to advertise, the print industry was the best source to get noticed. No more is this a reality.

But what does this have to do with digital disruption? Enter companies like Automated Insights. The U.S. service as a software (SaaS) transfers raw data into news articles. From sports scores and financial figures to company metrics, Automated Insights uses algorithms to produce content. I know what you’re thinking, but even if this works (it does, Associated Press and many other companies have used it), it won’t produce emotion or context. You may be correct, but in today’s media landscape, content is king.

This is just one example of an industry slow to adapt. If governments do the same, and drag their feet on going digital, we have seen increases in corruption and a lack of accountability.

With that being said, going digital isn’t as easy as flicking a switch.

Dr. Nagy Hanna, one of six guest speakers during the FreeBalance Ministers’ Roundtable last month explained how new digital technologies can accelerate positive and negative elements for any country. In other words, governments need to think holistically by combining public investments with policy change.

So what that does mean? If a government is going to adapt to the digital revolution, it needs to take a 360-view approach, identifying all aspects of change before implementation.

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Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Marketing Communications Specialist at FreeBalance
Michael works in the marketing and communications department following a career in journalism. Michael is currently learning Ruby on Rails and loves discovering new music.

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