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“With the proliferation of online video content, viewers are moving away from traditional broadcast television viewing and have increasing expectations for broadcast-quality experiences” (Michael Milligan, senior director at Limelight Networks). Clancy, M. (2017, September 13). Millennials lead online video consumption. Rapidtvnews.com.


With the above statement in mind, research* on ONE traditional broadcast television channel based in Singapore. Your research must include the following:


a) Briefly analyse the issues and challenges faced by the television channel you have selected.

b) To determine the ability of the television channel you have chosen to retain and attract viewers amidst the changing trends and challenges, propose a research question, ii) select an appropriate research method, and iii) conduct research* on this television channel.

c) Using the market model or the public sphere model, or both, examine the way the television channel you have selected serves its audience.

d) Based on your research results, prepare a brief marketing communication action plan for your selected television channel to reach its audience more effectively. The plan should not be one that the television channel has already adopted.

Trends in Media

The media and communications industry is rapidly evolving in the present day. Gone are the days of traditional or conventional media which are gradually being replaced by new trends in the media industry (Brossard & Scheufele, 2013). Earlier, the only way people could access news or find out about events taking place around the world was through television news and newspapers. However, these channels of communication proved to be inadequate because of immediacy. Consequently, other alternative means of communication like online or digital media emerged which have slowly begun to take over conventional broadcasting industries. In the twenty first century, online media has gained tremendous popularity all over the world. With the easy availability of internet even in the remote regions of the world, people can now access content on the go. They no longer have to rely on television broadcasting channels to provide them with news of recent affairs or for television shows (Xu et al., 2014). As a result, the conventional broadcasting channels are on the decline with most of them becoming obsolete. In the following paper, an analysis of the current trends in media has been provided. An effective communication plan has also been provided which would establish the importance of traditional channels and prove their relevance.

An overview of the selected channel 

Mediacorp is one of the oldest and most popular media corporations in Singapore. It is a commercial media business, with a chain of media operations spread out across Singapore. It entails radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, print publishing and even interactive media. There are seven television channels under the Mediacorp banner and is the only terrestrial television broadcasting company. The company was first established in the year 1936, almost eighty two years ago when television broadcasting was on the rise ("Mediacorp", 2018). The company is headed by Niam Chiang Meng, the chairman. For the report, the Mediacorp Channel 8 will be used as a reference to study the impact of the rise of digital media on traditional television news broadcasting channels.

Problems faced by Mediacorp Channel 8

In Singapore, like the rest of the world, the emergence of new media has had a massive toll on the popularity of traditional media channels like Mediacorp. Singapore has been engulfed by an epoch of accelerating changes in technology where information in the present age is powered by digitalization (Brossard, 2013). Such digitalization has broken down all barriers which hindered the smooth flow of information in the society (Gomez Rodriguez, Leskovec & Schölkopf, 2013). With the availability of a number of social media platforms, digital media has completely revolutionized the process of dissemination of information (Dunbar, 2016). In the media industry, the use of technological resources has made the industry more complex and condensed. This is because information pertaining to news is now more readily and easily accessible by anyone and from anywhere. In the section below, some problems faced by Mediacorp have been discussed in details.

  • One of the major challenges that the channel is facing at present is the changes in customer behavior. Owing to changes in technology and consumerist attitude, the way people perceive and consume information has undergone a drastic change (Robson et al., 2013). Viewers find the idea of television to be a passive experience which is not too rewarding. Instead, they would prefer interactive content which is available on the internet, coupled with exciting graphics and video clippings (Majchrzak et al. 2013). Various media platforms online offer different kinds of content, all in attractive and appealing styles which are slowly taking away even loyal customers from Mediacorp. This channel, like many others around the world, has become the victim to a phenomenon called curd cutting. The term was invented in the year 2013 when television lost more than a 100,000 subscribers overnight owing to the rise of online media.
  • Streaming websites are another major threat to Mediacorp (Pittman & Sheehan, 2015). Today, people would rather watch their shows on Netflix, Hulu and other such platforms instead of watching the news on television (McDonald, 2013). People can just subscribe to these platforms and access information on the go by simply logging in. They no longer have to wait for the news programs to know about the events around the world.
  • Change in viewer preferences another challenge that Mediacorp has been facing in recent times (Madianou & Miller, 2013). People are no longer willing to blindly accept whatever information is offered to them (Napoli, 2014). They want the ability to critique the information available, read up on information available over a number of platforms where they can get maximum information in an infographic format (Mulhern, 2013). As a result, there is fierce competition within the television broadcasting industry to establish their dominance. Most companies are competing for the top position and are integrating new media as part of their operations to increase viewership. All these companies are trying to upgrade their content so as to lure in the most number of consumers. However, Mediacorp has failed to incorporate such new media platforms into its operations so far.
  • Piracy and content protection is another major concern for Mediacorp. In today’s world, videos and news content can go viral in less than a minute. As soon as it is released on the internet, it can be picked up by myriad sites and circulated in no time (Kwon et al., 2013). This is done so that information can reach maximum viewers in the least amount of time. While this process has certainly reduced the world to a global village, it would challenge the authority or credibility of such news. Broadcasters who might use such freely available information might get in legal trouble over inaccuracy. Moreover, content that was previously produced and owned by television broadcasting companies may be illegally distributed over the internet, thus resulting in overall loss of the company.
  • The rise of social media is another major threat to Mediacorp. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are one of the major sources of news and online content for the consumers (Ashley & Tuten, 2015). Most people in Singapore have an account on at least one of these platforms. As a result, they can access the news anytime and from any remote corner of the planet, without having to sit in front of a television at a definite time anymore (Ruths & Pfeffer, 2014). Plus, the variety of information available on these websites is immense, with television channels offering negligible competition. News has therefore become all the more immediate now, with social media platforms generating content twenty four hours a day. This would be next to impossible for Mediacorp’s channels. Like traditional news channels, they deliver the news at a specific time, thus losing the interest of their consumers.
  • There have been several ethical issues affecting Mediacorp as well. In the field of online content, the content generators are anonymous. Anyone can engage in a conversation on a trending topic without fear of being attacked or targeted (Pfeffer, Zorbach & Carley, 2014). Now the journalists at Channel 8 also have their Twitter or Facebook accounts and abiding by the journalistic code of ethics, they are held accountable for the views they express on public platforms (Valenzuela, 2013). Very often, they find themselves being attacked by anonymous members of the online community questioning their credibility (Hedman & Djerf Pierre, 2013). This has proved to be quite damaging to the reputation of the organization as a whole.

Problems Faced by Mediacorp

Research question

The research question for the topic would be:

“Has Mediacorp’s Channel 8 managed to retain consumers even amidst the changing trends in media?”

The research method in this case would be secondary and primary. Secondary sources, including peer reviewed journals, news reports, the official company reports, would be analyzed to understand the business strategies of the channel. This would also give a clear understanding of the various changes in media trends. For instance, it is important to understand how the rise of online and new media has affected the sales and revenue of traditional television news channels like that of Mediacorp (Yu, Duan & Cao, 2013). Similarly, these sources would enable one to understand how Mediacorp, despite all its obstacles and hindrances, has managed to retain audiences. The following section will study the target audience of the channel, the shows and their TRPs, the fall and rise of TRP in the recent years and finally arrive at a conclusion with respect to its position in the media industry of Singapore.

A primary research method will also be adopted in this case. A focus group will be formed which would help understand the audience perception of Mediacorp. Based on consumer preferences and TRP ratings in this year, a focus group of around 15 people will be formed who would be asked to meet on a specific day. Open ended questions will be asked on topics ranging from the rise of online media, the fall of traditional television news channels, the comparison between online media and television and so on. Participants would be encouraged to express their opinions and views on Mediacorp shows and extent of their influence. They would also be asked to speak about their preferences. This would help the researcher gain better insight into the minds of the contemporary audience. Finally, the market model would be used to analyze the results of the findings obtained from the research.

The focus group consisted of a number of individuals between the ages of 20 and 45. An open discussion was conducted on the impact of online media on traditional news channels like Mediacorp. Questions that were asked during the focus group session included topics like their viewing preferences, their opinion on change in viewing preferences, their opinions on the content of Mediacorp Channel 8 and the comparison of this channel’s content with that of digital media. The following results were obtained.

  • The youngsters in the focus group were vehemently supporting the rise of online media. According to them, they would rather watch content online than wait for Mediacorp to broadcast the same news at night or in the morning. They preferred online news forums because of the immediacy factor.
  • On the other hand, the older members of the focus group were more concerned about the negative impacts of social media and online news forums. They opined that the advent of the internet and social media can b considered to be an invasion of privacy. Since people could freely express their opinions, there was no restriction on the kind of content generated. This could have an adverse impact on the quality of content and also on the young impressionable minds of Singapore.
  • The older members also stated that they had grown up watching television and reading newspapers and would prefer to stick to traditional forms of media (Bolton et al. 2013). This was not due to nostalgia, but convenience. Such citizens found it comparatively easier to stick to new old and traditional forms of media and continue to watch simple, straightforward television as they had always done.
  • On the other hand, youngsters preferred to watch short videos and clippings online. They would rather subscribe to Netflix and Hulu and other such applications. According to these specific participants, these websites offer more realistic content, which the television shows on Mediacorp fail to offer.

Research Methodology

The availability of information through the internet has democratized the information industry. It has resulted in liberation of the media, where anyone with access to the world wide web can acquire information about current affairs. Digitalization of the media industry has forced conventional broadcasting channels to either alter their strategy to accommodate newer media channels or surrender operations. The rise in new media has adversely affected the profitability and revenue generation of the existing television news channels globally. As a matter of fact, a number of news channels around the world have had to shut down owing to fall in sales. The fact that people today prefer online content over traditional media has altered the dynamics within the journalism industry. The television channels are no longer the sole providers of information to the general public. Moreover, the online media platforms pave the way for active engagement of the audience, which television cannot offer. New media promotes the relationship between the creators of the content and the recipients, whereas in the case of television, the news reporters deliver the news in a conventional, monotonous fashion. There is no doubt about the fact that television is one of the most influential media platforms, which employs both visual and auditory modes to influence and educate the audience and even affect public opinion. However, there has been a marked decline in the number of consumers who ingest information through traditional forums like television.

However, it must still be asserted that Mediacorp has retained a majority of its audience. Despite the various benefits offered by online media platforms, television broadcasting still has a charm of its own. People, especially those belonging to the previous generations, prefer to come back home and bond with their families over dinner and television. This is mainly the target population for Mediacorp. Having realized their falling market shares, the media mogul has altered its business strategies to fit the needs of this category of people. A majority of Singapore’s population still prefers to get their daily dose of entertainment through mainstream television. Thus, the research question has been affirmed.

According to the market model, it can be believed that the financial performance of the company in the market would depend on its market portfolio, supply and demand of the services offered and the existing competition. The target audience of the leading media channel, Mediacorp channel 8 would be citizens of Singapore between the ages of 20 to 60. The channel mainly provides commercial broadcasting along with commercial news. As a result, they would mainly be targeting their shows at a mature audience between the ages of twenty and sixty. There are a variety of shows, ranging from simple entertainment to critical documentaries at Channel 8. Most of these shows have enriching content which appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Results of the Focus Group

As far as the supply and demand of services is concerned, it can be affirmed that with the rise of new media platforms, traditional media channels like Mediacorp have suffered a decline. This is because with the rise of technology, there is a growing need to integrate new and more diverse media channels which offer consumers to share their own views and opinions. Such new media platforms would allow audiences to select their own shows, watch content online over a number of platforms like mobile phones and personal computers and access online content regardless of geographic barriers.

However, it must also be said that although new media has completely revolutionized the field of media, traditional television broadcasting channels still have some power over the audience. A large part of the population in Singapore is above thirty. This particular category of individuals has grown up watching television and is not accustomed to watching content online. They would rather watch television shows like they are used to, than resort to content published online. Thus, suffice to say, Mediacorp still has a steady audience in Singapore. There is no doubt about the fact that the emergence of social media and streaming websites has taken a toll on Mediacorp’s sales. As a matter of fact, Mediacorp reported a drastic drop in TRP ratings of their popular shows in the last few years. However, it would be exaggeration to claim that new media has completely uprooted and replaced traditional forms of media and broadcasting. The previous generation, including people who are retired and prefer to stay at home, continue to watch television, irrespective of whether it is for news or for entertainment purposes. Yet, it can be said that integration of traditional television broadcasting with digital media would prove to be beneficial for the organization as a whole.

As the research shows, despite the rise of online content and the decline of traditional television, Mediacorp has managed to retain a majority of its target audience. However, it would be equally important for Mediacorp to adopt a digital marketing strategy that would help it deliver its message across in a clear and more effective manner (Killian & McManus, 2015). As part of the digital marketing strategy, the company would communicate its show timings, information about new shows and changes to be implemented to the audience (Tiago & Verissimo, 2014). It would also carry out public relation events and marketing stunts so as to grab the attention of potential customers. A communication plan would have to be prepared for the same. The purpose of the communication plan would be to create a road map that details the exact mode of operations to be undertaken for a marketing strategy. The target audience in this case would be the stakeholders (both internal and external) who need to know about the changes being implemented. The communication plan is as follows:

CONTENT OF COMMUNICATION

PURPOSE OF THE COMMUNICATION

TARGET AUDIENCE

TIMEFRAME

CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION

Details of programs and shows to be communicated

Most viewers find it difficult to keep track of the various TV shows and programs. They would not be willing to look it up online every time they need information on a particular program. Information that is easily accessible would be beneficial for the organization.

The regular viewers

One week

Newsletters, emails, social media.

New programs to be launched.

Viewers today prefer online media because the quality of content is considered to be superior to that of television. Thus, Mediacorp would have to follow their footsteps and introduce content that is both entertaining and unique.

Potential new customers

6 months

Communication about the new programs would be through online advertising forums.

Online campaigns for digital marketing

One of the main reasons why customers today opt for online content over traditional media is because of their aggressive marketing strategies. Marketing gimmicks and innovative strategies (which include public events) may be implemented so as to lure in more audiences.

Consumers all over Singapore

Two months

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter would be used for these campaigns.

Change management

As part of its digital marketing strategy, some changes would have to be made in the operational management of Mediacorp. The stakeholders would have to be informed about the same.

Internal and external stakeholders

5 weeks

Social media, company newsletters.

Analysis and Discussion

Conclusion:

To conclude, it can be said that the pervasive nature of online content has adversely affected traditional media channels like television. Earlier, television was considered to be one of the prime sources of entertainment and even education. However, the advent of internet and social media has revolutionized the way customers perceive and consume information. Information is easily available now, and people can access such information from any remote corner of the world. The prolific nature of online content has affected the revenue outcome of channels like Mediacorp’s Channel 8. However, as the research above shows, Channel 8 has successfully retained some of its loyal customers. This is because a certain proportion of consumers in Singapore still prefer to watch television over online content. Accordingly, a marketing communication plan has been presented in the section above which could be used by Mediacorp to adopt a digital marketing strategy.

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