Adapt or sink

Adapt or sink

MASERU – ACROSS the globe media companies were already going through a tumultuous change due to technological innovations.
The Covid-19 pandemic that hit the world in late 2019 has accelerated the need for the media to embrace technology for survival.
Due to movement restrictions as a result of lockdowns in trying to minimize the spread of the virus, many local publications were faced with distribution challenges.
Econet Telecom Lesotho hosted a media conference last week Tuesday to tackle challenges that the industry is faced with and how to best take advantage of technology for the industry’s growth.

Speaking at the conference John Mokwetsi, a digital journalist, said this is the time to embrace rather than resist change.
“Since March 2020 newsrooms have had to downsize, advertising revenue shrunk significantly and media owners had to seek means to adapt to this change,” Mokwetsi said.
He said the real struggle with digital platforms is finding ways to monetize them.
“Exclusive content and paywalls are just some of the ways other media publications like the New York Times have in place to monetize digital platforms,” he said.
Mokwetsi explained that though introducing such measures may have serious financial implications due to the decline in readership and advertisers in the long run the benefits outweigh the loss.
Mokwetsi advised that embracing digital platforms also encourages the development of local platforms that can grant media practitioners full control.

Lebohang Ramaisa, General Sales Manager at the Econet Lesotho, said digital platforms present both opportunities and challenges for the media fraternity.
“Larger audiences can now be reached through digital platforms. However, it is now more crucial for the media to educate and inform audiences due to the wake of misinformation and fake news on these platforms,” Ramaisa said.
Ramaisa said another prevalent challenge is that of connectivity to allow the media to share content at all times.
“One of the products we have to assist the media in information dissemination is the Econet fibre which enables speedy sharing of information also in the form of high-quality pictures and videos in realtime,” he said.

CEO Dennis Platjies said the devastating effect of Covid-19 on the media is apparent in the number of journalism jobs lost, newspaper closures, shrinking revenues and huge cuts on the circulation figures.
“If you want to see the impact of Covid-19 on the media you just have to count the number of adverts in any newspaper. That alone will tell you that the media has been facing challenging times in the past two years,” Plaatjies said.
“The media thus has to adapt quickly or sink. Unless they transform with the times, there will be no traditional media to talk about,” he said.
The conference, Plaatjies said, is just the beginning of strong collaboration between Econet and the media.

“Make no mistake – we know that what drives all digital news and social media platforms is good content. It might not look that way in the era of fake news and click baits but quality content will remain the cornerstone,” he said.
He said the more internet users become skilled and discerning consumers the more they will appreciate quality content.
“At Econet, we stand ready to be the channel through which quality content is generated, processed, distributed and consumed.”

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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