Is it the case that the social media has displaced the traditional, (print, radio and television) in terms of what people read and what then sets the agenda? This is what Mr. Isaac Umunna, the Publisher of News Express is saying, telling his audience at the maiden Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Retreat (CSR-S 2021) in Nigeria that power has changed hands in the media industry and online – rather than print – is now the king. He is also arguing that, for the same reason, the online media, therefore, deserves to get a greater chunk of the advertising and publicity expenditure rather than the token presently being budgeted for the sub-sector.
Mr. Ummunna’s outing must be the most categorical standpoint on the theme of the relationship between the traditional and new or social media. Previous positions have emphasized a convergence between the two. However, unveiling this argument in his presentation entitled, “Mistakes CSR and Corporate Communication Executives Make and What to Do about Them”, Umunna highlighted what he called seven key errors of judgment and proposed solutions to them.
The first, according to him, “is the failure to realise that the media landscape has changed, and that power has changed hands in the industry, with online now being king”, insisting that, unlike in the past when a single Nigerian newspaper printed hundreds of thousands of copies, the combined print run of all the newspapers in the country is presently not up to 100,000 copies.
“Thus, print newspapers no longer have the overwhelming presence they used to have. What is more, print newspapers have short lifespan – for dailies, only one day. Besides, your message may be lost in a myriad of pages – hardly seen.
“Contrast that with online, which guarantees immediacy, global spread, heavy traffic, cheaper rate and more exposure,” he said.
Other mistakes he brought to the fore include neglecting supposedly small platforms since one story that goes viral can cause much damage; giving a heavy chunk of the media budget to foreign media which have limited local relevance as well as relying largely on news and PR agencies which cannot influence publishers’ choice of stories.
Umunna identified neglect of friendly publishers and not having an outside media team to serve as corporate eyes and ears as other potentially costly mistakes. The wise thing for potential advertisers to do, according to him, is to put the online media at the centre of their advertising and publicity campaigns, reduce the money they spend on print, foreign media and PR agencies which deliver little and, instead, spend it on as many local online media platforms as possible. This, he is sure, would achieve far better results.
The Retreat, held virtually on Thursday, November 25, 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, had a three-pronged agenda, namely; Review Refocus and Refire and it was organised by News Express in partnership with P3 Media, the event had First Bank Nigeria Plc and Guinness Nigeria Plc as sponsors.
Other facilitators included Susie Onwuka, Chief of Planning Research & Statistics, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Nigeria; Mr. Adewole Lawal, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Manager, Anheuser-Busch InBev Africa; and Nelson Obine, a Business Development & Sustainability Expert.
CSR-S is designed as an annual event with in-person meetings and leisure activities – in the essence, combining business and pleasure. The organisers hope to revert to the original format next year with the expected containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.