There’s always going to be competition between media organisations, however Ian McClelland, managing director of The Guardian Australia and speaker at the upcoming Daze of Disruption, believes much media rivalry is “old fashioned” and puts the reader on the backfoot.
Recent comments from the CEO of Fairfax Media, Grey Hywood, highlighted the rivalry between News Corp and Fairfax, saying it was doing quite a bit of damage to the industry.
While only a particular example, McClelland commented more generally on the Aussie media landscape. “I really hope that what news media of Australia doesn’t end up is this irrelevant squabbling where the reader just gets on with it with the newcomer and new technology and new platforms, and traditional news media just ends up in this irrelevant squabble no one really cares about,” he said.
“You need the Fairfaxs and the News Corps of the world. I think you need this really ethnic, diverse range of media with lots of different perspectives and I hope that that is the future of Australian media.”
For McClelland, having a collaborative mindset is a much better way to operate. Not one media publication can report on everything, and there’s probably other outlets covering a certain topic more in depth, so McClelland finds it pertinent to link back to those doing it well in order to give the user the best possible experience.
“Rather than not referencing other media because you’re at some kind of commercial war with them, I think is just a really old fashioned way of doing stuff, and it’s just not very reader focused,” he said.
“I don’t think you can build a business for very long if you’re not user focused, because there’s simply too much other choice.
“There’s a lot of media organisations around the globe and in Australia who are really collaborative and link back to us or work on us together…I think there’s plenty of collaboration.”
McClelland said the media rivalry at the moment reminds him of when he worked back in broadcasting in various places internationally, and trying to get the big networks to work together. Many of the networks were so competitive and trying to make their catch-up services the best, they were completely oblivious to services like Netflix and YouTube creeping up.
“They could have done so much, I think, by collaborating,” he lamented.
If the numerous news organisations in the market today were to do some kind of collaboration together, McClelland believes they would have quite a decent user proposition.
“But my guess is that this rivalry just goes back too far. And maybe it’s not part of the culture.”
Daze of Disruption is at Melbourne Town Hall from December 3-4 2015.