I had the pleasure of attending a recent TAAN Europe meeting in Rome last month. The Icelandic volcanoes in the spring meant only one European meeting took place this year and despite the money that saved me I’m the poorer for it. Advertising people have an energy about them, even when times are tough, there is an enthusiasm and positivity that is infectious. As ever at these meetings I learn, from the speakers and from my peers. What’s clear is that a lot of the challenges we are facing are universal; which made me wonder if we are in danger of ignoring them. We’ve been blaming the ‘recession’ for business being slow, but perhaps that’s just coincidence. The media landscape has altered right across the world, and no economic uplift is going to change that back.
As newspapers still scramble about on the web trying to figure out how to make us pay for old news our local commercial TV station, STV, has launched an ambitious and interesting web development that just might trump the local press. STV Local was launched quietly last month but the plan is to create genuinely ‘local’ web pages for every town in Scotland. They’ve started off with 5 in Lanarkshire and will roll out it from there. They hope that by creating engaging local based content they will not only be able to introduce users to programming but also local based advertising. This is interesting because the web doesn’t really do ‘local’ all that well. But if they can make this work, and they have the content, the technology, the resources and the branding to give it a pretty good go, then the media landscape in Scotland will have fundamentally shifted. The blurring of the lines between media is real, a TV station is just as likely to make a go of a local online ‘news and information’ site as a newspaper is, indeed you could argue more so.
I don’t expect this to be an overnight sensation so I hope STV have the patience and money to see this through, we wish them well as this could be a vital and timely addition to our media landscape.