For the lone entrepreneur, "new media" -- the ever-evolving avenues of electronic communication -- has democratized communication channels, allowing a very real chance for exposure to millions, all on a reasonable budget.
For entrenched media giants, new media is an avenue to an unprecedented level of engagement. For consumers, new media represents a level of choice and empowerment that's redefining how news organizations see their audiences -- and, indeed, redefining revenue models.
The paradigm for providing information, experiences, and products has changed, and it continues to do so. HispanicBusiness Magazine spoke with three women who are testing the impact that new media can have on business and our daily lives.
Natali Del Conte is in an interesting position, being an on-screen reporter for both CNET (a division of CBS Interactive) and traditional broadcast news via a CBS affiliate in New York City. "Loaded," her daily Web show, launched in February 2008. There are tangible differences between the reporting she does for television and "Loaded."
For one, "Loaded" typically lasts about four minutes, operating on the assumption that attention spans are short. Further, her targeted online audience not only accepts casual terminology, references to geek sub-culture, and sophisticated tech talk, but expects them. "Tech journalism is very hard to do," she says. "It's a tough crowd. Computer geeks can see right through you if you are faking it."
Del Conte points out that news readers are increasingly fragmented, and learning how to find what's relevant to them, rather than being told what's important.
"We're moving from a model of pushing information to the audience, to a model where the public pulls information," she says.
But this audience fragmentation, she follows, negates the need for "Loaded" to be a one-size-fits-all sort of program. She writes the show, and its production is far more stripped down than an old-media equivalent. "Loaded" is very much reflective of Del Conte herself.
And with that comes advertising implications.
"Because of that audience fragmentation," Del Conte says, she and CNET "know what the 'Loaded' audience is interested in." Currently, the show is sponsored by Yahoo!, which runs a 15-second spot before the video queues up. She's grateful that ads have been sold and the show is able to make money. However, part of Del Conte's established trust and closer-than-traditional relationship with "Loaded's" niche audience dictates that she not compromise her ability to be critical.
"If I do a commercial for Yahoo! within the show, I can never cover the search business again," she says.
Yoga Classes On Call
Elsie Escobar echoes Del Conte's sentiments about audience trust. Escobar is an entrepreneurial yoga instructor who's brought her classes online, first via audio podcasting, and recently via an application for the ultra-hot iPhone.
Escobar, who came to the U.S. from San Salvador when she was nine, is striving to leverage her talents via new media. But she too walks a fine line. Yoga -- even virtual instruction -- is an intimate affair that demands as much two-way trust as a news source.
"It's a very unique and coveted niche," Escobar says. "I am trying to create relationships with affiliates -- products and services that will best fit my audience. It's a very targeted, driven, and committed audience. If I say 'I like this yoga mat' they'll go get it. I need to honor that trust."
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