A mix of interesting, quality and authentic content, coupled with the constant technological improvement of digital products, is a good direction for web publishers to take
As a very strong trend, digitalization also brings changes in Serbia, primarily in the habits of people who are becomingincreasingly oriented towards information found on domestic websites and mobile applications, social networks, blogs, etc. Antenna Group in Serbia has a wide range of media outlets and is focused on producing quality and original content.
How did digital change the media image of Serbia?
— The media scene in Serbia underwent several changes over the past ten years, with one of the most pronounced being a decline in the readership of printed media, the rapid growth of the Internet usage and obtaining information through desktop and mobile devices. As a very strong trend, digitalization also brings changes in Serbia, primarily in the habits of people who are becoming increasingly oriented towards information on domestic websites and mobile applications, social networks, blogs, etc. Television is still a very powerful medium in Serbia, but the continuous increase in the use of the Internet and the online consumption of news and video undoubtedly shows that in the future, web platform will dominate and that various portable screens, that we are already surrounded with, are going to become broadcasters of television content too.
How have digital trends shaped Antenna Group’s portfolio in Serbia?
— Antenna Group in Serbia has a wide range of media outlets, which includes two television stations with national coverage (TV Prva and TV O2), Play radio, six cable channels, and a group of websites and mobile applications. There are also one of the the most visited information sites in Serbia and the region – B92.net and TV website Prva.rs – specializing in broadcasting premium video content with web rights for the local audience. We have a large group of readers in Serbia and the diaspora, which is why our focus is on the production of quality and original content. All digital products of Antenna Group are commercially oriented and serve a large number of ad formats – from local desktop advertising and programming to more advanced video and mobile advertising. B92.net has been broadcasting news for 22 years now and is distinguished on the domestic market as having a highly educated and urban audience that is interested in politics, business and sports. With a daily production of 400 news items, a loyal user base and a strong presence on social media, B92.net continues to implement its business vision while following in the trend of users increasingly switching to mobile devices and optimizing their platforms for small screens. The same trend can also be seen from viewing video content on the Prva.rs website, which is why Antenna Serbia has been implementing the mobile first concept for years.
Do you think that the traditional print media have managed to successfully transfer to the online sphere and do you expect some of the dailies to go completely online? How did online format affect content change?
— For several years now, domestic press has been carrying the intensive digitalization of its core products in order to respond to the ever-increasing demands of the market for web content. The decline in sales of printed editions has further prompted local publishers to invest heavily in digital development. I think it is still early to expect that the print media will completely switch over to web publishing, because there is a part of a loyal readership in Serbia who has the habit of buying newspapers, and there is the need to further develop the online advertising market so that it could support such business solutions. In Serbia, readers are still not accustomed to paying for access to news on sites, but following the trends in the US and the EU, where major newspapers such as the New York Times or the Financial Times collect a significant portion of their revenue through a digital subscription, it is expected that such changes will take place here in the near future. Content quality and advanced user experience will be of crucial importance for developing these subscription formats.
Could you tell us what is the financial formula for the survival of new and classic media on the web? Does the secret lie in content or in the comprehensive knowledge of technology? How does this change affect advertising revenue?
— I think that a mix of interesting, quality and authentic content, coupled with the constant technological improvement of digital products, is a good direction for web publishers to take in order to maintain the existing and generate new and younger audience. Also, ease of use of websites, as well as transparency of content extends the time spent on the website or using an application. These are all important prerequisites for boosting the brand on the Internet and raising the quality that is needed for generating revenue from digital advertising. The recently presented results of the IAB AdEx research for 2017 show that the value of digital marketing amounted to as much as 29.4 million euros, which is a 25 percent hike compared to 2016, which is encouraging to digital publishers and clearly shows a change in trends in the redistribution of annual advertising budgets. It is especially important to mention the value of mobile advertising, which in 2017, amounted to almost 13 million euros. The use of mobile devices and access to media content via these devices is in the expansion in Serbia, and it is necessary to constantly educate clients and decision makers ion terms of redistribution of the budget for advertising, educating them that mobile advertising is very direct, because we are talking about showing advertisements on the device which is used, on average, four hours per day, and that mobile advertising is very effective as it provides the opportunity to serve many types of creatives. In digital advertising campaigns, it is important that ads are served on the content that is checked and secure.“ Brand safety” is a benchmark against which the client will decided wheter to market or not market their campaign, which requires a constant investment in quality text and video content. In my daily work, I pay a great deal of attention to the selection and preparation of content that is safe, which is of great importance for the commercial clients with whom we cooperate and whose campaigns we broadcast.
Would more media freedom result in less fake news or are fake news a products(s) of a number of other factors that have nothing to do with the media situation?
— Production of fake news directly damages the society, media freedom and the right to objectively inform the audience about real events. The fight against fakeews must be managed in several ways – media professionals should improve their control over the sources and credibility of information they place, limit and restrict as much as possible the copy / paste way of reporting, and work on educating citizens about how to identify fake news, which is a process that requires engaging both the media and the education system at an early age.