News is, well, new. It’s stuff that’s either an update on information we already know, or it is brand, spanking new. Newspapers are not called “oldspapers” after all…what they give us is (relatively) new material. Online, of course, “new” means “within the last few seconds”; the race to be the first to publish the news has taken on a different meaning on the Internet.
In the past, news could be 24 hours old, when we just had daily newspapers. With the advent of broadcasting it could be a few hours old. Then came 24-hour news channels, which meant the news had to be minutes old and now, online, seconds are what counts. So why, you may ask, has ITV not realised that the rest of the world has had a rapid online news channel for over a decade?
ITV.com is still showing that its news site (which was taken down several weeks ago) is “coming soon”. Following hot on the heels of its loss of over £100m on FriendsReunited it’s another indication of a potential lack of understanding of the Internet over at ITV’s HQ at Gray’s Inn Road. True, their news site has links to ITN – but that is no longer referred to on TV; people have been getting their TV news from “ITV News” for a long time now, rather than the old ITN.
You would think that an organisation that has to respond quickly to get breaking news onto our TV screens would be geared up to cope with the pressures of speed that the Internet provides. Yet by cutting the newsrooms across the UK in half and slashing over 400 reporting jobs, ITV News may well not have sufficient resources to compete with the likes of BBC News, or even The Telegraph. When ITV News does resurface online, it will have an uphill struggle to compete – a huge mountain to climb. The longer it waits to give us a news site, the harder the job it gives itself.
So, what does this tell us about the online world and the demon of speed? It suggests that if your business does not respond to change quickly, you could lose out to the competition. Some businesses are still “thinking about” adding a blog (that’s 10-year-old technology); others are in a quandary about Twitter (almost three years old now). While these businesses cogitate, others are taking on the new technology and profiting from it.
The BBC, for instance, concentrated huge resources and effort in its online presence over a decade ago; in comparison, ITV is still thinking about it. Too little – too late.
Don’t let your business suffer in the same way. ITV has huge losses which it may well have avoided with an online offering to at least match the BBC’s. Businesses that respond to online technological changes quickly and do not dither appear to be those that are succeeding and profiting (even in these economically difficult times). Hanging around, waiting, dithering or simply being ostrich-like seems to be the way to online ruin and financial difficulty. It means restructuring many businesses – including yours – so you can respond rapidly to new online technology and avoid competitors stealing a march on you. One of the main reasons why many online businesses fail is lack of speed of response to technological change.
So, in order to ensure your web presence works, make sure you keep up-to-date with online technology AND that you respond quickly. Otherwise, your site could be viewed rather like an “oldspaper”.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+