TV Presenter Jonathan Ross must be laughing all the way to his bank; indeed he may even tell us on Twitter. Today, ITV has confirmed it has signed Mr Ross for – guess what – a Friday night chat show. Well there’s a surprise; blow me down with a feather. Let’s get this clear. ITV is in hot water. Viewing figures are not what they used to be, they are still reeling from intense criticism about their poor World Cup coverage and poor financial results in recent years. That’s to say nothing about the dreadful débâcle over their purchase and then re-sale of Friends Reunited, the amazing length of time they had no news on their website and several reported problems with their online player for watching programmes. Phrases including the word “brewery” come to mind.
With the latest news about Jonathan Ross, ITV is revealing, yet again, a distinct lack of originality. No creative thought at all, it seems. And they wonder why other channels are stealing their viewers. It is all indicative of a business still stuck in the 1970s. Back then, you didn’t have to be original or distinctive very much. There was little competition – and even if there was, it took them ages to respond or deal with whatever angle you were taking on business.
Nowadays, it is all different. Before Jonathan Ross even takes to the airwaves next year on ITV, some young upstart will be getting more viewers on YouTube for their home-spun chat show. Indeed, by that time someone will have mashed together some technology allowing us all to take part in an online chat show, speaking to celebrities directly. And they won’t be constantly plugging their books or movies..! It will be real, interesting chat.
One of the reasons ITV – indeed many major media outlets – are failing to attract audiences, advertising and revenue has nothing to do with “external factors” (as they say) but everything to do with one big internal one. A lack of creative thinking borne out of Luddite attitudes. The world has moved on; catch up.
It is the same for every business you care to think about. Competition is bigger than it has ever been and the speed with which your competitors can respond is greater than ever before. Doing the same, old, tired stuff is no longer acceptable. People see much more creativity around them as a result of the online world and they expect the same from you. Your business needs to be different, it needs to do things differently and it needs to use modern methods of working to be up-to-date.
Anything less means you risk upstart competitors, who are not yet on your horizon, stealing your market within moments. The alternative is you can be like ITV and say that “this has worked for years and there is no reason it won’t work in the future”. As they say in the stock markets of the world, past results are not an indicator of future performance.
Just because your business has worked OK for years does not mean it will continue to do so. In these fast-paced, rapid technological development times, you cannot afford to ignore creativity. You need it to stay ahead. Can someone tell ITV? Oh, right, you may need to send them a letter…!