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Beer, football and social media

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All the above have been good to me over the years so I thought I’d bring them all together for this blog post.

Seeing as the habits surrounding beer and football consumption are familiar territory I thought an analogy involving them might work to illustrate one of the current challenges for journalists.

(It is a Saturday afternoon at the end of a week of football madness with United off to Mosscow and the launch of the M.E.N’s campaign to Save Sven, so indulge me).

After all isn’t alcohol consumption on the up, cheaper than ever before? Then why do pubs close?

So, beer is the news for this illustration.

1. Man goes to supermarket and buys beer(news), takes it home and drinks alone in front of the football. Sad maybe, but it happens. This is the newspaper model. Lone consumption.

2. Man goes to supermarket and buys beer(news), takes it home and drinks with friends in front of football. This is the online model. Sharing with trusted sources. 

3. Man goes to pub (provider), buys beer(news) and socialises with friends and/or strangers. This is the social media model. Random sharing.

If this analogy works (does it? you tell me) it could be good news. In all three scenarios the beer (news) is present.

But here’s the rub, the challenge for the news organisation is to be the provider of the news (beer) – the same challenge the publican faces with the growth of home-based drinking and cheap supermarket beers.

The solution? Sell the pub beer cheaper i.e give your news away and push it to new places. Plenty are travelling that road at present and cheers to that!

An alternative could be to look at what else is on offer in the pub and work on making it an experience different, and infinitely better, than drinking at home. i.e not just news that you can get elsewhere (supermarket beer), news that is a unique package of content and appeal, obtainable exclusively from the news organisation.

Without a shift in thinking, the rate of closures of “old-man’s” pubs  across the UK will continue, commentators will bemoan the loss of ‘important’ social centres and people will get drunk at home with their mates during football matches.

Sound familiar?

Written by sarahhartley

May 3rd, 2008 at 7:23 pm