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Press agencies should collect user data instead of relying on digital platforms

Newspapers need to collect reader data to produce articles and personalize content rather than depend too heavily on digital platforms, said Nhan Dan (People) Editor-in-Chief Le Quoc Minh.
Nhan Dan Editor-in-Chief Le Quoc Minh

A seminar on “Digital media promotes economic recovery” held by the center for digital content production and development under the Vietnam National Television several days ago. Experts pointed out the trends, opportunities and challenges for press agencies in the multi-dimensional information environment.

Minh said that some issues unfamiliar some years ago are now a part of press agencies.

“When we talked about cross platforms, many people said it was not realistic for Vietnam. When we talked about fake news in 2016, no one believed this. When we talked about AI in the press in 2018, people also found it far away. However, all these things have occurred and they connect closely to the activities of press agencies,” Minh said.

However, he stressed that it is necessary to grasp trends and make changes. "If you do not catch trends, the things that seem to be inevitable may not happen to you,” Minh said.

Talking about digital transformation at Nhan Dan newspaper, Minh said the paper has prioritized content on digital platforms (digital first) and content is are posted on social networks to approach readers.

Pham Anh Chien, deputy director of the center for digital content production and development, noted that content production, distribution and technological infrastructure need to create systematic strength to be able to develop.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Anh Nhuong Tong, chair of Yeah1 Group, said it is not the time to think about where digital transformation will go, but about how to take full advantage to create content which can interact with billions of people. He believes that press agencies can take full advantage of platforms to spread content in accordance with their targets.

User data

Minh of Nhan Dan newspaper noted that for a long-time press agencies and content producers relied too much on different platforms. However, they have changed their minds in recent years. 

The problem is that when relying on many platforms, press agencies can get traffic but they don’t have readers and an audience. This is because if newspapers don’t have reader data, they cannot target the right audiences and they don’t know who readers are and where they come from.

“Press agencies need to obtain user data. This is extremely important. If we don’t have user data and we depend on platforms and other modes, we won’t be able to provide the content that targets subjects, let alone the personalization of content,” Minh said, adding that the current trend now is not relying on platforms, but obtaining reader data to take the initiative in content production.

For a long time, newspapers have been relying too much on platforms to distribute information and create revenue. There is a growing trend in the world in which newspapers join forces with each other to obtain a number of users large enough to sell content. It’s also necessary to pay attention to loyal readers, rather than only try to obtain more readers.

“Statistics show that loyal readers account for 20 percent and we need to provide good content to retain them. Passersby account for 80 percent but they don’t bring much value,” he said. “Press agencies need to reserve energy, time and material resources to retain loyal clients, the important readers who bring benefits.”

Digital transformation in media

The representative of the Authority of Press said at the seminar that the strategy on digital transformation of the press by 2025 with a vision towards 2030 has been submitted to the Prime Minister. He believes that press agencies will not be able to exist if they don’t digitize. However, the question is how to make investments and how to begin.

“Some press agencies even find it difficult to balance their budgets, let alone making investments and develop. Therefore, the state may make investments with its resources. However, it has a more important role – attracting businesses with digital infrastructure to go with press agencies in the digital transformation process,” he said.

“This is a kind of symbiosis in the digital ecosystem, in which content is the most important commodity of digital infrastructure,” he said.

Duy Vu

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