Start-up

IS THE MEDIA STUNTING THE GROWTH OF STARTUPS?

In this article, we will consider under the tag media all medium; print or soft copy, audio or video, blogs or social media, which are used to spread information to the public.

Let us understand the new media.

New media refers to all the tools of communication that have emerged over the past decade, to either act as complimentary piece(s) or rival(s) to the traditional media (journals, radio & television) as the case may be. We are talking about blogs, audio & video podcasts, magazines and even social media. Yes, Facebook when use as such can act as a media. A clear example can be seen by taking a peek at the social accounts of any news site.

How does a media company generate income?

Now that we know exactly what a new media is, let us proceed to understanding how a media company generates income. The primary goal of any company is to make money and media companies are no exceptions to that.
Taking the new media as an example, their best revenue canal is from ads. This is possible through either Google AdSense or companies buying spots and/or articles. Both of these options are influenced by traffic; the more website visits they have per day the more attractive they are to Google and/or companies. Similarly, the more listeners/followers they have on their podcast(s) the more attractive they are for advertisement. More traffic/listeners means more frequent ads, which then tend to become more expensive, thus more money.
Although in the previous paragraph I am taking the case of new media, it should be noted that this also applies to traditional media.

How do media get traffic?

Well, simple! This is possible by putting out new content every now and then. The more content they publish, the more relevant they are to their listeners, and the more they get recommended to other users (this always depends on the algorithm of the platforms used). And this is where things become tricky.
Some sites have become used to sensational news and tend to be “addicted” to it. Well, can you blame them? Such news brings in traffic and hence revenue. Once a site breaks a story that is “sensational” or considered a Buzz and sees the immediate result on its traffic, it is fair to say that the editors will prioritize such stories over others.

How are startups affected by this?

Recently, the startup ecosystem in Cameroon while growing has seen its fair share of news worthy stories. But has also had some stories that were not really news worthy.
The articles are good for the media, always, because it brings traffic and income. But the inconvenience for the start-up ecosystem is in the fact that, the media starts preying on the ecosystem searching for the next ‘‘sensational’’ story. Unfortunately for the startups, there are quite a number of them that have innovative ideas but are not ready, some having only their business plans but no prototype. As soon as a media identifies those rare ones, well easy to guess what happens next.
Once a start-up is featured by a top notch site, the others pick up the story. It then becomes increasingly difficult for the entrepreneur building that business to focus on his product. History has proven that some even go as far as faking their pedigrees just to look more appealing. This is done because there’s a growing feeling that the more press around a business, the more likely the business can succeed.
In some cases, good press goes a long way to boost the likeliness of the business’ success. But this only happens if the PR is handled well. In other cases, all the press does is hindering the development of the company. Unfortunately, the latter is more frequent than the former. Point to my case, a lot of startups who have made news over the past couple of years after winning various competitions are unheard of today. Are they dead? Or are they simply not growing fast enough to be considered news worthy?

Do not only blame the media! Entrepreneurs should be held accountable too.

Truth be told, the parade and media tour is appealing to the young entrepreneur. He sees in this an opportunity to spread the word about his idea but ignores the possible consequences. Why? Well, essentially because it’s a game of luck. The young and impressionable entrepreneur does all that hoping to attract the attention of the right people. Sometimes more energy and resource is put towards touring the media than actually working on a prototype. Brice Ludovic, founder of New Era Publishing, has been on record crediting his efforts towards making the news rather than the product, partly responsible for the stunted growth of his business and its eventual failure. ( Wisdom Talks Conference 2017)

I will conclude by saying that media do stunt the growth of young startups especially those headed by a young and impressionable entrepreneur. But the blame is not always on the media, and the entrepreneurs on quest for press mentions should be held accountable too.

The relationship between the media and a start-up should be handled as diligently as that of the customer and the start-up. If you can get yourself a professional, do so with no second thoughts.

NZIKO Hermès
Directeur de Publication chez Bee-kome Magazine et Directeur général de Bee-kome Media. Passionné par les nouvelles technologies, les sciences du comportement humain et l'entrepreneuriat.
http://hermesnziko.wordpress.com