Pandemic delivers opportunity for niche media companies

Pandemic delivers opportunity for niche media companies

10 June 2020

Leading industry media outlet, Niche Publishing Network, recently published two articles assessing Momentum Media’s response to business challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Our message is to articulate to our partners and sponsors how they can capitalise on the increased activity on our websites, and also to articulate why niche media is so important, and why it is such a direct connection with these very segmented audiences.” Alex Whitlock, director, Momentum Media.

“Our message is to articulate to our partners and sponsors how they can capitalise on the increased activity on our websites, and also to articulate why niche media is so important, and why it is such a direct connection with these very segmented audiences.” Alex Whitlock, director, Momentum Media.

The first of the two articles, ‘Q&A with Alex Whitlock’, features a transcribed interview with Momentum director Whitlock, who explained that, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation, the company’s messaging has not changed.

“We are always about accurate information, business intelligence, and helping our business audiences understand their marketplace,” Whitlock said.

“The message is still the same. It’s about value in terms of what we deliver to our audiences.

“In terms of sales, our message is to articulate to our partners and sponsors how they can capitalise on the increased activity on our websites, and also to articulate why niche media is so important and why it is such a direct connection with these very segmented audiences.”

In fact, the pandemic has provided an opportunity for niche media companies.

“There is not going to be an ‘after COVID-19’,” Whitlock said. “This is the new normal. This is not the last pandemic of its type that is going to come our way. And even if it’s a decade before the next one comes, the fear will remain. This is going to change the way most of us view the world forever.

“I’m not saying things won’t go back to how they largely worked before COVID-19, but I think there’s going to be a changed view of things, and I think the economic aftershock will continue for a long time.

“A lot of the businesses are going to take a long time to recover. We don’t yet know how deep a recession is going to be and how far unemployment is going to stretch.

“Businesses are going to need to look at how they re-engage with their marketplaces, and niche media is going to play a critical role in staying in contact with their audiences to provide them with relevant, sharp, accurate information.

“It’s a big opportunity for niche media, to keep that engagement and to articulate that message.”

Whitlock said that trustworthy niche media are increasingly important in the current business environment, with a number of other options for advertisers’ and sponsors’ marketing spend (particularly in social media) becoming less trustworthy due to the amount of misinformation on those platforms.

“Your audience is looking for critical information provided by qualified journalists, people who are passionate about what they do, and who are very educated on their subject matter.”

“This is the perfect piggyback for any sponsor or partner, whether it’s digital, print or broadcast content.

“Knowing your subject matter and giving the right information to your audiences has value for your partners.”

According to Whitlock, Momentum’s short-term goal never changes.

“Internally for us, it is to challenge, to question, to explore, to seek innovation, never to view one particular line of communication as being the one that will endure forever,” he said.

“We constantly monitor how our audiences want to engage with us. We’ve got a very diversified business. We are a media business, but we also conduct research and provide outsourced communications and event management to other businesses. So, we constantly look at how we can offer value to our various audiences, be that for consumers of our information or for our commercial partners.

“And we constantly look at how we can continue to grow revenue. We’re here to grow. We’re here to advance. We’re here to prosper. So we continually look at evolution. We embrace change. We love change. We get excited by change.”

To read the article click here.

Pivoting to virtual events

The second article, ‘Behind Momentum Media’s quick pivot to virtual events’, focuses on the events side of Momentum’s business.

It opens by describing how Momentum is unique in terms of its capabilities for its individual audiences, before mentioning the company’s recently announced partnership with audio-visual experience company Austage Events to deliver live broadcast virtual events.

Alex Whitlock is again quoted – saying that, especially in the context of awards programs, audiences are the guiding light for everything the company does.

“If you focus on revenue before you focus on your audience, you end up going down the wrong track,” he said.

“The awards across all of our portfolio are about highlighting excellence and giving recognition where it’s due.

“Ultimately, many small businesses are struggling right now and to be given that recognition is critical for them. That’s what’d driven the innovation to move to virtual events.”

The recently announced Austage partnership enhances Momentum’s existing capabilities in this area.

“We’ve focused on broadcast, both audio and video, for many years,” Whitlock said. 

“We do a lot of live broadcasts, and we have capabilities that are pretty cutting edge in terms of media. Our recent partnership with Austage Events means we’ve got good in-house capabilities and a full AV team to support this.”

Virtual events also provide the opportunity to include, in awards programs, geographically remote people who may previously have been unable to participate.

“Nevermind COVID-19,” said Whitlock. “We’re now bringing experiences to audiences across Australia so they can feel much more a part of the community.”

Click here to read to full article.