Europe's traditional media struggles online

Few European firms have managed the transition from old media to new media, according to Forrester Research. Europe's print media continue to treat the internet as a paper extension, resulting in few online successes.

Carsten Schmidt, associate analyst at Forrester Research, said, "Traditional publishing firms in Europe are meeting new competition, new challenges, new revenue models, and different rules online, but they haven't made the transition from static HTML to today's more interactive Net environment."

He continued, "Revenue streams from the profitable classifieds business are drying up because newcomers are offering more competitive rates. Meanwhile, specialized sites are offering proprietary targeted content, and portals are creating content communities that steal away audiences."

Forrester believes that to attract visitors and lucrative sponsors, firms must recreate their editorial values for the online environment. They need, the report argues, to focus on the creation of dynamic content - actively creating, selecting, and enriching content on a real-time basis to create a close community of readers targetable for commerce partners.

Online content, says the report, requires a real-time creation process and firms should allow writers to post stories in less than one hour from draft to online and rely more on freelancers.

"Users will demand more than today's commoditized newswires. Stories should include links that are relevant, streaming video that enriches stories, and chat rooms and bulletin boards that involve users and create stickiness," added Schmidt.

Forrester believes that the online property should be run as a separate entity, which can help raise money through an IPO. The right staff is the key to delivering online, and redesigning workflow should be top priority for traditional firms. Writers need to be internet savvy and editors must combine the best of all media worlds.

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