‘They Come for Obama, but They Stay for the Kardashians.’ UNYP Students at Forum Media 2016

On October 4th, two UNYP students attended the Economia Forum Media conference at the Prague congress centre. The annual conference focuses on the Czech media and marketing environment, and typically attracts over 300 professionals to discuss the state of marketing communications in the Czech Republic. The Department of Communication and Mass Media was graciously given free tickets by Economia, and they were offered to students in the Communication Studies Society club.

The conference featured a fair number of major players in the domestic media market, including all three CEOs of the major telecommunications providers, as well as key names in a varied mix of domestic and foreign media companies, for example,  Seznam, STEM, Lagardere or AVAST. By far the biggest names at the conference were Torry Pedersen, editor in chief and CEO of the Norwegian media group Verdens Gang (or, ‘the man who taught people to pay for news online’), and Rustam Ziganshin of Facebook.

The students representing UNYP at the conference - Francesca Mendolia and  Eliska Vojakova – were both impressed with Pedersen. “I especially enjoyed his talk, he is a trailblazer in how newspapers should work in a digital world, by targeting specific groups in the country according to their preferences,” Vojakova said. However, she was not completely sold on Pedersen’s total digitalization menu mantra. “In contrast, I also enjoyed the talk by Jan Tuček, who defended the traditional way of newspaper publishing and the reasons why people still want to buy published articles rather than to fully transfer to digital screens.” Both students unanimously pronounced the ‘quote of the conference’ as Pederson’s, “they come for Obama, but they stay for the Kardashians”, in arguing that people are interested in serious news headlines, but the media also have to grab attention by presenting ‘less important’ stories which the public demands.

Mendolia found one of the key message take-aways to be emotion. “Pedersen stressed the importance of personal journalism as opposed to the old-fashioned “one size fits all” approach. On the other hand, Ziganshin explained that communication on Facebook is immersive, expressive, and immediate. That is why Facebook has a new people-based approach where cookies are no longer essential. So, it was interesting to see how these new approaches, based on people’s emotion, can be effective in today’s business.”

As for the general vibe on the state of marketing today? Both walked away with different perspectives.

For Vojakova, the tangled wires of seemingly never-ending channels, and the problem of finding the actual source seemed to stand out most. “It is difficult to track down data showing the success of individual campaigns and advertisements since we are targeted in so many ways. What really got the attention of the consumer, the billboard? The ad in the online article? The direct text on their mobile phone? It is hard to find out which way was most influential and helped the most in obtaining the attention.”

Mendolia was struck by something entirely different, and of little focus at the conference. “I am concerned about the ethical aspect. In appealing to young people, is journalism losing its quality? Do people-based approaches put our privacy at risk? Is our privacy more important than media business and ultimately the economy growth? These are a few of the questions that came to my mind after participating in the conference.”

Follow us

Go to top