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尹思哲

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7個網媒 Dos and Don’ts

本地網媒做極唔起,西方media startups就風生水起,原因是什麼?我算是過來人,我想找到答案。

在當下,西方網媒正值百花齊放,不,它們不以「網媒」自居,他們管自己叫「media startups」或者「new media venture」,其中有3個,最值得研究參考:MediumThe InformationAxios

光計命名,本地和西方已有根本性分別:本地經營者多以「網媒」自居,西方則叫做 startups 或 venture,有顛覆和冒險之意,他們要改變和超越媒體的操作。

我認為透過比較海內外「網媒」和「Media Startups」經營實況,從他們經歷的成與敗,能夠歸納出一些 Dos 和 Don’ts供參考:

Don’ts: 不要自己創造內容

Medium 創辦人 Evan Williams 改名最「見骨」,乾脆以「medium」命名,開宗名義「我不創造內容」,他不要建立一個盛載長文的網站,而是通過科技集結最聰明的人,賦予他們改變世界的工具。Medium 精英作者群來自全球,Williams一毫子稿費也不用付他們。

Don’ts: 周身刀無張利

打開本地網媒的首頁,看了看,心有戚戚然。這些報道有多少已經在Fb已看過?本地網媒有一共通點是「百貨公司」,上至天文下至港聞左至環保右至財經,都有得睇。前《華爾街日報》記者Jessica Lessin,創辦了《The Information》,標榜「只有這裡看得到」的科技業內幕深度分析,每日刊登文章不多,但精要,全年訂閱盛惠399美元,跟《華爾街日報》睇齊,Mark Zuckerberg也是忠實訂戶之一。

Don’ts: 「立足本土」不衝出國際

香港本土市場太細,是不爭的事實。受影響的是所有香港大中小企,媒體也是一門生意,自然要接受這定律。昔日香港電視業影響力足跡遍佈全球,從馬拉到美加都有忠實觀眾。當年的海外市場,亦要派員遠赴海外「征討」,今天有了互聯網可以直達受眾,若題材合適,還有借口不面向國際嗎?

Don’ts: 寫給同行而非消費者

「傳媒人只寫給傳媒人看,而不是寫給消費者,那是傳媒所面對最大的問題。」Axios 創辦人Jim VandeHei 這樣說。這家由 Politico 幾位創辦人 Jim VandeHei、Mike Allen、Roy Schwartz 所成立的新媒體,去年獲得了千萬美元創投,宗旨是為讀者創造能於手機快速獲取的專業新聞。

Dos: 免費開始 然後逐步收費

香港可能是全球最「擁抱免費內容」的城市。聽過這笑話:香港人買新手機多少錢眼不會眨,但要付1美元買WhtasApp,覺得「好憤怒」、「好唔抵」。VandeHei 分享當年經營政治媒體Politico的策略,值得參考:最初2、3年走免費路線,利用廣告收入「以戰養戰」,加強內容後,再推出收費產品擴展戰線,終達至廣告與訂閱各佔一半收入。

Dos: 大膽起用科技人

重文輕科技,是普遍本地網媒的死穴。立足香港的 lifehack.org 全公司沒有傳媒人,由為數不多的project manager,基於大數據和經驗,每日聯繫來自全球幾百名「供稿單位」、分派寫作題材。網媒若不夠資源吸納科技人,就只好使用科技公司的工具,轉換跑道,變成科技平台的「重量使用者」和「內容提供者」,那是沒有辦法中的辦法。

Dos: Cut the crap! 重質不重量

年輕一代終日浸淫於手機和社交媒體,他們嫌傳統媒體太「口水」,格式太冗長。相反,傳統媒體為取悅年輕用戶,改玩社交平台的遊戲,祭出誇張標題、性感照及讀後「感覺良好」的軟性內容。Axios的誕生要改變這現狀:以短的、精要的、點列的方式傳遞專業新聞分析。有評論以「Twitter和The Economist的結合」來形容這新體裁。

文首舉了3個外國新媒體例子,最後我再舉3個香港製造、能夠不靠投資者「科水」的,分別是 Lifehack、Hypebeast 和 Unwire.hk,共通點是只談生活不談政治,同樣值得大家參考研究。

《2017年4月8日刊於信報 — 網媒的一念天堂一念地獄》

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