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Podcast Show Notes Ep 011: “From Print to Digital First – Transformation and Innovation in the world of News Media” with Malcolm Ong, South China Morning Post

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In the internet world, information is available on demand whenever and wherever you want. So we have to start thinking about, beyond just creating content, how do we understand how the content is packaged, and how the content is delivered.

Malcolm Ong, Head of Product, South China Morning Post

In this episode I’m pleased to have the chance to explore the world of news and media tech, an industry that has gone through rapid transformation over the last 10 years. I got to find out more about the innovation that’s been happening in the media business with Malcolm Ong, Head of Product at South China Morning Post.

Malcolm has an incredible background having been a successful tech entrepreneur himself as a co-founder of e-learning startup Skillshare. We had a very interesting conversation about SCMP’s digital transformation, the role of Artificial Intelligence in the newsroom, their latest experiments innovating with different content formats inspired by new technologies and consumer behaviour, and his thoughts on the future of the news media business. 

We talked about:

  • SCMP’s experimentation with different content formats and tech inspired by new ways and behaviours in consuming news content, e.g. smart speakers, podcasting, short form videos, real time live blogs
  • Role of Artificial Intelligence in the newsroom
  • Digital transformation at SCMP going from print to digital first media company
  • Considerations when designing for audio experience
  • Geographic and Regional differences in user behaviours and preferences for technologies, where they are and how they consume content
  • Monetisation of their digital innovation and SCMP’s transition from paywall to free online news model
  • How startups and corporates differ in their approach to innovation
  • Thoughts on future of media and what’s next for SCMP

Practical tips

Malcolm’s advice for creative entrepreneurs who are just starting out:

Step 1
Find what problem you’re passionate about solving and focus less on what makes money. There’s always going to be challenges, roadblocks, days when you’re super stressed out and not sure if it’s going to work, and what’s going to push you through is your passion about solving that problem.

Step 2
Take risks and try everything. There’re always so many reasons to make things fail or reasons to doubt yourself, reasons to say no to certain things, but if you’re creatively resourceful, there’s always ways around it and ways to move forward. Don’t be afraid to take those risks and those steps, and do what it takes.

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