Digital transformation is not just about digitizing content

by Khánh Huyền12 January 2024 Last updated at 12:40 PM - The reality is that digital transformation is about creating an entirely new production process and introducing innovative information products, based on a comprehensive and holistic approach to total innovation, in which human resources play a crucial role.

Speaking at the conference to review the work of 2023 and set tasks for 2024, Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung stressed that in 2024, the press, publishing and communication sectors will consider cyberspace as the main battlefield. This includes both the digital transformation of journalism and ensuring a healthy cyberspace by dealing with harmful information online and managing cross-border digital platforms operating in Vietnam in accordance with Vietnamese laws.

In his keynote speech at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang highly appreciated the contributions of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to the national digital transformation process.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang, the field of information and communication is closely related to new knowledge and concepts such as AI and ChatGPT. At the same time, it has significant soft power in terms of media and communication. Therefore, effective management can have a positive impact, while poor management can have negative consequences. The Deputy Prime Minister underlined the crucial role of the information and communication sector in promoting national digital transformation in an era of rapidly advancing technology. He pointed out that effective management in this sector can have a positive impact and bridge the gap between Vietnam and the rest of the world.

With regard to the press, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang stressed the need to improve competitiveness to help media outlets thrive in the increasingly fierce competition between traditional media and social media platforms. He also stressed the importance of implementing the second phase of the media restructuring project.

Digital transformation is a key development strategy for the future

The application of digital technology to create a multimedia newsroom that converges the values of technology, skills and adaptability are considered key to the development of journalism worldwide, and Vietnam is no exception.

Over the past decade, technology has brought about significant changes that have influenced user behavior on the Internet and the development trends of modern journalism. The distinction between print media, television and online newspapers has become more pronounced due to technological factors, allowing specific types of journalism to be presented on the Internet platform with high interactivity.

Many old-timers still read print newspapers, but in the not-too-distant future, those born into the digital world will become the dominant readership. Mark Thompson, CEO of The New York Times, predicts that print newspapers will cease to be relevant within the next 20 years.

The development of social media has created competition for online newspapers while driving users to the internet for more information. According to a study by the Korea Press Foundation (KPF), by 2020-2022, the number of people receiving information through traditional media will have declined sharply, replaced by mobile phone information.

From an economic perspective, statistics from From Digital show that nearly 70% of the money spent on print advertising has evaporated over the past 15 years. By 2022, total global advertising revenue will exceed $500 billion, with advertising on digital platforms accounting for more than 50% of the total.

In Vietnam, many media agencies have undergone significant changes in the digital transformation process and achieved remarkable results, including Vietnam Television (VTV). Since July 2023, VTV has implemented new software applications for internal management, guidance, and operation, connected to the government's supervision system, initially achieving efficiency, and meeting and replacing previously used software. With the implementation of the national digital transformation program on June 5, 2023, VTVGo officially became the national digital platform. The results of the survey evaluating the level of digital transformation maturity in journalism in 2023, released at the end of December 2023 by the Center for Supporting Digital Transformation of Journalism (Press Department, Ministry of Information and Communications), showed that VTV ranked first among the top 10 media agencies with an excellent rating.

As a leading multimedia communications agency, digital transformation is both a challenge and an opportunity, according to General Director Le Ngoc Quang. In addition to maintaining and developing content to consolidate its position through key programs, VTV needs to tap into multiple platforms, especially digital channels. In 2024, VTV will focus on key solutions, including intensifying the production of multi-platform content, simultaneously developing versions for television and digital platforms; strengthening inter-departmental production models, maintaining a reasonable proportion of programs produced by the broadcaster, attracting external resources to improve the quality of entertainment programs, films, among others; strengthening promotional activities for key programs and the VTV brand; developing high-quality program formats in line with audience preferences and market trends to meet the common challenge of declining revenues.

In the media agency's digital transformation, the focus will be on human resources

Dinh Tran Viet, director of the Centre for Digital Content Production and Development, said that by the end of 2023, VTV Digital will have nearly 30% of its workforce dedicated to producing content for digital platforms, more than 50% of its workforce will be involved in both broadcasting and digital, and less than 20% of its workforce focusing solely on traditional television. This result comes as the Center expands its content ecosystem in its core areas, with content ranging from daily life and business to inspirational content being developed across all popular social media platforms.

WAN-IFRA's 2021 Digital Media Transformation Report highlights that in order to accelerate the digital transformation process, newsrooms will need to change their organizational structure, particularly in terms of staffing. At that point, newsrooms will not only consist of reporters, editors and technicians, but will also need additional positions for product directors, data specialists and more.

"Training must therefore be regular and continuous, updating knowledge at all levels, from management to staff. Training should be linked to practical experience, learning the culture of A/B testing - product testing, and promoting the culture of using data to make decisions," said Mr. Tran Tien Duan, Editor-in-Chief of the Vietnam Plus online newspaper under the Vietnam News Agency (TTXVN), at the year-end review conference on 2023 activities and 2024 task assignment organized by the Ministry of Information and Communications at the end of December 2023.

The reality is that digital transformation is not just about digitizing content for digital platforms; it requires the creation of an entirely new production process, innovative information products, and even the development of a digital transformation culture within newsrooms to adapt to the digital environment. Vietnamese media agencies need to approach this issue with the utmost seriousness, assess their specific needs, define their desired path, set clear objectives, and then select the appropriate technology.

According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the goal of the digital transformation of the press is to build media agencies in a professional, humane and modern direction. This includes effectively fulfilling the mission of disseminating information to serve the revolutionary cause of the Party and the country's innovation; ensuring a leading role in guiding public opinion in society and maintaining information sovereignty in the digital space; innovating the reader experience; creating new revenue sources; and promoting the development of the digital content industry. The digital transformation of the press means being ready to accept challenges, experiment with new ideas and participate in the competitive landscape of the online space. Therefore, the digital transformation of the press can start with small steps, emphasizing a comprehensive and forward-looking approach.

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