Transforming the news value chain in the social era: a technical perspective

Article English OPEN
Hernandez Serrano, MJ ; Greenhill, A ; Graham, G (2015)
  • Publisher: Emerald

Purpose: This paper develops a conceptual framework to unde rstand the influence that the social era is having on the value chain of the local news industry. We theoretically advance value chain theory by firstly, considering the influence of community type and age on consumption and secondly exploring the role that consumers can play in value adding activities. Our theoretical contribution lies in moving from a transactional approach towards consumer relationships in the value chain towards managing consumers as a source of relational value (e.g. co-creation and integrated perspectives). Design: The conceptual framework is theoretically positioned in relation to community and digital community practices in the social era. A series of research questions are presented, then these questions are explored drawing on empirical data from the PEW database. We then advance the framework further to consider news firm strategy towards its consumers. 15 in-depth executive interviews were conducted with local news organizations in the Manchester area of the UK. Findings: We illustrate that different types of communities (merging cohorts and locations) are influencing levels of technological and social connectivity within the value chain. We also find that the news industry is experimenting with reconfiguring its consumer relations from a purely transactional to a co-created and participatory value added activity in the social era. In terms of its policy impact our findings show that the whole strategic value chain ideology of the news industry needs to change radically; away from its largely transactional (and lack of trust) approach in the ability of consumers to create value in the supply chain (other than to buy a product) and, move towards much greater consumer involvement and participation in value chain processes (creation, production and distribution of news products and services). Originality/value: The change associated with social media and connec tivity is changing the way that different community types and consumer groups are now consuming and participating in news content creation. Unlike previous studies we show that there is variance and complexity in the levels of consumer participation by community type/age group. Using the PEW data we contribute to knowledge on the value creation strategy of news firms in the social era, by identifying how communicative, social and communicative logics influence value and co-creation activities in the local news supply chain. Through our interviews we advance value co-creation theory from its strategic and marketing origins to operational and supply chain implementation.
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