Diversity in the digital age

Last October 24, the Permanent Seminar of Communication and Culture Policies dedicated to the theme of radio and audiovisual was held. Manuel Fernández Sande, a Spanish researcher who gave the session, spoke about concentration and audiovisual diversity, pointing out the positive and negative aspects of the new digital era.

During a visit to the University of Minho as part of the Erasmus teacher mobility program, Manuel Fernández Sande started from the concept of diversity to look at radio in the digital context. According to the researcher at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the idea of diversity can generate multiple interpretations. In the field of communication, diversity may have a negative reading as a result of the concentration of media ownership and paradoxically positive as a means of seeking equitable access to content through new niches and frequency optimization.

For Manuel Fernández Sande, measuring the diversity of media is a complex task, especially in an online context, as companies are more opaque and data is scarce. From the policy point of view, the researcher recalled that any public policy that seeks to foster diversity should be based on three dimensions: sources, content and exposure. He also stressed that it is necessary to develop effective policies that can go beyond a commemorative speech.

During the seminar, Manuel Fernández Sande pointed out some threats to diversity, namely the existence of alliances of national agglomerates, the homogenization of content through tags and metadata and the predominance of content recovery algorithms.

Regarding the radio in the online, Manuel Fernández Sande believes there is a disconnect between what is studied at the academy and what actually happens in the market. For the researcher, although the radio is changing, consumption is still very similar to the conventional. In this context, Manuel Fernández Sande defends the emergence of rupture factors of the traditional model, namely new formats, new narratives, different business models and changes in the technological contexts and in the regulation itself.

Faced with these changes, the radio in the online faces a number of challenges, including the need for new audience measurement systems, new marketing strategies, as well as new languages and advertising formats.

The Permanent Seminar on Communication and Culture Policies is an initiative of PolObs, Observatory of Communication and Culture Policies of CECS.

[Text published 25-10-2018]