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Eusebius on TimesLIVE

PODCAST | Is the business of media broken?

21 June 2022 - 06:00
Arena Holdings CEO Mzi Malunga meet and greet the team and addresses the staff on the back of four days strategy planning held in Johannesburg.
Arena Holdings CEO Mzi Malunga meet and greet the team and addresses the staff on the back of four days strategy planning held in Johannesburg.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Arena Holdings group CEO Mzi Malunga is the guest on this latest episode of Eusebius on TimesLIVE. They explored the question of whether the business model of media, as some might argue, is broken.

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They started with host Eusebius McKaiser briefly teasing out Malunga's career in journalism which goes back to the 1980s. He has performed many roles within the previous corporate  incarnations of Arena, first as a journalist and then on the commercial and managerial sides. About 10 years ago he exited and only returned in recent months in this new leadership role that requires a vision of how to make the business of media, sustainable. 

McKaiser challenged Malunga to make the case for why and how newspapers, for example, could still create value for owners and shareholders. In the context of shrinking advertising budgets and decreasing circulation figures, Malunga is surprisingly optimistic, and in the recording of the episode provided details on why he maintains that posture despite what naysayers think. 

McKaiser further questioned this optimism by suggesting that media companies are struggling to overcome their “original sin”, that is giving away content for free, and now unable to reverse a culture of consumer non-payment. Malunga conceded the challenge of monetisation, but explains in the interview why he does not see this revenue challenge as intractable. 

They ended the conversation by discussing the strategic importance of multiple revenue streams and having a critical number of employees, especially editors, who truly get the 21st century challenge rather than yearning for pre-digital models that are permanently gone.

To listen to previous episodes go here.

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