A report for America's Local Media Association shows a 'significant disconnect' between chief executives and digital leaders, with many media companies slow to transform digitally.
The report includes highlights of surveys with 200 local media leaders which were conducted in preparation for LMA's own strategic planning. The surveys and conversations focused on top challenges, pain points and where investments within the organisation should be made. Phone interviews were conducted with dozens of chief executives, in-person focus groups with 19 vice presidents of digital, online surveys from 130 publishers and TV/radio station managers and survey results from the research and development community.
LMA says the results are "startling".
Key findings include:
Chief executives frustrated that their investments in digital have not paid off as they had envisioned and questioning the margins digital is providing their company.
Those who lead digital teams say they are not well supported from their chief executive, and don't believe their organisation's top leaders are willing to accept the runway required to start new business units. They say their success is connected to local leaders who are not always able to execute.
Local leaders overwhelmed with their workload and don't believe their sales teams are adequately staffed.
All three groups did agree on one thing - recruitment, retention and training of digital talent is a huge issue.
"This is an unhealthy situation," said LMA president Nancy Lane. "VPs of digital are spinning their wheels. Many chief executives are not able to focus past the next quarter, which makes it difficult to invest in the long term. Local leaders are largely compensated on reaching goals that remain tied to the core business. No one is really at fault here, as the company goals are not aligned.
"We have to take steps to address these issues and accelerate digital transformation."
LMA has outlined a variety of steps in this report that media companies could take to start addressing this wide gap including measuring employee net promoter scores, agreeing on clear metrics and locking in on the most important products and agreeing on needed resources and profit goals for those products.
LMA will be hosting webinars and conference sessions dedicated to these topics. This report, which is being released today, will be sent to local media chiefs and other senior-level executives. Click here to download.