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Macedonia: New Media Sustainability Conference held

The conference on new media sustainability in Macedonia took place on May 11, 2013, attended by about 80 representatives of the media sector, such as reporters and editors, NGO representatives, marketing agencies and international experts. The event was organized by Metamorphosis and financially supported by the U.S. Embassy.

odrzhlivost_na_novite_mediumi-1The conference aimed at communicating the experiences of international experts Markus Ickstadt, commercial director at Streamworks Interactive and Toni Gabric, editor-in-chief of H-Alter.org, so that those experiences could be used in the Macedonian context presented by 10 speakers from Macedonian media associations, organizations, agencies and portals.

The event was opened by Bardhyl Jashari from Metamorphosis and LeAnna Marr, USAID’s Education Office Director and Acting Mission Director, both emphasizing the need to encourage a discussion on this topic between the relevant stakeholders, presenting some of the problems in this specific area and stressing the need to strengthen Macedonian media from every aspect, which is also the purpose of other ongoing project initiatives.

Markus Ickstadt presented the main challenges for the media in Macedonia and in accordance with the findings he presented several sustainability models. He presented the soft pay-wall model used by the NY Times enabling readers to access up to 20 free articles without subscribing to the digital system. Washington Post articles accessed via social media and external search engines are not counted toward the free limit of 20 articles.

There are also restrictive billing systems that don’t allow the sharing of articles via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Nevertheless, the conclusion is that if pay-walls become the norm, readers will have to make decisions about which publications get their money, and their loyalty.

Mr. Ickstadt also a presented a model for sustainability through aggregating, producing and distributing video content and a model for creating unique content that would attract and engage the audience.

Some of his main recommendations were:

  • Creativity instead of restrictiveness in digital payment systems
  • Production of unique multimedia content to build brand value
  • Work with streaming specialists to add video at manageable cost
  • Investigate sponsorship models for content
  • Become less dependent on SEO and banner CPMs

The Croatian media context is similar to the context in Macedonia, as indicated with the experiences shared by the editor-in-chief of H-alter.org, Mr. Toni Gabric. He presented the forms of institutional support for nonprofit media in Croatia, but despite this advantage in terms of the operation of this type of media in our country, he also highlighted the problems and challenges they are facing, especially when it comes to long term financial sustainability.

odrzhlivost_na_novite_mediumiDuring the event, the issue of sustainability in general was analyzed from several aspects: originality of the media content, innovation in content presentation, the need for education, political pressures, the imposition of legal restrictions, the low percent of advertising in new media as opposed to traditional media etc.

On one hand, portals are struggling with tough competition: new media are emerging every day, there is an overproduction of content, limited resources, and on the other hand, agencies cannot obtain accurate information on the impact of online campaigns so that they could easily convince advertisers to advertise online.

Companies still prefer to advertise themselves in the traditional media, and new media should introduce innovation when it comes to monetization methods:


Aleksandar Damovski: The advertising philosophy is being copied from the print media and pasted in the online media #медиуми #mediumi


Freedom of the media, money from advertisements, control by the government… those are the problems, but where is the innovation. All media (#медиуми) are the same. #myfivecents

There should be local, original and multimedia contents. Journalists should adhere to the professional and ethical standards of their profession, whereas the media should strive to adapt the content to the new platforms and opportunities they offer. Quality content is the main prerequisite for sustainability.


The most visited website is not always the best one for reaching our desired target


Part of the problems of online media (#медиуми) in Macedonia result from the poor infrastructural support: IT and advertising platforms

Media should focus on several issues:


Specialization: if we can’t do everything, we should stick to doing only what we know how to do #медиуми #mediumi

Nevertheless, cooperation and communication of online media and agencies as direct mediators between them and advertisers is crucial


We didn’t just wait for advertisements to come, we started educating marketing agencies and advertisers #медиуми #mediumi


Journalists and agencies must meet more often and educate each other #mediumi

New media sustainability must not be perceived solely from an aspect of financial survival. This is why the technological and content development of new media must not be neglected, especially in the Macedonian context, concluded the conference moderator – Biljana Bejkova from NGO Infocentre.

You can feel a part of the atmosphere at the conference from the photos posted on the Metamorphosis Facebook profile, while the video and audio recording from the event are given below.

The event was supported by a number of media sponsors: Radio MOF, Portalb, Ping, +Info, Kanal 77, Crnobelo, Kajgana, Nova TV, Blogirame, Click Attack, Okno, MKD, IAB Makedonija, Sakam info, Hajd park, Moe bebe, Mojot grad, Taratur, Komunikacija, Albtajm and Emiter.

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