Ananya Saha
Mar 23, 2015

Ad:tech 2015: 'We live in an age of growing information inequality'

BBC News' James Montgomery said the world is dividing into those seeking and those skimming the news

Ad:tech 2015: 'We live in an age of growing information inequality'
On the second day of Ad:tech 2015, James Montgomery, director of digital development, BBC News, spoke about how news is being democratised.
He said, “The people formerly known as the audience, the readers, the consumers may now be the sources, the fact-checkers and the opinion makers.”
BBC News, he informed, has embarked on the examination of this changing landscape with ‘Future of News’.
During his closing keynote at the Ad:tech, Montogomery stated how people in power are finding they can speak directly to the public without needing to bother with a reporter’s awkward questions. “Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan and Anand Mahindra have all shown how easy it now is to communicate directly with the public,” he said.
The speaker touched upon the 'misinformation' age during his presentation.
He said, “We live in an age of growing information inequality. Millions of people use the internet every day – yet 60 per cent of the world’s population remains unconnected. The world is dividing into those who seek the news, and a growing number who skim it. Some people search for news, some wait for the news to find them, and some just don’t want to know."
"There is ever more data, more opinion, more freedom of expression, but it’s harder to know what’s really going on," he said. Given the proliferation of paid news, online rumour-mongering, internet trolls, content farms that regurgitate 'without regard for provenance or property', native advertising that masquerades as independent journalism, ad fraud and inflated online metrics, he said agreed with Tim Berners-Lee's statement that the internet is rife with ‘bad information’.
How should new organisations respond to this rapidly changing world? What does this new landscape imply for media owners, advertiser and marketers? 
Montogomery shared what BBC is doing. “The BBC has a publicly declared ambition to double our cross-platform international reach to 500 million people a week by 2022. News will continue to account for the lion’s share of that audience, and much of the growth will come via digital platforms.”
Like all publishers, the BBC’s focus is increasingly on reaching and engaging audiences via social networks.
“All this may mean redefining how we think of news, so that we see it as a service, comprising not just news stories, but also the relevant data, context and information that people need, delivered to fit into their lives. Technology will help provide answers to many of these challenges, but working out what that means and how to implement it in practice will be one of the biggest challenges of all over the coming years. Maintaining high levels of public trust in our journalism will remain as important as ever – as we bring audiences the real story,” Montogomery surmised.
Campaign India

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