The Struggle to Stay Afloat: Rescuing Online Media Through Reader-Centric Innovation

Abang Edwin SA
3 min readMay 6, 2024
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

The news hit me hard — the DailySocial, a promising digital news outlet run by my friends, had laid off its entire workforce. As someone deeply passionate about journalism, each setback in the industry felt like a personal blow.

The Digital Disruption

It’s no secret that online media has been grappling with seismic shifts. Declining ad revenue, competition from tech giants, and evolving reader habits have made survival an uphill battle. The DailySocial’s drastic move was a sobering reminder of these challenges.

According to other online media reports, Rama Mamuaya, the DailySocial’s CEO, stated, “We’re not closing, at least not yet, but we had to let everyone go while we re-evaluate our path forward.”

The Pursuit of Relevance

As I consoled friends at DailySocial, I couldn’t help but reflect on the countless industry conversations about online media’s future. One recurring theme: the need to adapt to evolving reader preferences and consumption patterns.

It was clear the traditional website model, relying solely on display ads, wasn’t enough. Readers were gravitating towards bite-sized, interactive content on platforms seamlessly integrated into their lives.

A Shift in Strategy

Determined to craft a solution, I began exploring aligning online media with these shifting preferences. Through research and expert interviews, a new approach emerged.

“It’s not just trend-chasing,” explained Sarah, a seasoned digital consultant. “It’s understanding your audience’s needs and tailoring your content and distribution strategy accordingly.”

The Path Forward

I envisioned a multi-pronged approach for recapturing audience attention:

  1. Platform Diversification: Embrace a multi-platform presence beyond just websites — leverage social media, messaging apps, AR/VR, and more.
  2. Format Experimentation: Text alone may not suffice. Incorporate video, podcasts, interactive storytelling, and immersive experiences.
  3. Personalization and Niche Focus: Leverage data to offer personalized, niche content fostering deeper audience connections.
  4. Revenue Diversification: Explore alternative income like subscriptions, e-commerce, branded content — reducing ad reliance.
  5. Continuous Innovation: Constantly experiment with new tech, formats, and distribution to stay relevant.

A Glimmer of Hope

As I shared these insights, a glimmer of hope emerged for the DailySocial team. While daunting, embracing a reader-centric approach offered a path forward.

The DailySocial had not closed its doors yet, but the workforce layoffs underscored the urgency to reimagine their strategy. The media as a whole were determined to re-evaluate and reposition the platform to align with evolving reader behaviors.

In an age of content abundance and limited attention, the online media outlets that innovate and consistently deliver value may be the survivors — and perhaps even thrive.

The online media’s future remained uncertain, but their willingness to evolve gave them a fighting chance amid the disruption reshaping the industry.

If you found this article useful, please leave a comment, subscribe to my feed, share it with your friends and colleagues or simply give the article a clap or buy me a coffee. Your support is what keeps me motivated to create more high-quality content. Together, we can continue to learn and discover new things. Thank you for being a part of my community!



Abang Edwin SA

Observer, Content Creator, Blogger (Obviously), Ghostwriter, Design Thinker, Trainer and also Lecturer for Product Design Dept at Podomoro University