Media outlets must know their audience

A panel discussion on “Reaching for audiences in an oversaturated media environment” was held at the International Center for Children and Youth in Sarajevo, with journalists, media workers and civil society representatives who talked about how the media and journalists reach their audiences, what is the role of technology companies and social networks and whether there is a lack of financial sustainability in the media industry.

Author: Martin Nikolovski / Photo: Vanja Čerimagić

“Managers have to stop making editorial decisions. The editorial policy should be oriented towards what is in the public interest, and not towards what brings most money”, said Galeb Nikačević, former host and music editor of MTV Adria, and former editor of VICE and Noizz. In 2020, Nikačević launched his podcast entitled “Agelast”, which became one of the leading in Serbia, with more than 100,000 followers on YouTube and 200,000 listeners on audio platforms.

Nikačević says that the audience’s habits must change because socio-economic conditions have created bad habits of consuming content.

Sanja Lazić, who works in the field of digital marketing and is a crowdfunding expert in Serbia, shares similar views.

“The media should return to their basis and make a target group of people they address, to see in a little detail who they are, what their values ​​and interests are, and how they spend their time on social networks. Learning and creating content based on the needs of their audience does not mean that they have to replace their mission and vision with what they want to pursue, but let us never forget who we are addressing and in what way”, said Lazić.

Viktor Marković, from, says that young people are not persistent enough and give up easily to achieve success and keep their audience and attract a new one.

“The key is to be persistent even when you think that finding your audience or your success is coming very slowly, and at that point, you have to be persistent and go through that initial part because no one found it right away. I think many young people watch the ultra-successful YouTubers and watch their millions of views, and if they don’t have millions of views right away, they immediately give up”, Marković said.

Goran Igić, journalist and founder of the digital media outlet “Vidi Vaka”, says that if the story is well told, it will keep the audience’s attention. The most important formula, according to him, is honesty and communication.

“Communication with the audience has been lost for a long time. When you build a good and honest relationship with your audience, they will allow you to make mistakes. They will forgive you even if you make a mistake. If your audience is engaged and follows your stories because it shares your values, then it is much easier to break those echo chambers, and then it does not matter how long the story lasts”, Igić said.

The panel discussion was held as part of the regional conference “Solutions and Innovations in Media”, which is organized by Mediacenter Sarajevo and the Citizen Association “Why not”, with the support of the Embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Western Balkans.