The biggest disruptor in the digital age is not the technology but the people — this is what the Country Chief Executive Officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Donald Lim believes in. During the inaugural United Print Media Group Talks held at the adobo creative hub, Lim painted a picture of the digital landscape, and talked about how content consumption is dictating where print media is going.
Lim’s stellar career has allowed him to go around the block from print to media buying. From the get-go of his talk, he gave his stand. “I am very pro print.”
Perhaps his first job had something to do with. Lim recalled asking his first employer, the President and CEO of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez to give him a challenge so he was put to sell obituaries and classified ads.
Left: President of the United Print Media Group Barbie Atienza | Right: adobo magazine’s President and Editor-in-Chief Angel Guerrero
Lim recalled going door-to-door selling newspaper spaces to funeral parlors, and bulletin to different companies’ human resources. It was that beginning that gave him the perspective of creating products for specific groups of people.
Soon after that, he took his career to become the CEO of the digital company Yehey! Corporation, and despite numerous warnings from others that he does not know anything about digital, Lim answered, “That’s the future, might as well jump.”
He recounted that in the early 2000s, since there were only a few million users of the Internet and the platforms weren’t as accessible, digital was hardly ever talked about. Now, it has brought on a power shift, enabling content to be created by the masses and not just consumed.
Whereas brands once held the power and dictated everything, consumers today are not waiting for organizations to adjust. They must co-exist and collaborate to create content.
“With digital, it’s the power of the people which means that through collective intelligence, we’re seeing already market shifts, in governments, in brands, in what people choose.”
Print was once an industrial revolution tool at the time when Johannes Gutenberg invented the press, Lim told the audience. Today, digital stands where print has stood before — on the cusp of causing massive disruption and another era of industrial revolution. However, that does not mean that print is obsolete; it is merely changing.
“The reason for our success for the past 65 years will not be the reason for business five years down the line, we have to embrace that reality.”
It now comes to a point, Lim said, for print organizations to choose whether they want to be the platform or the content. If a business is focused on content, they should create so much content and proliferate it in media platforms; but if a business decides to be a platform, they have to invest in the entire back-end development to create a compelling platform.
“If a print organization creates a website, no one goes there. They would go to social networks because that is where the traffic is.”
And for those who deny that the digital age is here and now, Lim said that they need to look no further than their own dinner table to see their kids and grandkids on their gadgets instead of engaging in a conversation. “Gadgets are the modern day pacifiers,” he mused.