Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Raining on the PR industry's parade...

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 12, 2007

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make the Outcast PR After Hours party Thursday night because I had four back to back meetings and events. But I managed to catch part of it.

I've worked with Outcast for many years so it was good to see familiar faces. And it was also interesting to hear some feedback on my latest posts about the changing economic models for PR, such as my Wiley E Coyote post.

It was quite clear that I had hit a nerve with many of my PR contacts and hopefully they will have the courage to take our discussion online so we can share it with others. Some took my post very personally, as if I were attacking them by name, which I wasn't. I was pointing out clear economic trends, that's all. That's my training as a financial journalist, to follow the flow of money within industry sectors.

The world has changed for both the media and PR industries, except the media sector is a further along in experiencing the painful disruption of those changes. The PR sector will eventually go through similar painful changes. This is not a welcome message when the PR industry is booming, and hiring like crazy.

PR industry parade

The PR industry is happy because revenues continue to climb 9, 10 per cent and more annually. New media technologies offer PR firms new business opportunities, they aren't viewed as a threat. PR firms charge clients for additional services. New media/social media is a very good add-on business in the PR world.

But when clients realize they can meet their PR goals using new media approaches for far lower costs, then why pay for both? They won't. There many that already don't.

This is a trend that will be played out in different ways by different companies but its overall effect will be the same.

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