Božo Skoko

PhD Božo Skoko

Božo Skoko is an professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb, where he is head of the Public Relations postgraduate study. His scientific interests are: public relations and communications, international relations, national identity and image, as well as media. He is the co-founder of Millenium promocija, the leading Croatian public relations agency. He is a long-time strategic communications consultant. He is a former journalist and editor with Croatian Television. He is the author of seven books and over seventy scientific papers on public relations, the media and managing the identity and image of Croatia. He is a columnist with the daily newspaper Večernji list.
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Interview with Ekrem Dupanovic for the Media Marketing (Part 2)

SKOKO: What’s the point of thousands of clicks if it’s the audience that won’t open up their purse tomorrow and buy something from you?

Today we bring you the second part of the conversation with prof.dr. Božo Skoko. The first part, published, can be found here.

ED: Everything eventually ends up in some of the media. How is the media scene in Croatia anyway?

Božo Skoko: I dare say that a few years ago the media in Croatia had touched the rock bottom in terms of their professionalism. And then they began to realize that the true path is not sensationalism, populist race for readership, publishing unverified information, cheap bowing down to the government, or some interest groups …

Transformation and major changes have happened. The level of professionalism and credibility is increasing, the media in Croatia are more serious, they are starting to take more account of content, strengthening social responsibility. The higher quality of media is returning.

Obviously, leading the way are Večernji list, Styria and Hanza media, with Jutranji, Slobodna, Globus, Gloria … when it comes to print. All three national TV channels invest heavily in their news programs, there are a number of quality radio stations, specialized portals.

Clearly, there’s still a lot of yellow press, phantom portals, all used to muddy the water or slander someone… But the trends we see here in Croatia are overall positive. However, what I have to observe is the slight gap between content in traditional written media and on portals.

For example, serious daily newspaper produces content that is increasingly better in quality for their print edition, while on the portal they compete with the competitors for clicks, so you can read content that is far from the print standards. When I talk to editors, they often say, “If you want to be competitive on the online market, then you have to fight for clicks, post some eye candy and almost nude pictures to make people click. In newspapers, to keep the readership, we can’t do that. There we have to be serious.”

So there’s a big gap in that segment.

ED: What does this say about the readers?

Božo Skoko: Print media may lose in terms of mass, but will surely have a more serious audience looking for better information. Portals are increasingly present for entertainment and bite-size information, and if people want to only inform themselves via Facebook and social networks they will certainly be more disinformed, since there you have subjective selection.

Serious media out there will have to make a change, and not simply try to warm up to the audience and grab their clicks, but to try to educate the audience for more serious and useful content. I don’t think they have to educate them in ideological or other sense, but they have to change their habits.

After all, the educational component is an important part of the media mission. I am convinced that the truth is not told by those who say that the audience doesn’t want to read serious content. They do.

See how niche profiled portals are faring, who have an audience with which they’ve gained credibility. They are doing great on the market.

I’m following the situation in the west. If you have a niche, credible portal, it has its own permanent audience. It doesn’t have to be measured in hundreds of thousands of people, but if it has a narrowly profiled audience, then it becomes very interesting to advertisers. That’s how they reach a more homogeneous target group.

This tyranny of clicks is a bit irritating, but is unfortunately still the only one relevant. Because if we lure a certain number of readers to click on content, it doesn’t mean they have read it, and even if they have read it, it doesn’t mean they believe it, and even if they believe it, it doesn’t mean they have a high opinion about the author and the portal.

Believing that more clicks means a better medium for advertising is a delusion. That’s just not true.

ED: What would then be your recommendation to advertisers? What should they take into account when choosing a portal on which to advertise?

Božo Skoko: I even did some research on this subject and they confirmed that mass audience does not mean certain success. It’s much better to target audiences that are relevant to a particular product or service, that trusts a certain media and is attached to it.

What do hundreds of thousands of clicks mean if it’s not the audience that will open their wallet tomorrow and buy something from you? It’s better to go to a niche media, which has a specific audience that may be of interest to us, and who believe in this media, which spends more of their time there, and constantly return to it.

So, the future of advertising is in more direct targeting of audiences, not in mass reach, but also in PR, in creation and adjustment of releases for each individual media, depending on their profile and audience.

The interview is available on the link: