Media companies will need to be more creative to stay afloat this year as production costs increase and advertising revenue declines, writes Madoda Milazi.

A Deloitte technology, media and telecommunications survey released yesterday says the media houses pursuit of a greater online presence might not be the answer to the depressed economy.

It says most titles that have gone online are not close to balancing declines in print revenue with web revenue.

Print media, it said, needed to do some introspection, review sales force incentive structures and ana- lyse the difference between print and online readers.

Alternatively, the online presence could be reduced significantly to drive people back to the physical product, the report said.

Mark Casey, director of Deloitte, said: “We are likely to see the growth of ‘news on demand’, pushed to mobile devices and customised to individual tastes and interests.

“Locally, the regulatory environment in the media industry, which imposes restrictions on newspaper ownership, tends to inhibit natural market forces.”

He said regulators should relax legal restrictions to support the media industry through the current turbulent period and to provide a better platform for growth in the future.

The report forecast that live entertainment and sports would suffer the same fate.

“Tightening sponsorship budgets mean there’s even less money to bankroll extravagantly staged tours or purchase hot new players,” said Casey.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Times's website.