Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is Media Bankrupt ?

Has media run out of ways for paying for itself ?

More bad news from the local newspaper industry has led me to wonder if the decline of media is terminal. Commercial TV is a basket case in the UK. All broadcasters are suffering terribly. The only bright spots are taxed TV (public service broadcasting) or premium pay TV (BSkyB).

There has been no perceptible shift to Freeview from Sky or Virgin, but I suspect that this will be a long burn and we will begin to see this becoming an issue. But the decline in advertising is sure to hit Freeview and Freesat as well.

This doomsday scenario is new to TV - the proverbial 'licence to print money' medium. However, they are actually nothing more than everyday problems for other mature businesses. 

The challenge is to improve marketing and 'discovery' - that is find more customers, retain them, and then to develop new revenue streams from them. this is exactly hwat made Google the powerhouse it is (discolsure: my better half is a Google exec). 

Ad agencies and online banner exchanges are a poor way of making money for an Internet TV channel. They are far better off finding a core sponsor, introducing an aggressive ecommerce service and selling ads based on a valuable demographic, perhaps favouring CPA (cost per acquisition) or CPC (costs per conversion) over CPM or CPI.

Marketing media has been a very specific skill over the past decades, but doing this job in the future is going to require a whole new skillset and a different breed of executive.

The stakes are lower, the barriers - and cost of entry - are now a fraction of where they were, but the revenue potential is also very different.

Media isn't bankrupt, but it's going to take a lot to get back the money that has moved to Google. One very consoling fact is that even Google has failed to monetise YouTube...

Media may not be bankrupt, but it needs to change its models..

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