Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recalibration

It's difficult to take stock of the future as it rushes towards you, but there is clearly one outcome that is inevitable: the media industry needs to recalibrate.

A world of dollars has become a world of cents; audiences are more fragmented than ever and there is ever more competition amongst the media.

In the short term this is leaving vacuums - the dailies in Chicago and local TV news in the UK are two examples where provision in dwindling.

The economics of making online pay are also tough; first of all, you need critical mass just to play in the first place. Second, you have to carry the overhead of ad selling, unless you use a third party system like Adwords.

Moreover, there is the problem of funding. Raising cash to build a service is all but impossible, so it either needs to self-fundable or be profitable from the go.

Media is getting cheaper and cheaper to provision thanks to ever improving technology, but content is still expensive to produce, and the cost of acquiring and retaining an audience is an increasing cost.

So, we live in an era when serious recalibration is called for in the media industry.

What does this mean ?

Using technology - an awful lot of technology has already been invented and can be adapted and reused, including the increasing number of online 'codefactories'; sometimes it’s about how you implement existing technologies, or adapt them for new uses.

Keeping content costs to a minimum - this always has to be a balance between using existing sources and finding a unique voice; user generated content is clearly another option.

Building from within a community - using ready-made communities is far easier than building from scratch; indeed, trying to build an audience from scratch will usually be prohibitively expensive - which is why old media largely continues to dominate new media

Get the model right - at the core of every Media 2.0 business will be a model that drives the business - it could be the arbitrage between bandwidth costs and ad revenues, for example. In the future the model is likely to be ever more complex, involving 'layering' or multiple revenue streams.

No comments: