The fall and rise of the media industry

hello world_CThe fall and rise of the media industry is happening in front of our eyes, just watch. The speed this is happening in is surprising for all of us. And we have only seen the start of it, so buckle up people, this will hurt. It’s 40 years since it all began and we know the famous message is sent and lit up on a screen to test if the system works: “Hello World” I’m sure some people nowadays just hate those two small words.

The reports are coming from everywhere, decreasing in the daily newspaper circulation and subscriptions, decreasing revenues from advertisements, and in many opinion; decreasing quality. The drop in the last six months of 10,6% , we now have a circulation lower than before Wold War II according the blog Reflections of a Newsosaur, and the blog posting;  Newspapers, the mass-less mass medium  Another  great report “The big Thaw” is worth a deep study.

The media industry isn’t one thing, there are diverse challenges for the film, music and broadcast industry, the publishing industry and the news industry, but the writings on the wall are the same; “transform or vanish!”

Professionals are scared for their jobs, for the future and for their profession. I’m more concerned for the managers and owners. Why? Well we have never spent more time and craved news, knowledge, entertainment in the history of man, and it’s not likely that we will stop now. The profession provides quality to all of this, and we will need people who are able to tell us histories, to teach us stuff also after the fall of mass media as we know it. But the TV producer, the radioman, the journalist could very well end up better than before, more free to do what she wants and reaching out to an audience more interested not only to listen, watch and read, but also participating in the discourse. But she might not work for a paper or TV channel. She might work as a freelancer, at an internet company, at a worldwide dominating search engine company, she might work at a company providing a browser and so  forth.

The media owners and managers are the one that now have started to feel the impact, and where should they go, since nobody need them anymore, and as it seems they refuse to change? That path leads only to one destination R.I.P. on their way it seems like panic, quarrels, politics and a dream of old dead ideas is haunting to many of them.

How will the creation of art, news, entertainment, TV, radio, music and so forth find business models that support sustainable revenue streams? I don’t know, most likely nobody really do, but I have some ideas.

Look for what works today, at the internet and telecom industries. The multitude of revenue streams and the combination of concepts out there today will support also revenuestreams for content production. Just remember that we have seen the end of mass media as we know it. What we are seeing is the mass interaction, the mass creativity and the masses interacting between themselves. My advice for the time being would be to produce once, deliver at as many places and to as many devices you are able to. Make a very clear split between content production and products! Make sure you collect and culture as much knowledge about users, participants and their behavior as you can, that’s your real value. Make a mix of revenue streams, share knowledge in-house and brake any silo thinking in-house you possibly can. And be ready for further change, this is not over, it’s barely began. Take a look at the  at C3 for further understanding of a new media house set up, I’ve been blogging and discussing with the CEO Chuck Peters for quite some time now, and they have done some great work.

I think it’s high time we look at that screen again with the, maybe most important two words in our lifetime; ”Hello World”  and interact with the message and answer back “Hi, Wasup”

One Response to “The fall and rise of the media industry”

  1. Thanks Geir.

    As I say often, and will again tomorrow, to our board and employees, we are just preparing to work. The changes are so great that it has taken more than a year, interrupted by the worst natural disaster (flood) in Iowa’s history, to get the organization and players lined up.

    Now we need to focus on the content repository, so we can create once and publish everywhere, and allow our users to make their own connections. This will require new technology, new tasks and a new culture to go with the new organization.

    We have work to do.

    Chuck

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