Friday, May 11, 2007

End of the retreat: How media is the new way of doing business

Like many a traditional media company, the one I work for has been scratching its head over how to convert revenues as traditional revenues fall and digital ones seem more elusive than we'd like.

It's easy to develop a bit of a siege mentality.

If you're on that side of the wall - here's a message of hope: The retreat is over. The offensive has begun.

Why so positive?

A crucial penny has dropped for me (and if you're a regular reader/contributor to this blog you may well have seen me edging towards it in recent posts, before I worked it out for myself...)
It is this: There is NO business (model) in the world of We Species we now inhabit (see Alan Moore's work at Communities Dominate Brands) which does not benefit from the application of the ideas of We Media.

If all this sounds a little too much like buzzwords gone mad, let me explain.

Not only does my definition of what a Media Brand now is (ie a platform for a community of shared interests) apply to what we think of traditional media plays, it is also equally essential for any business model - full stop.

So the ideas encapsulated in this post 'Does a straightforward transaction site need a social play?' and in this 'A new definition of media brands'. can, indeed MUST, apply to any wannabe business model in this post mass-media/industrial age.

No longer are traditional media companies in retreat - now I see media companies as uniquely positioned to take advantage of the new way of doing business which is emerging from our new community dominated ecology.

In 'A new definition of media brands' I argued:

  • A media brand is a platform for a community with shared interests.
  • Focused on the interests of this community, we should aggregate content and offer services.
  • Services are best delivered at the point they are needed – and that is always, always mobile!
I'll offer this update: "Focused on the interests of this global niche community, we should provide the tools to allow the co-creation and aggregation of content, products and services."

Media companies (and I am deliberately not distinguishing between new media (eg google) and traditional media (eg emap) because I think both have advantages) are uniquely well placed to benefit from the cultural shift towards community (evidenced by social networking etc).

Those with expertise in specialist niches may well be the best positioned of all (and yes, I have to declare an interest here - I am employed by a company with exactly that expertise). They are best suited to activating and engaging the long tail.


1. New media companies are brilliant at connecting (socialising) us digitally, traditional media companies have big audiences to activate. Traditional media companies have tons of insight to help identify the new business opportunities (by which I mean opportunities to help build and join with co-creating communities).

2. Combine this with our experience in building communities (not particularly connected ones in the case of traditional media, but communities none-the-less) and you have a position of significant advantage in the age of constantly-connected communities.

In a new economy dominated by social consumers (prosumers) the niche global community platform creators hold the cards.

As always your views, reactions and suggestions are welcome. Please share below.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?