No echo chamber here

Mack Collier, Valeria Maltoni, CK, Gavin Heaton, Toby Bloomberg and Mark Goren were so kind to answer my interviews. Among the 6 questions, I asked what was the next big challenge for media owners and there is (fortunately) no unanimity around this particular question. Of course, the concept of media owner is quiet vague and can embrace different realities (from right owners to portal sites and broadcasters). But, according to my fellow bloggers, the challenges for the media industry are multiple:

Distribution

“Coming to grips with the faxt that it’s difficult to control distribution online, and usually makes bad business sense to try to anyway” (Mack)

User generated content

“Staying fresh and relevant. And understanding that co-creation and content generation can be a company’s most valuable assets” (Valeria)

“Media owners need to understand when they “let go,” or share, it is then that they are engaging and truly building bonds with their customers” (CK)

Strategies

“The challenge then becomes: what does your target audience really want, what is right for the brand and what is doable with your resources (time, money and people). Once you answer those questions (which marketers have always asked) the next challenge is how to form a cohesive, integrated strategy” (Toby)

Measurement

“We keep trying to cobble old metrics onto new marketing channels and they simply don’t apply. The organisation that figures out how to measure the impact of online media on key business metrics will reap massive rewards” (Gavin)

Revenues

“their biggest challenge lies in figuring out how to make their online ad revenues higher than their print edition ad revenues so they become less dependent on the broken model of traditional advertising” (Mark)

And of course, relevance of the content 

Even if they are pretty different, I’m affraid (for the media owners) that all of the opinions above are totally correct

So basically, if I summarize, the media owners have to reinvent their whole value chain: With new revenues as goal: Understand the specificity of the online audience, develop new strategies for this audience, develop engagement tactics, remain very reactive, cope with DRM, reinvent their distribution and sales models and adopt new metrics.

I even could add some other challenges: the end of information scarcity, the declining importance of pageviews, the need to develop competitive video strategies, the technology evolution requiring permanent trainings and investments, the search engine optimisation and the fact that they need to learn to cope with the syndication models and… be unique.

Let’s meditate on this (creepy) Harold Wilson quote: “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetary”

5 Responses to “No echo chamber here”

  1. nicholas gill Says:

    The scary quote is right that we have to shift with the times. The difficulty is shifting from evangalising to delivering proof points. It’s a similar situation to when direct mail became the “next big thing” and there was, at first, huge resistance. That eventually proved itself as delivering returns and spawned the “loyalty” brigade. We’re now moving into co-creation where the entry points are lower but the perceived risks are higher for people who have spent 20+ years building their brands. The resistance to letting people into that is a large barrier to overcome and from a media perspective the off the shelf media plan no longer works. The fragmentation/atomisation of the web makes targetting and distribution a hugely different ballgame.

  2. Valeria Maltoni Says:

    Philippe:

    I would recommend staying responsive vs. reactive. What is happening online is more two ways, yet it may still be a far cry from being a conversation. For one, only a fraction of the public and population is online. And that fraction is the slice of market more into what’s next.

    Maybe it’s just the use of words, I prefer to think of being responsive to issues, with the understanding that a response may also be that we feel we’re on track with our stated purpose and goals. Response is more grounded on values and feels more centered on proactive engagement.

    And to Nicholas’ point — I thought that brands were always co-owned. We put out a message with personality and POV, our customers buy into it and modify it according to their needs and wants.

    Perhaps the barrier is more one of measurement. If we cannot prove that what we’re doing is working, our boss thinks we should go back to the old, proven, ways. Just thinking out loud here.

  3. CK Says:

    “He who rejects change is the architect of decay.”

    My father told me “Fear obsolesence, kid”. It was the greatest lesson he’s taught me in embracing change (then again, we moved all the time and I hop from project to project so change is ‘regular’ to me, stability is anything but normal and freaks me out). Many co’s get so scared and yet I find these disruptions exhilirating…that’s why in my interview I said that on the other side of fear is a “bevy of opportunity”.

    I should however, be transparent in saying that my Dad first told me core lesson when I was 10. So I had a heck of a time looking up the word “obsolescence” but I managed to understand the lesson over time😉.

  4. Toby Says:

    Philippe – Love the way you framed this question and pulled the responses together. One element that we didn’t mention, but I think all have alluded to is “courage.” It takes courage to go where no man – or woman – has gone before and in doing so to change an organization’s culture.

  5. Philippe Says:

    Thanks for all those great comments.
    About change, I liked the Marc Bresseel quote: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” (look in the rearview mirror all the evolutions of the last ten years, it’s amazing)
    Nicholas: proof is the pain point indeed even if we can present facts, there are also counterfacts proving the conservatism of most consumer.
    Valeria: I like the difference you make between reactivity and responsiveness. In my understanding, reactivity is sometimes a panic reaction
    CK: I learned the meaning of obsolot in a twilight zone episode🙂
    Toby: Yes, you’re right about courage. In my post, I stated that “be unique” was a challenge and you need courage to dare to be unique.

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