The past week has been a momentous one in the media business.
Venerable print publications were sold – or sold off. Tina Brown and Barry Diller sold Newsweek to IBT Media, publisher of the International Business Times, after an unsuccessful attempt to make it a digital magazine sharing resources with The Daily Beast. The New York Times sold off a package of newspapers including the Boston Globe. And in a shocking move – after 80 years of ownership — the Graham family sold the Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for a fraction of its value of only a few years ago.
Media business disruption is old news, even as the events of the last week have brought the issue front and center. In this latest chapter, what are the lessons for online publishers of digital content – regardless of their size?
Which Content Has Real Value that Can Be Monetized?
There’s an old saying that consumers vote with their wallets. In the case of digital media, consumers vote with their eyeballs.
As more content competes for the same number of eyeballs, consumers expect to pay less … or nothing … for the content they consume online. That’s simple economics, which is reflected in the falling ad revenues of online publications.
And yet, even as content consumers want their information free of charge, we also know that consumers are willing to pay for some original digital content. There are sources that attract a disproportionate number of eyeballs, and dollars.
The paywall on Andrew Sullivan’s Dish signals that what lies behind that wall is “worth it.” Nate Silver goes from the NY Times to ESPN, and brings his outsized influence and audience with him.
Even with the proliferation of voices, the cream rises to the top.
The Next Frontier: Better Content Filters
As the supply of online information is expanding, consumers have a greater need for signals and filters that tell them what is worth their time. The magnetic appeal of Buzzfeed or the algorithm that keeps your Facebook newsfeed interesting is the technology that sorts thru all the content competing for your attention and makes the volume manageable.
In the future, how will consumers aggregate, isolate and curate information from the vast quantities that are being created?
We may not know exactly what form it will take, but in a world where all content is not created equal, better filters will allow us to control what we see and consume.
This presents a challenge, and an opportunity, to those with a passion for creating and delivering the news, information and entertainment that consumers desire—and that can be monetized.
The Evolving Face of Journalism: Twitter Turns Seven
As Twitter celebrates its seventh birthday, we are reminded how dramatically the micro-blogging social media site has set news reporting on its ear, heralding a new era of user-created content and citizens breaking news before traditional news organizations.
Tahrir Square and the Boston Marathon bombing are two significant cases in point. Mainstream stories today can come as easily from Gawker and Twitter as from ”traditional” journalists — and quicker than ever before. The traditional news and opinion middlemen have been moved aside by new-style front line publishers – bloggers and corporate content creators.
Somewhere, as we write this, there is an entrepreneurial upstart thinking of new ways to disrupt the current media model yet again, or transform it into something even more compelling and useful for consumers.
Great Content is Not Going Away, but its Package is Changing
Will the next wave of evolution in media come from a big tech company like Google or Facebook, from the big data they have accumulated?
Or, will it come from the tremendous journalistic and marketing firepower of a marquee brand like the New York Times? Or perhaps from a lean, agile start up no one has heard of? Most likely, it will come from all of these. As digital media innovates and evolves, one thing continues to remain clear: Those who are not continually re-imagining what we’re doing in light of an ever-changing environment will be left behind.
From Vine and Vimeo to the “Selfie”and Snapchat: Business Models Evolve
iCopyright was created to develop solutions that take advantage of the power of the vast online network while promoting and protecting the value online publishers create. As the Internet and digital media have evolved, iCopyright has evolved—enhancing our services and developing new ones, such as Discovery and Clip&Copy. Like the rest of the digital media marketplace, we’re not done evolving—and we never will be!
We have some exciting new services in development. As we say in the media business, “Stay tuned. Details after the break.”
Let us know how you are adapting to the evolving media landscape
While you’re here, learn how you can protect your existing digital content from theft with our Discovery™ infringement detection service.