In a recent blog post, I outlined the core disruptions causing the Media Industry to change. Changes to distribution channels and the editorial role, the explosion of content sources, and the use of multi-media over a single dedicated medium have all become realities due to advances in technology and consumer demand. I received a bit of feedback seeking my thoughts regarding how these disruptions have already and will change the media industry.
As I alluded to in my first post, the most critical fallout of all these disruptions is the evolving relationship between content producer, publisher, and distributor. Now that content is more widely accessible and distribution more digital, the role of publisher and distributor seem to be overlapping, if not merging. Both parties are fighting to figure out how to stay relevant and monetize their role while simultaneously ensuring they don’t get squeezed out of the value chain.
In order to remain relevant, publishers must change their thinking. Media is no longer a content-centric industry. It is consumer-centric. The plurality of content sources and technology-enabled aggregators has given consumers the freedom to choose what content they want to consume, when they want to consume it, and through what medium. Additionally, it has allowed consumers to interact with the content, even to the extent of becoming producers of content themselves.
Through collaboration with industry insiders and the experts we have working with our various media clients, I have developed the opinion that the successful publishers of the future will:
- Recognize generic content is becoming more of a commodity and shift the center of their distribution model from content to consumer.
- Differentiate their brand through high-quality content and exclusive relationships with household name producers.
- Recognize the shift in their editorial role and yield their editorial powers to the consumer. The publisher’s role is now one of accurate tagging in order to provide relevancy and weighted suggestion rather than final authority.
- Develop technology platforms to provide access and optimize the use (within the appropriate legal restrictions) of their content for their consumers.
- Embrace open and social platforms in order to integrate their content, brand, and distribution into the fabric of their consumers’ everyday lives. Just like the newspaper used to be the staple of every businessperson’s breakfast routine, publishers must find a routine in their target consumer to be the staple of.
- Realize the financial models of content, editorial, and distribution are changing. Advertising, subscriptions, premium content models, and several others are still being explored and I personally doubt we have found the model for monetization just yet.
Publishers must remain alert and flexible and have the systems ready to easily deploy content in new ways in order to capitalize on the innovation yet to come.
The constant, rapid evolution of technology is forcing key players in the media industry to adopt an unprecedented fluidity in order to remain relevant and monetize their role within the flux. It is not far-fetched to predict that the successful publishers of the future will reflect and embody, at a minimum, the six attributes listed above.