Thursday, April 2, 2009
Attention For Sale
By Dave Morgan
Like many of you, I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how media is transforming -- and trying to understand what this means for the future of the media industry. The Internet, the digitization of media and the explosion of electronic distribution channels are changing the economics of the media industry right before our eyes. At its simplest, media is changing from an industry driven by scarce distribution to one driven by scarce attention. Now that the consumer has so many choices, controlling distribution no longer means that you control audiences. The consumer (or viewer) is the present and future center of the media world.
This is why media companies are suffering from such extraordinary audience fragmentation, having to work so hard to capture audiences and even harder to keep up their ad rates. Certainly, the maintenance of ad rates is also under extraordinary pressure from the current financial crisis. But what I think is clear to most, is that if media companies don't solve their "audience problem" (or "business model" problem) by the time this crisis is over, their businesses will probably be over anyway. Thus, it is critical today for media companies not only to structure their businesses to survive the crisis over the next two or so years, but to structure them to be competitive in what will certainly be significantly altered media landscape that values audience attention, not media distribution. Here's some of what I think folks should expect from this new media reality:
As you can tell, I think that our media future is going to be all about audience attention rather than media distribution. What do you think?
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Dave Morgan is the CEO of Simulmedia. Previously, he founded and ran both TACODA and Real Media.
Online Spin for Thursday, April 2, 2009: