One Thing is Clear

  • “‘All content consumed will be digital…'”
  • “…within 10 years all traditional content will be digital.”
  • “‘There are problems with digital advertising.'”
  • “The old approach of simply trying to replicate a print newspaper online is doomed to fail.”
  • “For media businesses to successfully evolve they must provide the right combination of context and relevance to make a compelling online proposition for consumers.”

All those quotes come from a Guardian article about Steve Ballmer, who was named the Media Person of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. How many times have we heard this stuff? One thing is pretty clear – the tech guys don’t have any answers. Oh right, I guess Ballmer is a media guy. But he doesn’t have any answers either. If the news industry maybe spent some more time thinking about the business model instead of how not to “replicate a print newspaper online” it might be better off today. All the gurus talked about the conversation and citizen journalists, but traditional news companies still get huge traffic. Compelling content doesn’t seem to be the problem right now, it’s how to make money.

Let’s take this idea of not replicating a print newspaper. True, that’s a bad thing, but didn’t Google just get all kinds of plaudits for trying to do just that with Flipper? Flipper, you know, like flipping through pages. Oh, I’m sorry, it’s not like print, it’s a visual representation.

The fact is, no one has any idea how media companies can make money online, although some people have ideas and experimentation has begun.  But the sooner we stop giving press to tech executives and pundits who simply burp out these bromides, the sooner we can all move on.

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