My first ZDNet post was in January 2006 in a column discussing “skinny apps” and for the past 16 years I have tried to be ahead of the curve in terms of spotting key trends.
The biggest trend I’ve written about – my biggest obsession – has been the disruption of the business model of the media industry using internet technologies.
I have long recognized that the emergence of the Web is a powerful publishing technology; the development of what has been called Web 2.0 – coupled with the explosive use of blogging technologies – has added powerful additional functionality.
There is a dual use – the computer screen is both the publishing and printing press – this screen can also publish back. This has made possible social media platforms, targeted advertising, and many other aspects of the modern online world as we live in it today.
Advertisers no longer need to rely on newspapers, television or radio to reach potential customers. They can reach out and interact directly with consumers (whether they like it or not).
Lost revenue has resulted in poor quality media and danger to society. While we recognize the need for media professionals, gatekeepers, to police things like hate speech and fake news, it’s something that today’s media companies like Facebook and Twitter cannot. not or do not want to do.
Today, we understand the value of traditional media and how they have moderated public discussions, keeping them civilized and focused. We understand the value of newspapers in preventing access to fake news and the value of high quality, verified reporting.
So why can’t we capture that value and reward it? Why do scam sites filled with fake news get rewarded? Why do we still have no solution?
With all our visionaries and tech geniuses. have we still not developed a technology that can capture the value of high quality media and reward it so that more can be produced?
I realized nearly 20 years ago that the demise of the media industry means that every business has to become a media business to some degree. Journalists used to visit a company and write about its achievements, but there are few journalists left and they are overworked. Companies have been forced to try to produce their own stories about themselves.
However, companies are not well suited to be media companies and they struggle to produce media content of all kinds. Companies struggle with the editorial process. A single paper produced by a company can involve weeks of meetings with stakeholders who can veto it at any time. It’s a terribly inefficient and expensive way to produce media content.
Businesses now have access to incredibly powerful multimedia technologies: for example, they can equip a high-definition video and recording studio at very little cost, including sophisticated software editing tools. But it’s not enough. Businesses still need to produce engaging content on a regular schedule and they need to compete in a world of engaging content – this is why businesses struggle to be media companies and generally do a very poor job.
But companies need to improve as media companies as the disruption of the media industry continues with no solution in sight.
Companies will need to improve in the production and distribution of their own media. Over the past two decades, I’ve shown some of the biggest tech companies – like IBM, Intel, HP, SAP, Tibco, and Infineon – how to be media companies. Change is happening slowly, but it is happening.
“Every business is a media business” is one of the biggest and most disruptive trends in our global society. It’s exciting to be in the midst of such change.
Although this is IMHO my last post here on ZDNet, you can follow some of my work here at Silicon Valley Watcher – at the intersection of technology and media. And pay attention to Every Company is a Media Company: EC=MC – a transformative equation for every business.