There have been more than a few interesting discussions this week about the old media dying and making making way for the new media. Each discussion concludes with the clear need for established media outlets to embrace change. And fast.
Any media business has two products to sell: its content (to readers and viewers); and its audience (to advertisers). The task for old media is first to protect its advertising revenues by amassing audiences online and, second, to offset their viewers’ intolerance of mass-advertising by making them pay more for content—which they are increasingly willing to do. It will not be easy, but then saving the heroine never was.
While I will not presume to speak for my fellow ‘lopers, I can say that we have been online, in a serious manner, for well over ten years. It’s getting to be that I don’t remember a time when Amazon.com wasn’t part of my everyday shopping experience. I think I downloaded my first e-book in 1998. A few weeks ago, we enjoyed a new episode of Monk on the big screen monitor (which, not surprisingly, has better resolution than our old-school television). I will even admit to downloading a couple of fansubs of Samurai Champloo because I was in dire need of a new anime series. It was the fansubs, by the way, that helped build early buzz for the series’ North American debut.
The record industry went ahead and spent a lot of money and energy not getting it. In fact, as an avid observer of industry efforts, I spent the better part of five years shaking my head in bewilderment. The solution was so simple, yet they rolled out a new partnership, format, initiative, plan, lawsuit, you name it, every few months. While the labels were scrambling to get a clue, the consumers had moved on. The recent demise of record stores like Aron’s may or may not have been inevitable, but the music industry didn’t help matters by continually fighting progress.
As we build the full-featured Medialoper site, we’re looking at the whole entertainment universe. It’s a big place. We think many of the old media companies will adapt to the new atmosphere. Those that won’t will be the ones who, like the music business, don’t get it.