There is a statement from Rupert Murdoch about his impressions of Media 2.0. Let me comment between his comments (found here
Rupert Murdoch 05.07.07
Traditional companies are feeling threatened. I say, bring on the changes.
Rather than adapt his traditional businesses, though, he seems anxious to buy himself out of the paradigm change (with acquisitions like myspace). Maybe this will work - maybe it wont.
Everyone knows that networking--once a face-to-face affair, sometimes captured in a Rolodex--is now worldwide, instant, and impervious to constraints of distance, time or cost.
However he has not recognized yet that Networking can not be contained within a walled garden. Myspace can continue to block widgets and architect its site to generate as many page views as possible - but in the end, open and transparent platforms that play nice will win.
Those of us in so-called old media have also learned the hard way what this new meaning of networking spells for our businesses. Media companies don't control the conversation anymore, at least not to the extent that we once did. The big hits of the past were often, if not exactly flukes, then at least the beneficiaries of limited options. Of course a film is going to be a success if it's the only movie available on a Saturday night. Similarly, when three networks divided up a nation of 200 million, life was a lot easier for television executives. And not so very long ago most of the daily newspapers that survived the age of consolidation could count themselves blessed with monopolies in their home cities.
He's using the right rhetoric here - "Big media does not control the conversation anymore". He alludes to the limited choice of the past vs. the hyperchoice of today and tomorrow. How will people make choices amongst this information overload?
All that has changed. Options abound. Fans of small niches can now find new content they could never before. Going elsewhere for news and entertainment is easier and cheaper than ever. And people's expectations of media have undergone a revolution. They are no longer content to be a passive audience; they insist on being participants, on creating their own material and finding others who will want to read, listen and watch.
He knows the language well - does he know its meaning? Participants
don't just know what they want to read, listen and watch - they know they are not a commodity to be traded and disrespected. Just look at the recent Digg fiasco with the hex code. They brought that platform to its knees because they perceived that 'the man' had violated their rights.
The point is not that it's easy to find content elsewhere - to change the channel so to speak - but rather that its actually imperative that users have the ability to mix-and-match content. To personalize their experience. This doesn't mean adding a background to my myspace page - it means using the widgets and content I want on my social networking page, and having the right to share and remix content from Fox.
Participation is not sending in emails and changing background images - it's controlling the medium as well as the message.
Consequently the old media are threatened by the erosion of our traditional profit centers. Certainly we can't count on things like print classified advertising being around forever. Similarly, DVRs undermine the mainstay of broadcast television's business model: the commercial.
Nonetheless, it would be wrong to conclude from this that the age of content is over. On the contrary, people want content more than ever, and there is a role for companies that can provide good stuff--"good" being the operative word. Quality is more important than ever, because the marketplace is more ruthlessly competitive. Options are not merely one click of the remote away; devices undreamed of a few short decades ago are at least as tempting as a change of the channel.
Good content will always been desired and consumed. That doesn't mean we are willing to watch it on your schedule, or even in your container. It doesn't mean we don't want to remix it and share it on our own terms and on our own social networks - networks you don't own.
But what he misses here is that 'Good' is not the only criteria for consumption any more. Good was the way you stood out in the movieplex. Good is no longer good enough. What we need now is relevant - Personally Relevant.
While there will always be the blockbuster - the thing we all talk about around the water cooler (or on the social networks), the next big shift will be getting access to the personal stuff.
A video shot by my daughter on her mobile phone is not 'good' - at least not by Mr Murdoch's standards. It is grainy, low resolution and has 0 production values. But it is Personally Relevant
Old media can survive--and thrive--in this new environment, but they must adapt. We must learn how younger generations of consumers prefer to receive their news and entertainment, and we must meet those expectations.
The good news is that we are learning--and fast. Take the type of media I know best--news. News is in more demand than ever, but the vast network of Internet-savvy news junkies want their news with several fresh twists: constantly updated, relevant to their daily lives, complete with commentary and analysis, and presented in a way that allows them to interact not just with the news but with each other about the news. They won't wait until six o'clock to watch the news on television or until the next morning to read it in isolation. This plainly provides a challenge for news providers but also an opportunity to be far more engaged with the audience.
He's right about all that. But he still seems to think that he can control all these distribution platforms. He still dreams of vertically integrated media production, distribution and monetization models where Fox owns the content, the platform and maybe even the device. Then they own your eyeballs as well.
Companies that take advantage of this new meaning of network and adapt to the expectations of the networked consumer can look forward to a new golden age of media. Far be it from me to suggest that either I or my company have all the answers. No one does. But the future of media is a future of relentless experimentation and innovation, accelerating change, and--for those who embrace the new ways in which consumers are connecting with each other--enormous potential.
Rupert Murdoch is chairman of News Corp.
As long as he remembers that the definition of 'Network' is 'The Internet' - the network of networks. Not the Fox Network.
I have singled Rupert Murdoch out here - only because he has had the vision to engage the issues, so I had his comments to pick on. I actually applaud him for joining the 'conversation'. At least he knows one is going on.
Where are the others guys?