Thursday, April 21, 2016

The hurt is spreading

The media landscape continues to shift, and this NY Times article describes what the news sites are dealing with now: a decline in audience that is attributed to those audiences being siphoned off by apps and social platforms:

It is a sad and yet familiar scenario, although this time some of the players are different – instead of the mass magazines like Newsweek and US News & World Report struggling (and then morphing into radically different products like “Best Colleges,” “Best Hospitals,” in print and online, etc.), the publishers noted this time are sites like GigaOm and BuzzFeed. A staggering statistic from the article: “In the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising will go to Google or Facebook, said Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst.” And, now that Facebook has opened up Instant Articles to all publishers instead of just a handful, one would have to believe that the trend will continue. 

I so sympathize with these publishers….the other quote that struck me was “With each turn of the screw, people begin to realize, viscerally, that this is what it feels like to not be in control of your destiny.” I know that feeling! As so much print spending has gone to digital, we have not been in control of our destiny and have had to focus on operational efficiency, idea generation, etc. I think we have been able to do some cool, impactful things for our clients, but it is really hard work year after year to do more with less. I also think that it’s a fun time to be in this business and watch everything change.

And clearly, Zuckerberg is feeling the pinch too – they are afraid of the “Context Collapse” and what that will do to Facebook’s business….so he has diversified his holdings (with Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp) as well to make sure he has a stake in the ground on every front in the social arena. He also bought Oculus Rift, and, since he has made what I think are some really good bets so far, I think this business of media and social and digital and marketing is going to get even more interesting in the next five years. I don’t know anything about that arena, so am looking forward to exploring it tomorrow in class!

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