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Something to think about... / blog
Let's talk about media trends

Written by on March 5, 2013

First, a newspaper in Denmark has decided to fire all their dedicated photographers. Arguably it's only two people, but they do it because their journalists should take their own pictures.

It's part of the trend that the equipment we use has now become a common tool. In the past, the audio equipment for radio could only be used and handled by sound engineers. The TV equipment could only be operated by cameramen, and the photos could only be taken by professional photographers.

Now everyone can do it because the equipment in your pocket can do the same as the fancy cameras the press used 10 years ago. The result being that instead of having dedicated people to do one thing, journalists now have to cover all the roles.

BTW: The same is true for brands. In the past, you had to hire expensive ad agencies if you wanted to record a video of your product launch, now you do it yourself.

We can always debate if that changes the quality of journalism. Initially it will be worse, simply because traditional journalists don't have the right skills. But in the future it makes it better because it forces the journalist to think of the whole story first.

Obviously, this is bad news for press photographers, but there is not much we can do about that. When two different job functions merge into one, you either adapt or you lose. Photographers need to think more like journalists, and journalist need to think more like photographers... and if you do that well, you win.

Secondly, an indy film maker in the UK will release their latest movie on gaming consoles instead of via DVD or Cinemas. Nothing surprising here, because that's what digital natives have done for years (think The Guild as a good example).

And this is part of several trends:

  • The trend of multi, in which the traditional step by step distribution no longer works. In the connected world, you want to reach as many as possible, as widely as possible, because that is the only way to create a truly massive viral effect. (...a strategy that is not without its dangers as well). Step-by-step distribution simply destroys the momentum of sharing.
  • The trend of on-demand. We decide when and where.
  • The trend of abundance. In a crowded global market, you have to stand out, and this is one way to do that.

Thirdly, Youtube is growing, but so is its long tail... meaning that while YouTube makes more money, each individual publisher doesn't.

"The big picture for YouTube looks good. The world's biggest video site keeps getting bigger, generating more video views and more ad dollars. Things are fuzzier for some of YouTube's biggest programming partners. Their views are also increasing. But the ad revenue YouTube generates for their stuff isn't keeping pace."

via AllThingsD

This is part of a larger trend affecting everyone in the publishing industry. The world of advertising-funded content is increasingly favoring the platforms and the brands using them... but the individual publishers are faced with the growing problem of increasing ad inventory and a limited revenue stream.

In other words, the long tail is getting longer while the short head is getting smaller.

The solution to this is something YouTube is already working on: Premium YouTube Channels ... which reminds me of a TED video everyone has been sharing the past couple of days:

Overall, what we are seeing right now is that the shift has happened, and the market is scrambling to redefine itself. Old roles and business models are being replaced, merged or changed into new models.

From a business perspective that can be quite scary, but from a trend perspective it's a fascinating transformation, but also a predictable one. The winners will be those who can endure the shift while redefining themselves into what the future will bring (for instance: On demand, multi-distribution, on every channel, on day one = what film makers must do). The loser will be those who simply wait and react. By the time you see the change, it will simply be too late to do anything about it (think Kodak).

There is, however, another problem here... which I'm writing another article about. In the digital world, you can't scale as an individual. You can only scale as a platform.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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