The media business is not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet. When people asked me about my magazine and the economics of that, they were saying why I am in publishing business. Well, that is not my core business, just a hobby. It has been almost three years since the first publication of MISC and readership is growing nicely. We're now in 28 countries and we have have the digital version. I am getting a lot of positive feedback from readers from all over the world. Perhaps I should make the next issue the thickest one. This is the first cover that was shot in Milan. And the next cover will be shot in Shanghai.
The media business is certainly not easy with the never-ending technological disruptions we are experiencing and new behaviors keep evolving, we are nowhere near the end of it. The word social media makes no sense anymore as it is already main stream doesn’t matter how you look at it. Many traditional media types continue to cling to an old way of doing things, based largely on making minor adaptation to existing approaches and some are relentlessly experimenting with finding new revenue stream, largely still through advertising or sponsorship.
There aren’t many new opportunities for business model innovation if you take a strategic view, people are still thinking about advertising or sponsorship. Yahoo and Google are the same. The hybrid model of readers’ empowerment and buttoned-down professional journalism is already fully optimized. Media executives are spending a lot of time thinking about the future of their industry and what it will look like in 2020.
Five years ago everyone is thinking about the online model and suddenly the tablets came and changed everything. And what’s next? Multiple screens device, new interactivity through voice, gestures and more external data sources, and glasses and watches etc. No one knows how content discovery and consumption model will evolve given the abundance of choice consumers have today. Neutrality is probably not the best interest for the media industry.
Media business is still suffering from an identity crisis, at least for another decade. The business model will not change, we will still end up paying for content through transactional, subscription or advertising models although there will be more flexibility on how we purchase them. With every person with a smart phone also has a video camera that can turn them into amateur journalists, news will become real-time and shows us different views of any event. And contextual bits will be consistently updated and events unfold. The Twitters of the world are the instant updates and these short bursts will create more noises than news value and readers need someone to break them down into manageable pieces.
Audience now lives in a multi-screens world. They can choose between raw news and organized news. The three key drivers of mobile disruption are hyper-local (geolocation), integration with home appliances and digital payments. The three together can put mobile at the center of an entirely new ecosystem. It is not merely another form factor. It is the biggest leap forward since writing first arrived about 7,000 years ago, which only impacted a tiny percentage of our population. Word of mouth was the only “information system” for most of humanity and now that will be turbo-charged by mobile as it unlocks an incredibly deep desire and capacity among us (humans) to share personally relevant information and feelings such as “I am waking up happy to a sunny morning” etc. These personal information is competing for attention with other news. And for me, I'd rather be reading what my friends are saying than the news. CNN is depressing.