Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Credit Crunch speeds new media revolution

It's time for Change was the slogan used by Barack Obama in his election campaign. And indeed the winds of change are shaking the dust world wide in the wake of the Credit Crunch. Not the change desired by Obama, but change it is. 24/7 Wall Street reports that at least 12 major US newspapers are set for closure in the coming months.

No one working in the media industry will ever have seen a year as bad as 2009 will be. The sharp slide in advertising began in 2008, and, based on the worsening economy, there is no reason to think that advertising will improve. Most Wall St. analysts have predicted a harsh year for the ad business. If the downturn deepens and unemployment rises above 10% most predictions about media, no matter how negative, will have been unexpectedly optimistic.

The outlook might not be this grim here in the Netherlands, but newspapers are having a hard time over here too. Just yesterday I blogged on how Google should compensate it's CO2 emission and touched the subject of lack of innovation in the american automotive industry. I guess this pretty much is the same story.

Traditional newspaper have stayed traditional. Most of the people working at newspapers are old timers, senior reporters and editors who have grown up with the traditional printing press and have switched to digital offset without really changing their process. Currently I see a lot of traditional publishers in the Netherlands clinging on to their outdated ways, trying to get a little bite of the mobile news market and a little bite of the online marketing chunk without wanting to change their own ways. This is lack of innovation.

The credit crunch might be a blessing to shake that old tree (and save a rainforest in the proces) and force the old newspaper industry to innovate. The world of news and information has changed with the arrivel of web 2.0, called the social web, or conversational web by others. The most heard argument in this case is that bloggers are not trained journalists and are living the fastlane without time to do thorough research and taking time to write indepth stories. Well, there are a few out there that prove you wrong. And if that's the case, why not skip daily newspapers and let the bloggers and televesion do the daily news and create more indepth research magazines?

Last year, the Sogeti research insitute, ViNT, published a book called "Me the Media" in which it describes 3 media revolutions:

  1. The First Media Revolution: type letters and printing press
  2. The Second Media Revolution: electronic mass media
  3. The Third Media Revolution: web media

On the website you'll find excerpts of the book in English. A complete English version will be published sometime februari / march. I'll keep you posted.

The industry has grown with the first revolution and survived the second, but now is crumbling under the onslaught of this third media revolution. It was bound to happen sooner or later, the crunch is just the final push to speed up this third media revolution. It neither is Obama nor the Credit Crunch but a driving force called innovation that is bringing about these winds of change.

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