Can today’s CEO’s cope with or even understand the shifting sands of digital media?

The largest media giants have been taken by surprise as young, empowered entrepreneurs sway the young, tech savvy consumer to social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace.

Although these powerhouse sites, capturing millions of users each day, have begun to overshadow even the major portals, and they have yet to introduce a business model that will wow! Wall Street, it becomes crystal clear that media is now a dynamic and fluid environment that will not bow to the traditional formats.

Keeping pace with almost rapid-fire changes in media delivery channels has the major media brands scrambling to grab their share of the future.

News Corp is still trying to understand what the tiger-by-the-tail, with its MySpace acquisition, is all about. It’s NOT your father’s newspaper anymore!

MTV is looking over its shoulder at YouTube, looking for its own version as it cries “video is our expertise …. We’re looking at acquisitions and builders”. And by the time it makes an investment, we are already onto yet another platform programmed by a few whiz kids in a garage.

With few exceptions, the visionaries in our business have strayed off their path. The next play and the play after that in the digital game is about the consumer …. the ability to easily search a world of information / entertainment and control the way it’s received…. paid or otherwise.

We can wrap the delivery of that information in a fancy package complete with ad messages …. and it will matter less. What will matter is how the commercialization of the delivery channel, whatever it may be, is accepted. That is the Holy Grail that today’s CEOs should keep their eyes on.

Shedding traditional methods can be a difficult and sometimes an impossible task when corporate America needs to be accountable to stockholders breathing down their necks. Most are averse to risk-taking, especially when risk is placed squarely on the shoulders of those who might be half, or even one third the CEOs age. I’ll proffer, however, that clinging to old ways saw the downturn in Newspaper, Magazine and TV revenues and glacial, albeit late, shifts in strategy to downsize the old to make room for the new.

Digital media will displace, not replace, traditional media. It will also play a major role in defining what advertising is and is not.

1 comment:

richm29 said...

There is a Chinese curse that says "May you live in interesting times". It's considered a curse because "interesting times" in history are always full of upheaval, chaos, and destruction. In the advertising world, we are living in interesting times. Interesting, but exciting too.