There is little doubt that deep seated technological disruption is introducing new distribution channels at scale and increasing the speed to market required. Consumers and prosumers remain in flux, with local factors – including demographics, content taste, and infrastructures complicating matters.
All of this is painfully obvious to many within media companies, whose recent experiences have included significant shifts in both content creation and consumption. More concerning, from an incumbents’ point of view, is the lack of strategic response. Only 18% of media company leaders strongly agree they have a clear strategy and mission for disruptive technology[i]. How can strategies for the prime agent of change – the consumer- be crafted in such an environment? Many remain caught between two hugely different business models. Clearly the current social media platform and the traditional publisher business model differ significantly, especially with regards to the required revenue per page. It has been suggested that this state of affairs is unsustainable and because of that, offers no long term future for traditional media.
When embarking upon digital transformation, industry executives should be asking themselves whether their plans are sufficiently joined-up or whether they need to become real technology companies or else network orchestrators to succeed in an environment defined by platforms and networks[ii]? Either way, there can be little doubt that large chunks of the media landscape will migrate to platforms, and that the mastery of other platform typologies will be critical in helping them get there. The overall churn and complexity of the industry belies pockets of opportunity and clarity that only a strong data platform can inform.
Platformising operations as well as business offerings represents more than just a technical challenge however. The mental models that underpin the industry, and indeed the very beliefs that have enabled incumbents to thrive in the past (and even recent past) are being upended. What will take their place is up for discussion; in all likelihood we will witness a plethora of successful models albeit with highly uneven demographic and geographic footprints. The losers of tomorrow are altogether easier to spot; reinvention of business models, mental models and operating processes are no longer optional and those that do not realise these imperatives will in all likelihood fail.