Traditional media is fading fast as audiences move to the internet for their news, information and entertainment. As revenues drop in traditional media the big question is: How do we make money from this web thing? The traditional business model of huge revenue streams from advertising based on audience numbers (viewers, listeners, subscribers) doesn’t seem to be working on the web because there is so much competition for an audience that can now connect with content from around the globe . Paid subscriptions to content hasn’t worked well either since there is a culture of ‘free’ on the internet. What is needed now is a hero who can come up with a new business model for new media and capture some of that revenue.
Traditional thinking from old media executives isn’t working and won’t work in the future. They have too much invested in the old ways of doing things to invent something totally new and unique. A lot of these folks are smart but they are skilled and talented at keeping something running that someone else created. Now that things are changing, they are lost. What’s needed is innovation, creativity and an outsiders view. For instance, think of the music business a few years ago.
They were losing sales to web based distribution. Remember Napster? Most of this distribution was illegal file sharing and copying, but legal or not, the music business was hurting because consumers wanted a new way to build their play-lists and the record execs weren’t giving it to them. Then along came Steve Jobs – an outsider. Jobs was a computer guy, what did he know about the music business? Apparently enough to make billions of dollars from iPods and iTunes. As well as making lots of money for lots of people he created a new model of recorded music distribution. (BTW: this is business 101 – find out what your customers want and give it to them!) There are a multitude of reasons why iTunes is successful but the key to it’s success was Steve Jobs, who had the vision, creativity and innovation to bring a new solution to the problem. What traditional media and new media need is a savior (or saviors) with vision. Steve Jobs isn’t available so someone else with vision and determination will need to step up with the new business model to make money from new media.
Due to the current economic recession there are a lot of people out of work and pounding the street looking for new opportunities. Some of these people are really smart, creative and innovative. Now that they are unencumbered by their old job they can apply creative thinking to solving problems like generating revenue from new media. During the last recession, companies like Google were born and they thrived. Although a lot of start-ups from the last few years are heading for the dead-pool, some will survive and thrive. New ones will take on the challenges and provide solutions to problems such as monetizing new media on the web. Whoever is going to come up with this new model – hurry up! We’re waiting!