A couple of interesting threads came together on Stowe Boyd's /Message blog over the weekend. One thread examines the death throes rocking the newspaper industry; the other looks at the social music scene, and how it may impact the traditional radio industry, or "terrestrial radio". In both cases, we're seeing stalwart industries losing revenue rapidly to new forms of media. And they're not alone. CD sales in the U.S. are plummeting as consumers go online to download music, and television networks are struggling with content to maintain advertising rates, scrambling for cheap format programming like game shows and reality tv.
Unfortunately, as an article in the New York Times points out, the growth in online ad revenue is not enough to make up for the losses traditional media are taking, so the prospect of large media companies simply transitioning to online channels is not so rosy. Consider the partnership of NBC and News Corp (FOX's parent company) in that context. YouTube is phenomenally popular, but they're not making money on ads yet. Somehow NBC and News Corp think they're going to be able to leverage their vast pool of advertisers to monetize their vast pool of content online. But let's face it, most of their content just isn't that good, and when consumers are constantly adapting new ways to ditch or tune out commercials, why will it be any different online?
It's nice to know that the media companies aren't taking this all lying down. In fact, they're dreaming up novel new ways to try and keep viewers in front of the commercials. Good luck with that.
The impact for businesses will likely be mixed. Advertisers will have a lot more options and leverage to drive advertising prices down, but they'll have to deal with the uncertainty of new advertising and marketing models, and the slow evolution of metrics to measure performance. That spells a lot of disruption in marketing ranks, forcing marketers to keep up with a stream of new technologies and metric models. Are you already feeling the shift? Where are you placing your bets?