Ross Dawson, who runs Future Exploration Network, a global events company that looks at how business is changing, headlined a recent SmartCompany webinar on the seven driving forces changing the media. He talks to AMANDA GOME.
By Amanda Gome
Ross Dawson, who runs Future Exploration Network, a global events company that looks at how business is changing, headlined a recent SmartCompany webinar on the seven driving forces changing the media.
He is happy to answer your questions. Email [email protected] before close of business Friday 11 July.
Amanda Gome: The first major driver is increased media consumption. Is there a limit to how much media a human can consume?
Ross Dawson: The more we can access, the more we can consume. The average media consumption per day could reach 20 hours as we consume multiple media. Humans are media animals and we are really just discovering how natural it is to consume and engage with media content and entertainment.
Technology as been the main enabler of that, and you can now access media anywhere. There is also a growing trend toward partial attention; we are moving to a situation where no one media dictates our full attention. Most common is newspapers and internet, or TV and the internet.
The second major driver is proliferation.
Yes. At the same time as we are consuming more media it is becoming more fragmented. There is a proliferation of media channels emerging – more cable, news, radio, internet, mobile – so even though the media pie increases, media outlets are getting smaller pieces of the pie.
The third driver is participation. When did that trend take hold?
About two years ago there was an explosion of content created by people. We as individuals are putting videos online, spending time in social networks so we are seeing that as part of fragmentation there is more content available created by people who are truly participating.
The fourth driver is personalisation. Do you mean the reader can personalise their own content?
Yes. We have more choice on access to media and how we consume it, when and where and what we can consume, at what time and in what place.
Advertisers are also personalising their advertising to make it relevant to individuals. It will be interesting to see how far it goes because it will depend on the individual’s attitude to privacy. Surveys show many people are not comfortable with targeted advertising, but there is not a strong backlash at this point. It will really be a continuous revolution.
The fifth driver is new revenue models. What are they and what is the biggest challenge for them?
There are many ways new revenue models are emerging from these changes. One of the biggest changes is to advertising sales structures. Companies are aggregating sales advertising and putting them across many places. For example Google sells ads not just online but for print, radio and television.
You can now get others to sell your advertising for you and you don’t need to be concerned with it. The majority of ads are sold that way. You do get a smaller proportion of advertising than if you sold it yourself and you can pay 40% commissions.
It also depends on the size of the company. For example with the long tail, if you have a large audience, it makes sense to sell the ads yourself. But if you are smaller with a smaller audience it will reduce the costs and make revenue with others bearing the costs.
Online is also changing offline. Google is selling ads not just online and we are seeing the aggregator advertising model create new opportunities.
The sixth driver is generational change. What does that mean?
People of a particular generation have consistent patterns on how they consume media over time. For example older people who read newspapers will start to see that it is easier to get news online but will still be consistent in their habits.
What will transform the media landscape? We still have print newspapers but we will start to see more dramatic transformations, for example when print newspapers start to go to digital paper. This has been on the landscape for a while but just now are we getting commercial applications.
The best current example is e-book reader, which is not bendable like a newspaper but it’s the same shape and characteristics.
It is enough of a quality experience to catch on. It uses Kindle technology and you can now subscribe to the New York Times on Kindle. It is working because people like to scan newspapers and headlines but it’s in a digital format.
The seventh is increasing bandwidth
We have already shifted from dial-up to broadband. But with increasing bandwidth we will be able to access any form of content as quickly as we want. When we can see high definition video immediately it will change the media landscape.