March 10, 2010
Folks, please note that this blog has been permanently moved to Forrester Research’s (my employer) blog platform. There will be no further posts on this site. Instead, please visit me at:
where I will cover video, as well as other critical media transition points. See you there!
November 7, 2008
Marc Sands, Director of Marketing at the Guardian newspaper company in the UK spoke at our Forrester Research Consumer Marketing Forum in London on the 7th of November. He came to speak about how media companies have had to give up control of the media — the sources of media content, the analysis of the content they deliver, and the online communities that feed off them.
I introduced myself before Marc’s speech and mentioned that I would be posting a blog entry. In classic British modesty, he appeared uncomfortable with the attention. I misinterpreted this as concern about my blog and asked if he was okay with being blogged live. He responded very quickly and sincerely:
That’s the whole point, isn’t it? We media companies have to give up control over the content. So whether I like it or not doesn’t matter.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Here’s what else I learned from Sands:
- The newspaper isn’t dead, it’s just changing how it adds value. He’s not pretending that newspapers aren’t challenged and the question of where the money will come from looms very large in Sands’s view, but he showed some data about how newspapers are becoming more valuable as sources of analysis rather than daily information. See the clip below for his comments and data. His point isn’t just about newspapers. Rather, he’s emphasizing that all media have to find how they either pursue a niche, or use a multimedia strategy to meet their audience’s different needs.
- One potential side effect of media digitization is the rise of people who don’t consume news at all. Sands reported data on consumers who don’t engage the news at all. He mentioned that as many a tenth (didn’t catch the actual number, sorry) of Americans don’t consume news at all in a typical week. He wondered aloud whether they knew yet that their compatriots had elected a black president.
- The people inclined to say “yes” are the ones who will shape the future. This was a particularly powerful point, especially coming from somone at a newspaper which Sands admits tends due to its political leanings to say “yes” to just about anything (including Ricky Gervais’s hilarious podcast). He said that people who are by nature inclined to say yes to new things will do the most valuable experimentation. As a result, they will end up having a disproportionate impact on the future (my words, his implication). To that I say: “Yes.”
- The media have the luxury of having short development cycles. Media companies can launch new things, new stories, new ideas, quickly. They can also make mistakes quickly (he mentioned the role of citizen journalism to correct news organizations when they fail, such as in the case of Dan Rather vs. George Bush). But, responding to the speech before him from BMW in which the company spoke of 5-7 year development cycles, he added, “at least when we make a mistake, it doesn’t get built in to the body of a car. We can bury our mistakes more quickly and move on.”
October 20, 2008
Just sharing some residual excitement after speaking with Jim Keyes, the CEO of Blockbuster. We recently connected in preparation for Forrester’s Consumer Forum next week. Official forum kickoff is next Tuesday, October 28th, at 8:30am. This year’s forum is in Dallas, at the Gaylord Texan Resort — I’ve never been but I’m told it’s big, in true Texas style.
Jim is speaking before lunch on the opening day of the forum and we recently got together on the phone to talk about the event and his plans for what he’ll share with attendees.
Bottom line: Jim is psyched about a multichannel future. I won’t steal any of his thunder here, but suffice it to say, he understands that we are in a very early stage of a dramatic change in the way people consume media.
And he wants Blockbuster to be in the middle of that. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s also surprising that he has this as his goal at all. I remember talking to retail CEOs in the late 90s, most of whom didn’t understand that their industry was about to be completely revamped. They started dot-com divisions and then guarded their brick and mortar businesses against those dot-coms. It was not pretty.
Fast forward to now, a similar transformation is about to happen to the video industry. We see a lot of early attempts at innovation, from the over-the-top set top boxes to a cool tidbit recently announced by Time Warner in Hawaii where they’ll put Internet connectivity right into the cable company’s digital set top boxes. (By the way, I’m glad they did since I predicted in 2007 that such experimentation would happen by year-end 2008; we were getting close to the deadline there.) But in the end, everywhere access to video will require that single-channel solutions fade into oblivion. Multichannel is the answer, my friend.
Anyway, I look forward to hearing Jim speak, I’ll be interviewing him on stage. If you’re there, say hello. If not, I’ll blog from the event so you can at least get the crumbs from the table…