As someone who grew up in the newspaper business, it's been sad to watch newspapers stumble by focusing on the distribution strategy of putting ink on paper instead of thinking about the relationship with their customers and delivering information the way they want it delivered. To that effect, last year I wrote:
Most traditional media companies take a tactical approach when thinking about the rapid changes that are occurring. Most media companies today are looking outward trying to figure out how to find new technologies, like podcasts or blogs, which can be bolted on to their current media products, acting defensively to protect their current business model.
Unfortunately, the marketplace is too dynamic for such a tactical approach. These times demand that media companies rethink their core values, being medium agnostic and focusing on strategically shifting their business models. Media companies must recognize that their mission is to facilitate a dialogue for their community members including readers, advertisers and retailers. In essence, setting a community table where all members of a community are invited to participate in the dialogue.
It is in these relationships where real value lies. With a community, co-creative perspective it matters not in what form the dialogue appears or in what direction the information flows.
In a world were there are too many sources of media all of us, as consumers, deeply desire a trusted editor that can make sense of the changing world and deliver the information we need to be a part of a community in a form that we want whether that be a magazine, website, blog, podcast, or vblog delivered via cell phone. The big question is: how can traditional media companies shift their paradigm to become a community facilitator?
I was very hopeful when reading Eric Pfannier's story about Shibsted.
One reason Schibsted might have been able to shift gears so quickly was that some of its top managers were from outside the newspaper business, including several executives hired from McKinsey, the consulting firm. Instead of being wedded to print, analysts said, they were willing to cannibalize existing businesses to develop new ones on the Internet.