The Old Media Business Model In Ruins: Part II – Electric Boogaloo

The hits keeps on coming. A pretty good summation of our debased, hyper-saturated meme milieu.

It’s now a luxury for a reporter to write a story about an obscure but important topic. That used to be a job requirement. Now it’s a career risk.

Example: let’s say an interesting startup has a new and different idea. Many reporters now won’t touch it because (a) the story won’t generate page views, and (b) few people search on terms germane to that startup. Potential SEO performance is now a key factor in what gets assigned.

Two reporters from two different publications this month both told us the same thing: if you want to write a story on an interesting but obscure topic, you had better feed the beast by writing a second story about the iPad or Facebook or something else that delivers page views and good SEO.

Page view journalism also means that smaller companies will be crowded out by their larger competitors. And with the current media tsunami out there, if you aren’t seen by your potential customers, you don’t exist.

All the more reason why companies must also generate their own media, to make up for the shrinkage of the independent media industry . . . The dirty little secret of journalism’s focus on page views is that the value of each page view is decreasing, because the value of online advertising is decreasing. This means it’s a strategy that will likely lead to failure.

Hard to feel sympathy for any of them. All predicted long ago ad nauseum – convergence, disintermediation, blah, blah, blah. The logical next step? Be prepared for a new campaign. To convince consumers that ‘crowdsourcing’ and ‘likes’ are more reliable and important than actually verifying facts. To which one might ask rightfully, what really would be different from today?


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