What does media and technology convergence mean for marketing?

I went to the Future of Media conference at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business today. It was a fascinating discussion among people on all sides of the media industry, about the changes currently underway in the media space. Some of my key takeaways were:

  • Content has now officially won out over distribution as the most powerful element in the media mix
  • Media brands that were initially tied to amateur-generated content (e.g. YouTube, Facebook) are now carrying so much professionally-generated content they have become primary sources for professional news.
  • Given the explosion in the volume of content due to the popularity of user-generated content, audiences are having a harder and harder time finding the information they want and can trust, thus there is an important role for aggregators/editors as well as creators of content going forward. One of the great lines from David Cohn, founder of spot.us was that “you can be a linker or a thinker, and either path can be successful in the new media.”
  • Quality will remain the key differentiator of content going forward. As the content explosion continues and audiences become more and more overwhelmed by the volume, they will learn to associate certain media brands with quality content, and gravitate to those brands, leaving the unknown or lesser brands behind.
  • Following the current period of chaos and displacement, marketers can expect a whole new world of opportunity in media going forward. That new world will be populated by content developed and edited in both old and new media industries. And it will be powered by the convergence of diverse technologies that we today associate with disparate platforms: broadcast and cable TV, online streaming video, gaming, mobile applications, etc.
  • I’m ready for the new world. Are you?

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