The Changing Media Landscape

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As a follow up to my previous post, I found a very interesting article today by Republican online strategist, Patrick Ruffini, on the evolving landscape of media consumption. (Full Disclosure: Ruffini is a columnist and contributor for Townhall.com, my employer.)

His key point provides some valuable catalyst for corporations needing to re-think how they reach their target market. Remember, its not just print newspapers that are being rendered obsolete. Everything is being transformed right before your eyes–watch for it, or you just might miss it!

Slowly but surely, the marketplace is coming to be dominated by a rising generation unaccustomed to the touch of newsprint at their fingerprints. It’s not just that everything is moving to the Web. It’s that the notion of broadcasting to the masses is dying. The audience used to passively consume content; now they’re information hunter-gatherers, cobbling together a customized diet of information from the Web and their TiVo. To succeed in this environment, your media has to be interesting every time out or the viewer will time-shift to something else. That’s different than the days when your name had to be Dan, Peter, or Tom, and the 6:30 time slot was your megaphone. (Emphasis mine)

My wife and I, for example, don’t even own a television. How, you ask, does a new-media profesional and journalist like me live without a TV? I do with the internet (to be fair, I do have a TV on a news network at the office so I know whats in the news cycle). I consume all my entertainment media whenever I am good-and-ready to consume it. I have a blockbuster online subscription, so I watch my TV shows without commercials and whenever I want (I’m willing to wait a season or two for control of my own schedule). I also enjoy watching current shows through the network’s online video streams (Ugly Betty and Lost are two of our favorites right now…).

It’s easy to say that the Internet is revolutionizing everything. But its progress is uneven and interesting to observe. Camera shops are going the way of the dodo bird thanks to digital photography. Used book stores have unexpectedly gone in the other direction, thanks to a new surge in nationwide net-driven business. Craigslist has revolutionized the classifieds. iTunes may not represent a majority of music sales, but even a small drop in music industry revenue has the major record labels running scared. No industry will be spared, and the advent of ventures like the Politico likely means that traditional newspapers are (finally) next.

It’s a new and exciting world with a lot of possibilities and opportunities for profit. The question for every business in America today is “How are you going to adapt, adjust, and keep up with the changing media landscape?” If you don’t know the answer, find someone who can help you figure it out. Not a web-geek. Not a programer.

You need someone who speaks multiple media-languages AND understand’s the ever-changing technology landscape. Someone like me.

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