Traditional Media’s epic struggle with New Media

Regulating social media’s curation algorithms is symptomatic of Old Media’s demise

Anthony Bardaro
Mar 18, 2016 · 9 min read

  1. Movie studios often sell the rights to their content, maintaining no downstream financial interest in it, which would have unintended consequences & misincentives for something as important as journalism
    I suppose someone might make that argument, but new media has already waded into substantially similar business models with sponsored content, promoted content, and native ads (concerns with which I already dispelled here). Furthermore, as with film production, publishers have a myriad of business models to pursue beyond advertorials — with suitability depending on the nature of their content. Some publishers produce ephemeral news; others yield evergreen content; some do highly-differentiated investigative reporting; others pump-out syndicated current events… and there are infinite shades of grey along the spectrum.
  2. Movie studios have multiple downstream platforms to sell-into (e.g. theaters and networks), maintaining a competitive market for their content relative to publishers being railroaded into Facebook’s monopsony
    Again, archetypal news content is a commodity. Compared to feature films, news is low barrier, low cost, high volume, and therefore low ASP. So, the prototypical movie studio and media publisher are different in this regard. As mentioned in #2 above, there are other genres of content production with different financial profiles, different distribution options, etc. Regardless, there’s an illusion of competition in traditional media anyway. That’s the great lie — the hidden-ball-trick that makes today’s media supply chain seem comparatively decentralized. 6 legacy companies control* a staggering 90% of legacy US media… but we’re going to complain about consolidation of distribution at the hands of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Yahoo, et al?!

The offline to online migration
Dwarfing News, Entertainment owns a massive share of consumers’ attention

“Every really good, really experienced CEO I know shares one important characteristic: They tend to opt for the hard answer to organizational issues… Why? Because they’ve paid the price of management debt, and they would rather not do that again.”
— Ben Horowitz,
The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

In sum, listicles and journalism are not perfect substitutes, but they are competing for the same currency: consumers’ time. Regardless, the time consumers allocate to entertainment hasn’t spiked at the expense of news consumption; our entertainment budget has just been reallocated from offline to online. Same goes for our news consumption (and most other verticals).

See also…

Today’s media doesn’t meet consumers’ wants and needs, so here’s a better way to listen, watch, and read: Annotote

Anthony Bardaro

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“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...” 👉