Wednesday, 17 December 2008

6 forces of change in 2009 and media barons

I sometimes think I must be a frustrated "futurist" trapped in the head of a librarian, or maybe I have always being interested in how things interconnect and work in real time. For example, what happens if you push this lever, press that button, or pull that halyard (maybe that is why I like sailing).

Anyway, I was interested to see a post from Ross Dawson titled Six important forces that will shape 2009. Interestingly, Ross says that the economic downturn may actually accelerate the pace of change as business and government looks to emerging technologies to deliver even greater efficiencies.

To summaries the 6 forces of change in 2009 are:

1. Constant partial attention,
2. Half of us expose ourselves; the other half watches,
3. Gen Y wakes up to Gen Z,
4. Outsourcing for the masses,
5. Companies become social, and
6. Media industry shatters.

I certainly recommend you check it out. However further to force number 6 Media industry shatters, there is also two pertinent and interesting items in the December 2008 issue of Vanity Fair. One item is about the Murdochs and Newscorp, and the other is about Bloomberg News.

What makes Bloombergs so interesting, and as a result successful, is that their business model was based from the start around online service delivery. Bloomberg must be doing something right because at a time when so many media conglomerates are shrinking, Bloomberg is growing. For example did you know that "Bloomberg News’s 2,300-person staff is larger than the combined editorial operations of the [New York] Times and The Washington Post, or that included among its 135 bureaus are 30 in the Asia-Pacific region alone, or that Bloomberg had not so much been bucking the industry-wide trend toward contractions as obliterating it." Bloomberg's annual operating profit is also estimated to be more than USD $1.5 billion!

While all may not be well with Bloomberg in the current financial crisis, "Lehman Brothers alone had more than 3,000 subscribers to Bloombergs", the following approach seems to have put them in good stead:

"Every story needed to include “the Five Fs”: first, fastest, factual, final, and future. Leads were to be exactly four paragraphs long, comprising the stating of a theme, a quotation in “plain English from someone who backs up that theme,” numbers-based details that further support it, and an explanation of what’s at stake. The use of “but” was banned—it forced readers “to deal with conflicting ideas in the same sentence.” Words such as “despite” and “however” were to be avoided for the same reason."

I guess this goes to show that if the market sees value in the information they will pay for it.

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