The Big Thaw


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The below slide show is a compendium to The Big Thaw. We pulled out the most thought-provoking information and implications for independent media, including:

* The four overarching questions that media orgs/journalists need to address in order to thrive in coming years.
* A breakdown of current industry changes, future realities and their implications for independent media.
* Graphs of journalism's old and new value chain.
* Four key recommendations for independent media outlets to explore as they plan for the future.

Published in: News & Politics, Business
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  • The Big Thaw

    1. 1. Written by Tony Deifell, Q Media Labs | Produced by The Media Consortium
    2. 2. <ul><li>As traditional business and editorial models melt away, new innovations are rapidly reforming journalism. </li></ul> There is a strategic dissonance between the old ways of working and quickly changing industry realities. Can independent media producers adapt and lead, or will they disappear as we move out of journalism’s Ice Age?
    3. 3. Strategic recognition: Old ways of thinking can limit media organizations’ chances of survival. Small moves prevent organizations from choosing entirely new strategies and developing new competencies quickly enough to remain relevant.
    4. 4. <ul><li>“ The stakes are very high for independent media. Will it change? Or, will it atrophy? Independent media can become the dominant media in society. Who would have dreamed that 30 years ago?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Any media organization that wants to survive must address four issues :
    6. 6. New & Emerging Realities This chart pinpoints key industry changes that are shaping tomorrow’s media.
    7. 7. New Competitive Landscape How is the landscape changing? Device proliferation and convergence Convergence is not only about creating different content for different platforms, but also about enabling people to easily consume and share any type of content using any platform. The Big Thaw, Vol. 2, Ch. 1, p5 Changing Demographics Attitudes about diversity are changing in the United States… Shifting demographics create both challenges and opportunities for content producers. Different groups use media in different ways. Vol. 2, Ch. 1, p7
    8. 8. New Competitive Landscape continued How is the landscape changing? Mirage of The Long Tail Successful long-tail strategies hinge on companies’ ability to provide a large scale of niche products at little to no distribution costs…In other words, it mostly serves big corporations that can distribute massive amounts of content, not independent producers who create the content. We need to get past the Long Tail in order to develop tomorrow’s successful business models. Vol. 2, Ch. 1, p11 POPULARITY INVENTORY (media content properties/stories) Long Tail Tall Head 80% 20%
    9. 9. New Distinctive Competencies What new capabilities are needed to succeed? Getting serious about community The ability to “cover” the news objectively is no longer the most valuable key competency. Building active communities among users is exponentially growing in value. Vol. 2, Ch. 2, p16 Strategic technology “ Many organizations only see one piece of the puzzle and want to do small experiments—hire an intern and a few people here and there—without seeing how that impacts the rest of the media,” says Ashish Soni, Director of Information Technology at the University of Southern California. “People who do have knowledge of the other pieces of the puzzle can do real systemic innovation, and this is the highest area to impact.” Vol. 2, Ch. 2, p18
    10. 10. New Distinctive Competencies continued What new capabilities are needed to succeed? Shifting roles New roles include “Journalpreneurs” (journalist-entrepreneurs), who integrate best practices from business and technology with journalism’s public-interest mission… By integrating Journalpreneurs, media organizations can build a broader, more diverse ecosystem of people who produce content in non-traditional and entrepreneurial ways. Vol.2, Ch. 2, p22-3
    11. 11. New Sources of Value What needs can be met, problems solved or desires fulfilled? Solving filter failure News will likely become even more fragmented and granular than it is now. Users will increasingly turn to curators. The media organizations that solve filter failure information will most likely succeed in the future. Independent media has more power to solve this problem by sharing data and working together. Vol. 2, Ch. 2, p16
    12. 12. New Sources of Value continued What needs can be met, problems solved or desires fulfilled? The puzzle for independent media is how to harness the breadth of the sector and the depth of individual communities simultaneously. Vol. 2, Ch. 3, p30-1 From audiences to communities Communities are often defined by depth —a measure of participation, identity, interest and expertise—all of which build a sense of loyalty and shared ownership. Scaling up independent media projects is largely a question of breadth : Geographical reach, aggregation of “niche” communities, membership size or number of links to a site… When it comes to viral marketing, it is the breadth of a network that amplifies content.
    13. 13. New Business Models How are media organizations structured to capture value? Emerging revenue models Philanthropy has been the most prevalent model for many independent media organizations, although this source of revenue alone is often insufficient. Other possible models include creating additional channels of distribution, combining free and premium content, tapping user subsidies, utilizing news as a “loss leader” to generate funds and sharing revenue with content producers. Increasingly, for-profit and non-profit publishers alike will grow strongest with a greater mix of these revenue streams. Vol. 2, Ch. 4, p33
    14. 14. <ul><li>Getting more from advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Three opportunities stand out for getting more from online advertising: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build the capacity for constant innovation. Online ad products are not static; new types of ads that attract advertisers will continually emerge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiment with “performance-based” ads. From 2006 to 2008, the proportion of total online ad revenue for display ads declined from 48 to 39%, while performance ads increased from 47 to 57%. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiplatform sponsorship. By combining online, print, TV, radio, co-sponsored events and online advertising in a packaged deal, media organizations can build advertising relationships that will contribute more to their bottom line. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vol. 2, Ch. 4, p37-8 </li></ul>New Business Models continued How are media organizations structured to capture value?
    15. 15. <ul><li>“ Most people assume that the future is something to be predicted rather than created. The future does not simply happen to us; we shape it. ” </li></ul><ul><li>Donella H. Meadows, Global Citizen </li></ul>
    16. 16. The Future? This chart outlines coming trends that will shape the next generation of media.
    17. 17. Competitive Landscape How will the landscape change? Mass mobile-media Although the use of mobile phones has reached unprecedented levels worldwide, full integration with the web has barely started. If independent media helps more people use the media-making power in their pockets, they will revolutionize journalism. Vol. 3, p12-13 Multisensory web Journalism has treated online media as a “horseless carriage” rather than reimagining a new form of journalism suitable for a multifaceted, converging web... If radical steps are not taken to keep up with early innovations, the gap between media production and how people relate to information will become even greater. Vol. 3, p13
    18. 18. Distinctive Competencies What new capabilities will be needed to succeed? Human-centered design The next online frontier is how technology adapts to us. When companies are disrupted by new technologies or demographic shifts, their problems still have people at their heart. Media-makers cannot understand users by simply embracing new online tools and demographic realities. According to Amy Gahran of the Poynter Institute, journalists need to, “find tools to work the way the brain works and mirror how people interact in the world and with each other.” With a better understanding of the mind, journalism organizations could design the next generation of news distribution systems and collaboration platforms. Vol. 3, p14-15
    19. 19. Sources of Value What needs can be met, problems solved or desires fulfilled? Radical new ways of meaning-making and filtering The next phase of filtering will center on the evolution of the “Semantic Web,” an interactivity evolution that will make information more meaningful and useful. The evolution of the Semantic Web depends on how we organize and structure information online, how pieces of information relate to one another, and how we relate to it all. Vol. 3, p17
    20. 20. Business Models How will media organizations be structured to capture value? Journalism’s value chain A “value chain” is a chain of activities that add value to a product or service. The financial success of any business model depends on the organization’s ability to capture value. This chain is delineated with clear roles and exchanges of value. Vol. 3, p20
    21. 21. Journalism’s Old Value Chain writing/ producing publishing & broadcasting distributing Content owners Paid marketing, sales & fundraising staff Paid suppliers consuming Subscription Single-pay Public radio/TV Granted broadcast licenses Nonprofits granted tax breaks selling other products philanthropy or government creative agencies advertiser media planning & buying
    22. 22. What is changing in the new value chain? Since the market is still forming the new value chain, independent media can work together to experiment with new models. <ul><li>Organizations can use the value chain to explore strategic questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What role do we play in the value chain now? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where could our role become most valuable ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it best to focus primarily on one role or integrate many roles at once? </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Each link in the blue value chain represents a role. Organizations can play multiple roles. New value chain (working model) Green represents funds or subsidy support Source: compiled from interviews. The new value chain is a working model based on observed industry dynamics. combining & sharing writing/ producing retrieving & storing publishing Search Discovery Cloud Computing E-readers connecting Social Community Conversational marketing In-person events impacting Social change Policy change distributing/aggregating Offline & online Convergence (cross platforms & devices) Content owners “ Conceptual Scoops” Increasingly includes “Journalpreneurs” Content owners “ Conceptual Scoops” consuming Subscription & Single-pay Micropayments selling other products philanthropy or government advertising (disintermediation of advertiser, agencies & media buyers) volunteer & open-source labor
    24. 24. News organizations are facing flash floods. Many are in sudden-death, wilderness survival mode. Media organizations must answer two questions in order to survive… “ What will you be standing on when the flood reaches you?” “ How will you boldly move to higher ground?”
    25. 25. <ul><li>To reach higher ground… </li></ul><ul><li>… Independent media organizations and media networks must make four decisive moves to survive. </li></ul>
    26. 26. II I IV III Big Thaw Recommendations: Four Decisive Moves CHANGE INTERNALLY New models will most likely come from new players. INCREASE EXPERIMENTATION Greater experimentation will win. LEVERAGE UNIQUE ROLE OF CONSORITUM Standing together will be more valuable than working alone. BUILDING AUDIENCES AS COMMUNITIES Decentralized communities will create the greatest impact. Changing internally Increasing experimentation Building audiences as communities Leveraging unique role of a consortium Vol. 1, p5
    27. 27. <ul><li>TMC members and other independent media organizations can use these recommendations to imagine many “ What ifs? ” </li></ul>Together, we can plan for a better future. The Big Thaw is a guide to chart the course.
    28. 28. What if… we evolved our composition to reflect the emerging field ? Increasing experimentation II Changing internally I Building audiences as communities IV Leveraging unique role of a consortium III What if? Key questions for organizational strategic development See The Big Thaw for complete list of “What If’s?” What if… we helped shape how public policy governs access? What if… we actively coordinated “deal-making”? What if… we standardized raw data, metadata & metrics ? What if… we collectively tested new revenue models? What if… we joined early in technology experiments? What if… we retooled journalists? What if… we mounted a concerted effort to go global? . What if… we made it easier to deepen communities at a larger scale? .
    29. 29. The Media Consortium is a network of the country’s leading, progressive, independent media outlets. Our mission is to amplify independent media’s voice, increase our collective clout, leverage our current audience and reach new ones. We believe it is possible and necessary to seize the current moment and change the debate in this country. Download your copy of this study at: Photography credits: Slides 2, 4 and 18 by ricardo.martins ; slide 7 by fatcontroller ; slide 9 by lumaxart ; slide 12 by INTVGene ; slide 13 by kevincollins ; slide 19 by cybershotking slides 11 and 20 by Matito ; slides 21 and 23 by Steve & Jemma Copley via Flickr with a Creative Commons license. Cover design: Lindsay Jane.