Monday 12 April 2010

Marc Reeves on the perpetual new media revolution and the challenges facing the old guard

Former Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves, now launch editor of online business news service TheBusinessDesk West Midlands has good insights into old and new media.
In a new posting on his blog - entitled Media mayhem in the Midlands - he makes some interesting points about how difficult it is for the old media to get to  grips with new media and how quickly web publishing can change.
Marc says: When the rules of the game change, so do the rules of entry: Saddled by decades-long capital  and pensions commitments, old school publishers need to make bigger margins from online publishing than purely online publishers do. Consequently, they find themselves fighting for revenues with one arm and often two legs tied behind their back. The twin demands of shareholder expectation and legacy costs force them to the conclusion that the web ‘doesn’t pay’ as a publishing medium, and all they’re left with is the nothing-left-to-lose strategy of suddenly charging for what has been free since the web was invented 20 years ago. Meanwhile, new-school upstarts (guilty as charged) come along with three smart people, three laptops, an idea, and perhaps even a corner of a serviced office, and fulfil a need for information and advertising at a fraction of the cost.
Any  new ‘old guard’ will be swept away in the blink of an eye: Anyone comfortably settling themselves in for a long career as ‘web publisher’ had better get real. Print monopolies may have lived high on the hog for a couple of hundred years or so, but the equivalent timespan in web publishing is measured in months.
And this is the real problem for the ‘old guard’. When they eventually get what the internet really means for their business, they’ll be seduced into thinking they’ve swapped the old certainties of print for the new certainties of digital....The new ‘normality’ is anything but. Perpetual revolution and reinvention are the only new constants in the media now. "

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