A remarkable speech about the future of media

October 14, 2009

Thanks to Twitter and Breaking News On, I was alerted to this speech in Melbourne, Australia by ABC boss Mark Scott (that is ABC in Australian Broadcasting Corporation) about the future of media. While this might be seen as a bit of a catfight between Australian media barons in the way that Scott takes on global media baron Rupert Murdoch, the more important point is the insight Mr. Scott provides about the future of media.

A few highlights that I took from it for those who may not want to read it all:

– the fall of the media is likened to the decline and fall of Rome–with allusions to Gibbons’ recounting of it vs. Auden’s.

– the empire is gone for good and will never come back–despite the maybe desperate hopes of the old emperors such as Murdoch

– the media empires such as Washington Post who invested outside of traditional media have done well while those focused on traditional print media have been hurt such as New York Times

-He summarized the dilemma of the heavily invested mainstream media well: Everywhere now, the scramble is on. To win in online, to give the audiences what they want and when they want it. But it is hard when there is still so much left to lose. When you’ve spent so much getting to where you are: those presses and those trucks; the cost of your TV licence and your broadcast systems. When newspaper advertising still brings in ten times what advertising online does. When audiences watching your catchup services are far less valuable than those watching when you broadcast on television.

His suggestions for survival:

1) Know that the rules have changed.
2) Stay on top of technology change (ABC embraced Twitter even while uncertain if it is a fad waiting to fade)
3) Empower audiences to contribute–facilitator rather than content provider
4) Protect assets through diversification–accept that the money in providing content may simply not be there
5) Understand that an organization’s culture may be the biggest obstacle to change

An excellent analysis by someone in the media who is thinking clearly and realistically.

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2 Responses to “A remarkable speech about the future of media”

  1. Joe Espana Says:

    I thought this was a great piece and very interesting perspective. The point that stood out for me the most is item 5. The need to understand that culture is the greatest obstacle to change. This is such a fundamental point. In all our work and research we have found that organisational culture is by far the biggest and most important moderator of actually achieving an organisations stated strategic ambitions.

    So much so, that it effects all the other 4 points listed in the article. For mor information and to get a free copy of a whitepaper we wrote recently on the subject. Please get in touch.

  2. Andy Bailey Says:

    Gerald,

    Your story above reminds me of the following quote from Eric Hoffer:

    “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”


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