Traditionally, when we think of media we think of newspapers and magazines (or print media); radio and television (or broadcast media.) All the traditional media provide platforms for delivery of relevant content and are usually monetized by selling advertising.
With the widespread use of the Internet we saw the advent of new media: Amateur journalists leading the way with blogs and podcasts. With the widespread use of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook we are experiencing a paradigm shift concerning the way news is reported and published. News is still a commodity but the perspective’s of the citizens has now become the draw. And this shift is wreaking havoc within the hallowed halls of media moguls who are trying to figure out how to make the transition.
One such noted mogul is Rubert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp publisher of the Wall Street Journal recently had this to say: WSJ.com, which already has a well-entrenched pay model and more than 1 million online subscribers, is the beacon for finding ways to help other News Corp. newspapers charge for content. While too niche to be a template for say, the New York Post or some of the UK papers, how the technical and partnership issues are resolved for the WSJ should have resonance for the company-wide workgroup charged with reducing News Corp.‘s reliance on advertising.
Murdoch apparently doesn’t get it. Everyday we’re seeing newspapers going out of business; still, the media moguls think that consumers can be persuaded to pay for news. Trying to impose an outdated model in response to a revolutionary development seems foolish – especially, with access to relevant, current new now being provided from an abundance of free sources. There has to be a better way.
Is There An Alternative Model?
Consider the convergence of journalism, business innovation and education:
- If news is free then one must look at new methods that not only monetizes news but engaged citizens to create new meaning from the news. Creating new value from the news requires a participatory process to gain different perspectives and uncontrolled feedback. For instance, if the news suggest the economy is bad then could the citizens suggest a innovation way to stimulate the economy? If there was a vetting process for identifying new knowledge created from the collaboration of the masses then just maybe the process would create new value. Value creation is a process worthy of an exchange of currency. The world of journalism has shifted to the markets of conversations. The new model for journalist is to vet through the conversations and find perspectives, ideas and opportunities for markets to find alternative ways to create more economic value.
- Business lives on the creation of value that is consumed by buyers. If social media could be organized and vetted by industry, topics, geography and aimed at innovation then the value of relative conversations could be monetized. The monetization of ideas in the old models came from venture capital and institutional investments in innovation aimed at creating a “return on ideas”.
- Our educational system is based on a model of transferring knowledge into the minds of participants. The participants then applied the knowledge within the companies that hired them. Some took the knowledge gained and created their own company, their own innovation and subsequently competed in the open market of consumer desires and needs. A few took the knowledge and created significant innovation that subsequently created billions in currency. Heard of Google, Microsoft to name a few?
Ideas used to be created and funneled by the few but now opportunity to tap into the minds and hearts of millions participating in social media exist for innovators of media. Within the rivers of conversations lies a new currency. The currency is the conversion of conversations into innovation which transforms old markets, old problems and old models that came from the industrial era. In order to monetize media then the participants need to transform the advertising model into a model of value creation from the currency of conversations. What business won’t sponsor or pay for a model that fuels their product or service innovations that serves the need of existing markets or the creation of new markets?
Advertising is an old model aimed at capturing attention, awareness, affinity and an action from an audience. The “conversational currency model” is more about engaging the masses to help organization solve problems and create innovation that in turn creates more value wanting to be consumed. This model would require new thinking, new education, local presence connected to the world of virtual conversations and leadership from a media player who has the reach and influence of existing markets.
The old journalist model needs to be transformed to the facilitation and reporting of the best ideas aimed at creating solutions by either transforming old markets or creating new ones. Conversational currency generated from the people and businesses that perceive value from this model. It’s worked for centuries. The difference now is that the new form is not controlled by the few; it is, instead, created by the many.
What say you?