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rethinking audience attraction in the media business model

In an article that is forthcoming in Long Range Planning, I’ll be talking about a discovery driven approach to identifying new business models. 

One of the points I make in the piece is that with the advertising model, businesses are paid by advertisers to attract an audience and provide the advertiser with access to that audience.  It struck me somehow this evening that this simple idea is one which could really have changed the way conventional media work—if the core of your business is audience-attraction and leveraging, then it only makes sense that you want to promote any place readers might congregate.  If someone else (like a search engine or repackager) diverts the audience you have attracted, well clearly that is directly competitive.  It makes me wonder anew where producers of digital content got the idea that they should give their material away for free to allow other players to attract the content producers audiences to their locations. 

It will be interesting indeed to see how the media companies dig themselves out of this.  I do think we’re going to see a lot more walled gardens and a lot more subscriptions required to premium content.  And won’t that produce some interesting power shifts. 

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