This my first post of 2009 and I cant work out quite how the year is going to play out for us in the media world.
On the surface its looking pretty dire in media land. '08 was horrible across the board and the prospects for this year aren't too rosy.
But lets be positive as a positive mental attitude is the key to turning the economic tide.
My sense is the dire economic environment actually presents us with a unique opportunity. Hard to see right now as we face worsening conditions, job losses etc but please read on.....
It gives us permission to execute all those necessary changes and improvements that companies on our beat have known they would have to make but have been able to defer because conditions were so benign. Its now a no choice, no defer situation. These changes are now about survival not enhancement!
Good news is that those brands that make the necessary changes will emerge from this economic train wreck and will do very well indeed.
Hold on to the following thoughts
you have a trusted brand
you have addressable audience
you have reputation
you have skilled workforce
you have a quality product
This give you durability, opportunity and a fighting chance.
But you have to recognise your assets and be willing to put them to work more effectively, more relevantly and more creatively.
In some ways the economic climate has precipitated the defining moment for media companies. We've long known that digital would eventually change everything for ever and most were happy wait and watch (head in sand). No longer. We have no choice but to embrace change, explore alternative models, lower our cost basis and move on. We cannot vacillate any longer.
I for one think this is good news. Ours is a sector that has stagnated. Its been starved of fresh new ideas and what innovation we have seen has been dreamt up else and co-opted by us as band aid.
Its time for our own ideas and innovations based on a strongly held belief that servicing the customer is a really winning strategy.
Where for example is electronic paper or if not paper electronic readers for newspapers and magazines? How long do we have to wait for goodness sake? Its such a great idea. Reduces costs (no more trees, printing presses, distribution vehicles and agents fees etc), unleashes the digital brand and gives the consumer bang up to date quality content where and where he wants it.
In the age of the iphone and the Amazon Kindle (which is actually quite good) surely an electronic reader model is feasible. Quick back of an envelope calculation tells me that that it can work economically. The case is partic strong against subscribers and home delivery customers. Now its clear that not all these types of customers will want to transition from paper to electronic but some will and that trickle will turn into a torrent.
Is this the year that media cos are forced by economic conditions to make those tough decisions and investigate new models for revenue generation and hopefully work on programmes to recognise and reward customers (and get them to spend more).
Lets hope so
HAPPY NEW YEAR