New- Vs. Old-Media Refrain Is Officially Irrelevant And Tired
"Old media just doesn't GET IT."
You probably heard it in your last meeting, or last industry "bloviation" conference extravaganza. This chorus has been repeating itself more than an arpeggio in a Philip Glass opera. It has become so redundant and been around for so long that the media landscape around the argument itself has changed dramatically.
The only people who still seem to be chanting this chorus are dogmatic new-media types who may not have noticed that someone has moved their "it."
For those of you who don't know me personally, let me just say that I am NOT an old-media guy. Far from it. I drink from the new-media Kool-Aid trough, but I also try to recognize the plainly obvious.
The fact is, old media DOES get it. Their ability to control their content and its distribution is in flux. They get that. The old model that made them their fortunes is changing. They get that, too. The nature of keeping their audiences' attention is changing. They get all of this on a very profound level. And guess what? They're actively engaged in taking advantage of these changes, not out of fear, but out of opportunity.
Obvious case in point #1: Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace and is now trying to leverage that success into obtaining 25% of Yahoo. That bears repeating. Murdoch bought MySpace for $580 million and now wants to leverage it in order to acquire 25% of Yahoo, giving him a hefty bump on his original purchase price. Even if this scenario does not play out, it at least illustrates that old media, in this case, definitely "gets it." The "it" in this scenario being "how to grow a valuable media business and dominate new markets."
I don't mean to say that new Media "doesn't get it." Google obviously gets "it." And in Google's case, the "it" is the same as Murdoch's: "How to grow a valuable media business and dominate new markets." The YouTube and DoubleClick acquisitions both stand as a good case in point.
Murdoch has the same goal as Google, only the strategies and tactics are different, and neither should be defined as "old" or "new" media.
Obvious case in point #2: Time Warner is starting to see light at the end of the AOL tunnel. Say what you will about the grandfather of dial-up walled gardens, there is some "there" most definitely "there." The Advertising.com acquisition has proven to be an incredible asset as they steer AOL away from their dying subscription business. And let's give them some props for unleashing TMZ.com. While it's not the revenue generator that Advertising.com is, it shows that AOL can make and market relevant product for consumers. Sure, you can point to a few of the bad bananas in the AOL bunch, like LAT34, but what company hasn't had a few failures? Google didn't exactly set the world on fire with Google Video. It took buying YouTube to get them into the video space.
Obvious case in point #3: Publicis acquires Digitas. Overnight, Publicis gains strategy, scale and arguably becomes the most important buyer in the digital space -- certainly for Yahoo and MSN. Add to that the formation of Denuo and its other digital operationsm and you begin to realize that an old, stodgy media buying agency that was destined to be sold is now an advanced communications group with some serious clout.
"Old media just doesn't get it."
Keep drinking that Kool-Aid if it makes you feel better.
I say we put an end to the artificial refrain. It's a red herring and a crutch. They "get it."
So, the next time you're in a meeting, or a conference and you hear "Old media just doesn't get it" from a "new" media guy like me, do us all a favor and slap them hard across the face and say: "Jeez, you old new-media guys just don't get it."