War Coverage Shows Us The Future Of Media

War Coverage Shows Us The Future Of Media

Chris Charron at Forrester reports that digital technologies have eroded the size and attention of media audiences. The war in Iraq turns the tide momentarily, bringing riveted viewers back to networks. But the coverage also exposes key structural changes in store for the media business.

The first five years of the Net reshaped content delivery via millions of Web sites, devices, and other digital outlets. Now, the war shows what distributed content creation looks like. Embedded devices, video cameras, digital photos, and desktop editing packages push content creation to the edge, putting power in the hands of writers, videographers, and reporters. Bell Globemedia, CNN, and eNetworks, use cheap, open technologies to make, manage, and move assets, and cut costs.

Distributed power on both ends of the media value chain, creation and delivery, undercuts media's middleman role. In a world where many consumers already distrust media outlets, digital consumers self-direct their content experiences with search and links, filter out or ignore what they dislike, and synthesize raw content on their own.

Which of the following sources of content do you trust...

  • Print Newspapers 46%
  • TV 42%
  • Radio 42%
  • Print Magazines 39%
  • Web sites of TV networks 32%
  • Online-only news providers 18%
Source: Forrester Research Base: North American consumers (multiple response accepted)

Online consumers who prefer the Net for news grew 118% in the past year.

Advertisers, says Charron, have four options:
1) Create more of their own content as Toyota and Miller Lite do with advergames.
2) Improve the performance of ads that do get seen through better targeting as is doing in the TV space.
3) Create and harvest direct relationships with consumers using smart email and IM as Renault and Hewlett-Packard have done.
4) Steal a page from Ford and Viking Range and embed more product placements in programming.

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