Where is Media going?

Content is a daily consumption for all of us. We have witnessed the shifting of media in multiple ways and I wonder what’s next.

When Curbed, Eater and Racked came on to the scene, I read it multiple times a day. Eventually I went on to invest in the company. What I saw was the next generation of how we were going to take in content on specific verticals that sparked our interest. There are lists but also interesting articles. They went on to be bought by Vox and have continued to grow.

Then E-commerce sites began to add content to their backend to engage their customer. All of a sudden everyone had to have content if they were going to sell a product.

What comes next? There are communities built around health that are allowing conversations to take place including content that is being put out from the company and their readers. The Mighty could be described as a media company but I believe it is the next generation of healthcare “conversations”.

We will start to see a slew of political content from new and old media channels. How will that engage communities who care about this stuff. How will communities be engaged around anything from raising kids to eating right. Will there be deeper verticals with journalists writing about each topic? Will there be more videos and less writing? Will more people just want to be engaged in areas they care about and perhaps just read one major outlet such as the WSJ, NY Times or Washington Post a day? Will those companies start to build stronger verticals or buy companies that have built them even though they are also selling products?

Seeing Blinkist raise $35m, an app where you can read the best nonfiction books in 15 minutes says something about how the next generations are taking in content. Although I do love a good juicy book and truly can’t imagine reading Freedom or the Goldfinch in fifteen minutes or less.

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    I’m wondering that too. I don’t like the subscription model unless it’s highly differentiated and offering something really unique I don’t get elsewhere. I’m seeing a lot of new services on the App store with $80-150 prices per year. Not sure that is sustainable once the novelty wears off.I think gamification is an interesting feature that I’d like to see more of in content sites. If it’s well done, it can draw loyalty.I think we need to separate Media from Content. Content sites where the content is actually a valuable service you can act on is something that interests me.

    1. lisa hickey

      Do you have examples of gamification you think work well?

      1. William Mougayar

        Hi Lisa, I suggest reading this, and you’ll get an idea. It’s very Asia focused, and frankly I haven’t seen anything close in the US, but wished there was something.https://a16z.com/2018/12/07

        1. lisa hickey

          This is great! It does seem like combining 1) smaller content bits 2) community engagement and rewards for fans as a first step towards gamification 3) gamification could perhaps also used for content *creation* (we do some of that now) and 4) tips (even microtips) as an additional way to reward content creation / engagement — it could really all work together as a scalable system. Since we are also focused on actions outside of the media, rewards / gamification of actions could also be an interesting evolution (assuming there could be an ROI).Appreciate you sending that link! I’m all for business models as a product strategy!

    2. Drew Meyers

      I personally hate gamification as a feature/strategy. Seems a route to a short term engagement win, but once people get bored… which is inevitable…they move on for good. Is there any media/business model that has been gamified and stood the test of time?

      1. Gotham Gal

        Hmm. You could point to the big newspapers such as the NYT and NBCs of the world and the publicly traded companies have so much cash they can buy smaller new media businesses or just slowly change to the next generation

        1. Drew Meyers

          I don’t think NYT or NBC have lasted because of gamification though? Curious to hear what they’ve done in that realm in the past or present, as it’s not what I think when I hear either brand name.

        2. LE

          Reverse engineering the behavior here also consider this:I think one thing ‘big media’ have going for it, whether located in NYC or LA, is that they have all sorts of legacy long standing relationships with people who purchase advertising. Ad buyers. These are situations where they wine and dine people and in part even though some of those people are old school (a guess) there are also freshly minted buyers who are all excited by the spectacle of being given access to people that are on TV. And those people would tend to be able to make business deals that actually don’t make financial sense.The ‘upfronts’:https://variety.com/2019/tv…Here is a video of what appears to be an NBC event where I am pretty sure there are media buyers in the audience. Both Sara Bareilles and Andrew Lloyd Weber appear. Note the screen in the back that says “Universal Television”.Ask your self this. If the product and the value of what they are offering (ad space) is so good why do they need to put on such a fancy (shamcey) show? It’s to manipulate buyers into paying for more than the actual value of what they are offering.https://www.youtube.com/wat

      2. William Mougayar

        If you think about it, Facebook is all about gamification, although not overtly. The feed they want to show you is totally gamified behind the scenes so that users keep coming back.

  2. lisa hickey

    I run a media company.Here are some of the things we see.1) Your focus on conversation is spot on. We actually have live phone calls with our community almost every day of the week. They are often the most interesting conversations I have. Imagine talking about sexism with guys, racism with a diverse mix of people from all over the world, CTE and head injuries with former pro football players, mental health with people who want to destigmatize it, environmentalism with activists who break things down into solutions that can be implemented immediately. They are an hour long, and we call them ConvoCasts — “They are like Podcasts but you are in them.”2) Another potential evolution of podcasts. Now that you can stream podcasts the same way you can songs, and idea would be to create a library of “Mini-Casts” that are the same length as a song but teach you a specific tangible skill or give you one small insight. These ‘mini-casts’ get shuffled into your song library, so you can intersperse learning into your daily routine without having to listen for a whole hour to glean the most important point.3) Taking action. On a recent environmentalism call, our community had the idea to create a list of questions for the political candidates, and emailing them to every candidate in advance of the next debate. Information that leads to action is another path I see for media.4) Making verticals, then expanding the media. Our website is focused on the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Few people are talking about that. When we set up our calls, we set them up so they are both “serialized and episodic” — they way television has historically been structured. So you get the benefits of following a topic and theme over time, to know the backstory, to really engage with the characters who show up again and again. But you also can join in any time for a particular “episode” — you don’t need to have been to the previous calls to understand what is going on. It’s similar to the reasons I show up on Gotham Gal’s blog over and over—-I know there will be some people commenting that I know, I know the history of the blog, I like being a part of the community. Creating actual TV shows out of those discussions seems like a natural next step.Just a few ideas for the future! I’m excited by the potential!

    1. Gotham Gal


  3. awaldstein

    I guess I am fine with media, really not so with an advertising media model.Glad to pay subscriptions and do, but advertising to me is the problem, driving bad behavior as well and useful to no-one.

    1. lisa hickey

      There was an article on Wired today about why bigger roads make traffic worse. It’s called “induced demand”. So when online publishers allowed an almost infinite supply of ads—the demand went up. And as we know, that made the value of the ads go down, it made economic life hell for publishers, and degraded the user experience.When someone buys a subscription on our site, the advertising goes away. And we call them memberships, because they include many community based benefits.I’m not sure most regular consumers of media/content know exactly what they want and what they are willing to pay for. So it’s up to us (as publisher) to show what is possible.

      1. awaldstein

        It’s always up to the company to decide.Big believer in listening but never asking the customer what they want.

  4. jason wright

    The traditional aggregator mastheads may not survive, and perhaps should not survive if we want true plurality of thought and opinion. We can all become ‘informalists’.

  5. Semil Shah

    Check out InstaRead and LMK what you think.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I will!