Interesting comments from the famous Davos conference about how to start a ‘new media empire. My ears perked up when I saw the headline. Hm, media empire? My little operation isn’t at all imperial, but I’m plagued by the question of what a publishing company should look like in the twenty-first century. As I get more involved in the world of blogs and wikis and RSS, I ask people in the know to point out successful business models incorporating these new communications tools. So far, though I’m seeing plenty of interesting and thought-provoking stuff, there’s nothing that looks at all like a sustainable model for what I have in mind. Too much that’s advertising-driven, for one thing. (I volunteered, during my first Research Committee conference call with the Society for New Communications Research, to start polling members of the advisory board about “limits to advertising.” I plan to talk to an economist, too. The PR and advertising professionals on the call agreed pointblank that there is a limit; the whole wide world economy can’t be based on Google ads.)
My favorite quote from the Davos articles was by Shelby Bonnie, CEO of CNET NetworksProducers, who said that good content will be rewarded. “The successful media empire of the future will regularly send their audience to the best stories by their competitors.” There’s a sign above my desk that says, “It’s the content, stupid.” And that’s what we believe.