New video, with transcript: the future of media, news and publishing, with Ross Dawson (Meeting of the Minds # 6)

The latest Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) show is now online, see below; again with fellow futurist Ross Dawson.  For this one, we’ve also had a transcription done – download it via dropbox or via my owncloud

Ross Dawson also has a good summary of our conversation

Some of the things we discuss:

* In just the last few years the few rapidly growing newspaper markets remaining, such as India, have turned around and are now declining.

* Print will survive in pockets, including free, suburban, and rural papers.

* Marketing and advertising budgets will be massively reallocated as what impacts

* Television will be challenged in similar ways to how newspapers have been.

* Advertising is useless if it interrupts.

* We have yet to find the mobile promotion mechanisms that will work, focusing on relevant content rather than interruption.

* We are in a digital first, print second world.

* The attention monopoly of print has gone, taking publishers into a different paradigm.

* The future of the media industry, in its broadest sense, is extremely positive.

* However many incumbent players have tried to hang on to the past rather than seize emerging opportunities, even though they have better capabilities than almost any others to take these.

* Older capital-intensive media models are being supplanted by models that require far less capital.

* Publishers need to shift paradigms to beyond existing silos to broader frames of media organizations.

* If content is king, context is queen, and value must be added through a variety of means including interfaces.

* We don’t know what the successful business models of tomorrow will be, these will be discovered by those that try new possibilities.

* The solutions are unique to the organization, its audience, and its situation so, so multiple experiments with revenue and channels are needed.

* Going beyond the obvious is required to survive and thrive.

Thanks Ross!

Excerpt from transcript:

Gerd: Hello, this is Gerd Leonhard. Welcome to another edition of Meeting of the Minds. Today I have with me from Sydney, Australia Ross Dawson, futurist, author, strategist and a good friend. So Ross, let’s talk about the future of media in news and publishing and all this stuff that we look at every day. The key trend, I think, is what is happening with print? I mean clearly, if you see all the global curves, it has declined pretty much everywhere but Brazil. Brazil is up if you look at the graphs. Southern America in general is still up. So what’s going to happen with the future of print? Do we still need print in the future or can we even afford to have print in the future?

Ross: Well will have print in pockets. One thing, actually, very interestingly, if you look at my newspaper Extinction Timeline, I put India and China or rural China as to past 2040. In fact, we’ve got some more recent data showing that, in fact, the trend in newspapers in India has moved very rapidly in the other direction. And so I think there’s a real acceleration of more generally news going on paper formats with a few exceptions. The free newspapers still have their role. I mean I don’t see quite how long that will go. Another key one is in terms of highly regional, so suburban papers. These things can be supported by advertising. They don’t have to be timely. So anything on paper is out of date. But if you’re just looking at the community news, that’s not so important. So I think in suburban or very local or very rural, particularly in developing countries, we will see paper for a long time to come. But if we’re looking at urbanized developed countries, news on paper is heading on the way out.

Gerd: But I mean news, of course, has always been funded by advertising. Advertising paid for the eyeballs. Now, clearly, what’s happening here is that people are shifting to digital means of consumption, and the advertisers have not really shifted a lot yet. They are starting to. So when you think this will happen, for example, here in Europe where most of the budget is shifting to digital. And, basically, I think a lot of print, especially in Switzerland, a lot of print magazines and newspapers had sort of an attention monopoly to where they were the only ones getting so many eyeballs. And that’s rapidly ending. So how would advertising shift and when?

Ross: That’s one of the big questions. So we get a lot of statistics showing, well, this is the proportion of people’s attention, and this is the proportion of people’s advertising. They’re very skewed as in far too much spent on TV and newspaper as compared to mobile or internet. But these aren’t always the right measures. I think part of it is that advertising will be transcended. Advertising is always this push and there are other ways to be able to get to spend money potentially, but be able to get engagement rather than just trying to insert message within a stream of things of the information that you want. So I think that the marketing and advertising budgets will be allocated and reallocated massively. This is partly around the content creation within these domains. I think that broadcast TV in particular is going to be massively challenged in a similar scale to let’s say the newspaper on print.  I guess though I don’t necessarily believe that mobile will become this place where all advertising is spent or the way advertising really has an impact, I mean do you see mobile as the place where advertising will go?

Gerd: Well, let’s put it this way. I think that if we forget what advertising used to be which is basically interruption and lying to a large degree, saying things that are not actually true, in most cases that is really what happens. So the burger looks a lot better on the picture than it does there. And a lot of the advertising that we used to have was useless and senseless, and we just couldn’t get away from it. So now, because of digital empowerment of the consumer, we are essentially at the point where we can cut out all the noise, I mean that kind of noise. And so advertising is useless in that way if it’s trying to interrupt us. It has to be meaningful. So therefore, I think on the mobile, we have yet to see the kind of creative context of how that is meaningful. For example, this is by Google by the ways. The idea of saying I use the map and as I’m driving it says, “You know what, you like hamburgers and here is the special today with the coupon here. You are 200 meters away.” And it tells me that because it knows my context, and that’s not advertising. That’s content. But it is advertising…”

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Futurist Gerd Leonhard


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