Browsers, banners, and now search. Old media is at a crossroads -- again.
I started my career in the newspaper industry. Nearly all the companies I now work with own newspapers, magazines, TV stations, and cable networks. So I spend a lot of time thinking about the digital media challenges and opportunities so-called old media companies face. Some of old media's watershed moments:
Fundamental changes are happening so fast, 2005 is certain to be another watershed year in digital media. Today, search represents only 3 percent of the 350 billion monthly page views generated by U.S. online audiences. The opportunity for growth is extraordinary. The only bottleneck is a shortage of searches, or audience "interactions," that can be targeted for search-like advertising.
This will be the year search and media companies start working to ensure much more of the remaining 97 percent of Web pages are viable targets for search-like ads. Analysts predict this could add the better part of $15 billion per year to the search market by 2010. This year and next will be make-or-break years for old media companies. They must figure out how to play in this space or move aside so new media companies can pick up that money.
Five factors will drive growth in search advertising over the next five years:
What does this mean for old media? Search companies are now big, profitable, true media companies, not just tech companies that sell ads. They've proven their smarts. They've proven their ability to execute. They're creating hundreds of small, follower companies that offer one-off alternatives, such as IndustryBrains. They'll define old media companies' future, unless old media companies define their own future.
What should old media companies do?
They should decide whether they're in the game for the long haul. If so, their search strategy should be to go where search is going, not just where they've already been. They have the assets to win in the markets where search is headed. They have relationships with millions of advertisers. They have massive audience reach and frequency on their sites. They have the content and the trusted relationships with consumers that's so essential to successful personalization. They own local with the content, the environments, and the relationships.
What's the difference between 2005 and earlier old media watershed years? New media is now embodied in a real-life, dragon-slaying competitor that delivers greater value to consumers and advertisers than old media does, at a fraction of the cost. It possesses an ability to scale that's unimagined in the traditional media world. This is a new era of marketing. The future is old media's to lose.
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