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Online Video and the Perils of Business Morbidity

  |  October 8, 2013   |  Comments

Everything media, it seems, is either birthed to kill or exists only until it can be killed. Yet online video doesn't have to be the death angel to television.

film-reelThere is a strange phenomenon in the media business; the on-going and constant diagnosis of death. Everything, it seems, is either birthed to kill or exists only until it can be killed.

There appears to be no middle ground. Video did not kill the radio star, yet three decades later we've learned nothing from The Buggles' faulty thesis.

I suppose this need to pontificate on the coming of the reaper comes from a desire to prove an industry of savants. Perhaps it is the fulfillment of a repressed desire to be term life salesmen.

The problem with these proclamations is they mean little and prove less. If anything, they show an inability to think beyond black and white. If Apple's new iRadio is the death blow to Pandora, Spotify and the lot, then the business models developed are at fault, not the sudden entry by a single, albeit significant, competitor.

Blackberry didn't fail because Google and Apple joined the market, so much as they simply did not innovate to the future.

And therein lies the rub. It is absolutely possible for a newcomer to foretell the untimely demise of a pre-existing giant. But in most cases, the arrival of a new competitive force is a symptom, not the cause. The cause runs deeper and the headlines written upon the arrival of competitive alternatives likely should have been written beforehand.

So, what's an industry built on pageviews and slideshows to do, if not breaking down the breakdown of past heroes? Perhaps we should theorize on how when something new is married to old, it creates something more interesting, with greater potential.

Video didn't kill radio and Hulu, Netflix and social media are not the angel of death to television. Instead, the potential when combined via syndication, group viewing and the redefinition of the social watercooler promises something much more: a new golden age, not a somber end.

Nothing lasts forever, yet our desire to throw out the old threatens us from missing the green shoots growing everywhere around us, where old soil and new seeds have come together.

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Chris Copeland

Chris Copeland is chief executive officer of GroupM Next, the forward-looking, media innovation unit of GroupM. Chris is responsible for curating and communicating insight-focused media solutions across established and emerging platforms. Leveraging his multi-year experience with emerging media companies, Chris is tasked with stewarding GroupM Next in partnership with agency leadership from GroupM's four media marketing and marketing service agencies (Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and Mindshare).

Guiding the Predictive Insights, Technology, Education, Research, and Communications teams at GroupM Next, Chris is responsible for overseeing the amplification of insights into opportunities that directly benefit the business of GroupM agencies and their clients. GroupM is the world's largest media investment management group and the media holding arm of WPP.

Chris was selected to lead GroupM Next after nine years of leading the search marketing practice within GroupM. Among his accomplishments include the development and integration of the global search marketing offering for GroupM agencies, GroupM Search, which manages $1.3 billion in search billings globally and has grown to more than 1,000 search marketing strategists serving 40 countries.

Chris is an active member on advisory boards at the 4A's, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and I-COM. He is a frequent speaker in global forums discussing the digital marketplace, and contributes editorial commentary regularly to Advertising Age, ClickZ, MediaPost, and MediaBizBloggers.com.

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