As Content & Technology Converge, Publishers Feel the Squeeze
Is there a difference between a content company and a technology company? The answer to that question is becoming increasingly difficult to answer. In the recent past, publishers were by and large content companies. Today, with the blending of multiple content distribution formats, magazine media companies have forged new business alliances and discovered new types of competitors, blurring the lines between magazine companies and technology companies.
David Carey recently noted that, "Hearst is a content company, operating with a platform mentality...functioning as one global entity as far as content sharing." I suggest to you that only a technology company that sells content on such a vast scale can achieve the goal of that kind of global outreach.
Let's put a bunch of companies in the same sentence and see if we can divine the differences: The New York Times, Hearst, Condé Nast, Yahoo, Buzzfeed, Vox, and Upworthy. Can you distinguish the differences between these companies and their missions? If we are all fast becoming technology companies, as it seems we are, perhaps we should consider the differences and significance of online readership and off-line readership. Are we nearing a point when it will all be just readership?
The MPA seems to think so. Its newly created media metric Media 360° attempts to measure audiences across multiple platforms and multiple formats, trying to provide a comprehensive picture of the aggregate consumer demand for the magazine media business. The data captures print and digital editions, web pages, the mobile web, video, and social media activity. These figures are added up for a total number of active brand participants, with the goal of seeing the totality of brand engagement.
This comprehensive numeric approach may be best achieved as a technology company or at least a company that uses technology to its fullest.
Which brings me to the biggest content technology company of them all and perhaps the biggest and most serious competitor for publishers today. This would be a company that already has a comprehensive picture of the data about consumer demand. This is, of course, Facebook.
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