VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR – I’m old enough to remember (i.e. not that old at all, at least not in this context) the panic and the fascination at the internet and the digital format in general killing the newsprint – as well as the mainstream media generally – not to mention the music and the film industries, etc. But now the digital is eating itself:
In the latest evidence of volatility, CNN has learned that IAC is entertaining potential buyers for The Daily Beast, the news and opinion site launched nearly a decade ago by former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown.
Just one of many:
This week we learned that Comcast, Verizon and other companies are circling 21st Century Fox; that Mashable is being sold to Ziff Davis at a fire sale price; and that the magazine publisher Meredith is bidding for Time Inc. again.
A number of other prominent media companies are also looking for an “out” in the form of a sale.
What’s going on?
The answer: At a time of tremendous change in media consumption, big companies are trying to get bigger and upstarts are trying to survive. Many decisions are really just reactions to Google and Facebook’s power over the digital advertising marketplace.
“The digital advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook — in which they take in 2017 about 90% of all the digital ad dollar growth — drives everyone else in media to run tighter ships,” analyst Ken Doctor said in a Friday column...
“I think there’s one common thread between these, and it’s really the quest for scale,” said Michael J. Wolf, CEO of Activate, a media and tech consulting firm.
“Those who don’t have it are looking for it, and those who do are trying to suck up everything else that they can get,” Wolf said.
Two things tend to happen when a small number of big players seem to monopolise particular sector of the economy. The disruptive forces of free market competition kick in as new, smaller, innovative players take on the industry giants, who often get complacent as they get big. And those more trusting of the state to solve what they see as problems, clamour for government action to break up the “trusts” and monopolies. In fact, over the past 120 years it has been a race between these two forces or instincts as to which one will get to bring down the “monopolists” faster and more comprehensively. Nothing lasts forever, and neither will the dominance by Google and Facebook, even if most of us might find it difficult at the moment to imagine what might come next.