Talking about change is several degrees easier than doing change — actually going through it, and doing something different ahead of the industry still cashing in on what was.
One need only to read the headlines to see how it's possible to write about change and share reasonable opinions left to others to sort out.
It was much easier for Fast Company to write about changing business models than to reinvent its own model — from magazine to what's next. Figuring out what to do with a community of evangelists way ahead of social networks becoming the "thing" was hard. It had to be invented. Usually somewhere else, when the market is more mature, or just desperate.
The media industry has been grappling with splintering audiences and decline in ad dollars for quite a while. Reinvention takes creativity and innovation. The kind Justin Smith brought to The Atlantic by spearheading the company's efforts in digital, including the launch of Quartz, probably one of the few publications I read.
Hats off to The Atlantic owner David Bradley for choosing a different way of sharing the news, one that tells us something about him and earns respect in spades#.
Still, I seem to have gotten a detail wrong. I just assumed we were welcoming Justin into our storied magazine and its storied past. Justin understood — or at least decided — that he would time-travel the whole lot of us to media’s future state. Looking around now, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
I'm impressed by the decision to let the team formed around the new Atlantic run with it. Bloomberg Media Group has made a smart choice. Looking forward to following what its appetite for change will look like.
The other side of the change coin in the media industry is advertising. And this weekend we learned the news of a proposed merger between NY-based Omincom and French-native Publicis Groupe.
It will be interesting to see what two already big holding companies steering decisions for dozens of agencies each will be able to realize in a world where we already have plenty of what used to work and not enough of the experience we actually want as customers. Om Malik has the revenue stats and some thoughts of impact on the tech sector.
Scale looks a lot different with digital at the core. Companies and brands are learning to go direct and starting to staff that way. Social and mobile as in mobility have changed the equation to software AND service.
Doing is decisively different. Usually doesn't fit in a neat checklist, either.
UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis weighs in on media being left out of the conversation altogether.
SECOND UPDATE: The Ad Contrarian weighs in with a POV on the ad business from an insider's perspective — the advantage is creativity.
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