Mathew Ingram wrote an interesting piece for Giga the other day about a dust up about tech media. The question is whether certain media companies that call themselves tech companies are fooling themselves and others. He writes
(Elizabeth) Spiers argues that this … popular delusion is largely an attempt to curry favor with venture-capital investors, who are more likely to hand out cash at a large valuation to a tech play rather than a boring old media business. The painful reality, she says, is that “media is not easy to scale and margins are tight,” because content still requires people to produce and edit and package it properly and technology doesn’t really change that significantly.
It is true that media is more difficult to scale than software solutions. But Mathew believes this misses the point. These companies may not be tech companies in the classic sense, but they are using technology to get beyond one of the most pervasive limitations of media — connecting with users.
I agree and would go farther. We are just starting down the road towards a future where the user will rule what content gets paid for. Not the advertiser, but the user. We are not there yet, but I am confident that we will get there. The main reason that I am so confident is that technology is supporting more and more platforms based on dialogue rather than broadcast. In this setting users have more say in what gets read and published and commented upon and paid for. Advertisers and media companies will have to adapt.
But to get there, media companies have to learn how to use technology. Not just to create content online, but to understand how online content connects to what users want. And they don’t want just content. This is an exciting time and I look forward to tracking this trend here.