The Next Media Company

Janes Addiction We talk a lot about what it’s going to take to keep The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal and all the other papers of the world alive. We talk about the future of publishing books and magazines, and what it’s going to take to change the music industry. Let’s stop for a minute.

If you were given a few million bucks from a venture capitalist to build a media company, what would that look like?

Not so easy, eh? So, I’m going to think about it, but then, it’s your invitation to think about it, too. Because some of what you and I come up with here might be useful, don’t you agree? Maybe we’ll figure out where some of these companies might hop next, or maybe we’ll just invent something new.

The Next Media Company Manifesto

Here’s what I believe might need to be true about the next media company:

  • Stories are points in time, but won’t end at publication. (Edits, updates, extensions are next.)
  • Curators and editors rule, and creators aren’t necessarily on staff.
  • Media cannot stick to one form. Text, photos, video, music, audio, animation, etc are a flow.
  • Everything must be portable and mobile-ready. (Mobile devices need to evolve here, too).
  • Everything must have collaborative opportunities. If I write about a restaurant, you should have wikified access to add to the article directly.
  • Advertising cannot be the primary method of revenue.
  • In-line content marketing, clearly delineated/disclosed/explained is one revenue stream. One of many.
  • Contributors come in many shapes: onstaff, partner (how pros like TechCrunch link to Washington Post), guest (for love and glory only), and conversational come right to mind. Who else?
  • Value-add services are another revenue stream. Why not book hotels and flights from my travel magazine directly? Why not buy how-to information on marketing from Ad Age or FastCompany?
  • Collaboration rules. Why should I pick the next cover? Why should my picture of the car crash be the best?
  • Everything is modular and linkable. Everything is fluid. Meaning, if I want the publication to be a business periodical, then I don’t want to have to read a piece about sports.
  • Paper isn’t dead: it’s on demand.
  • Do-it-yourself publishing is next for us all. At first.
  • We will all audition for mass physical distribution.
  • It won’t matter (mass physical distribution) to us, lots of the time.

What Else?

Am I way off here? Is this too Pollyanna? What makes sense? What’s just wrong? How far am I off from your perspective?

I welcome the conversation.

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