Digital media disruptions III - stories that matter

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed December 18, 2014
Digital media is still chock full of disruption. But which stories pass the enterprise relevance test? Here's a holiday collection including recommended action steps.

Yes, it's time for another gut-check review of digital media disruptions - the enterprisey review (see previous installments here). Rules are simple: pick the impactful stories from my curated digital media Scoop.IT collection, and give them a hard look from the enterprise side, where eyeballs still count - but only if they're the right ones. We're not just browsing for biscuits here, so each story gets a recommended course of action.

Farewell, Dr. Dobbs
by: Andrew Binstock
key excerpt: "After 38 years of glory, the long run of Dr. Dobb's has come to an end."

enterprise relevance: When a tech publication with a 38 year history and increasing page views (to the tune of 10.3 million a month logged in 2014) shuts down, it gets the attention of any enterprise manager reviewing their own web site and newsletter stats. But this isn't about the problem of huge traffic. It's about the declining relevance of online advertising as a revenue generator. Bonus article: Analysis: InPowered's Bold Anti-Clickbait Strategy: Clicks For Free, Pay Only For Engagement.

best course of action:

  • Attention is better achieved through relevant content than paying for distracted eyeballs (not to mention this widespread risk of advertising click fraud).
  • Shift marketing budgets from online advertising to media creation, in the context of the goal of building an opt-in community.

Britons are abandoning 'traditional' social networks
: Christopher Williams
key excerpt: "[Ofcom's] annual survey of the international communications market found that while social networking activity increased in many countries, it fell in Britain, the United States, China and Japan."

enterprise relevance: Messaging networks like What's App and Snapchat are pulling audience and attention away from the big social networks. This can impact engagement on these platforms and also raises questions for those enterprises evaluating collaboration tools.

best course of action:

  • Be careful putting to many marketing eggs in the baskets of social networks like Facebook where audiences, visibility and algorithms can shift quickly.
  • Apps like What's App may already have traction amongst your mobile workers and executives. Evaluate this activity in the context of whether it fits into an enterprise collaboration plan (with appropriate security measures) or whether it should remain adhoc.

What’s Behind the Great Podcast Renaissance? by: Kevin Roose

key excerpt: "The word podcast is roughly ten years old, after all, and the "pod" to which it refers has been discontinued. Still, the genre seems more alive than ever. I spoke to the people behind several popular shows, and they agreed: We're in a golden age of podcasting."

enterprise relevance: Enterprises have mostly ignored podcasts, to their detriment. There are some highly successful video and audio shows out there. Two of many examples are: The Geek Whisperers, a terrific show on themes of influencer relations and community management from tech leaders who hail from VMWare and Cisco, and Bill Kutik's Radio Show, an excellent HR-themed podcast. IBM does a pretty good job with its Big Data and Analytics Hub podcast also - most episodes offer big picture views while keeping IBM plugs to an acceptable level.

best course of action:

  • When producing video content, always consider if it would make a good audio piece also (audio has big consumption and distribution advantages over bandwidth-chugging video)
  • If you produce audio, create both RSS and iTunes channels for your podcasts (iTunes is key for building a subscription base over time - for examples see my RSS and iTunes feeds for my new "Busting the omnichannel #ensw series).
  • Consider launching a podcast series, with preference towards a series that will NOT feature brand/product-heavy content, but instead will cover ground relevant to your IP (example: a podcast on retail and retail software trends. Narrowcasting to a focused audience often works best).
  • The best podcast have a distinct personality and style, so choose your hosts and themes carefully.

Mass Editorial Exodus At New Republic As Media Industry Woes Accelerate
: Tom Foremski
key excerpt: "Everyone is bound by the same economics of the media industry, which requires chasing the same dwindling ad revenues by running ever faster just to stay still. On top of this, the move to mobile is creating a second apocalypse for the media industry because revenues are as much as one-tenth below desktop. You can't show ten times as many ads on mobile to make up the lost revenues because you wouldn't see any content."

enterprise relevance: Anyone with a passion for journalism done the right way has to be concerned about the continued flailings of venerable news and commentary publishers - no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. That said, while fundamentals of advertising-dependent journalism are crumbling, it does create opportunities for enterprises who want to become media producers

best course of action:

  • Rework your marketing team to increase investment in sustainable content production.
  • There's never been a better time to hire media talent. Consider bringing in seasoned journalists and media producers who are looking for better career paths than they can find at desperate pure media outlets.

The 13 Biggest Brand Fails of 2014
by: Tim Nudd
key excerpt: "The year's biggest fail was truly global, as the normally surefooted band/brand U2 caused a worldwide shitstorm by forcing its new album into 500 million desktops and iPhones, regardless of whether each user wanted it or not. The criticism was swift and merciless."

enterprise relevance: There are some absolute doozies on this list, some of which can be solved by including someone with common sense in the editorial review process. The mistakes are classics, I'm partial to #5 with DiGiorno's epic hashtag fail, but the truth is that all brands will fail here and there. It has more do to with how those mistakes are addressed - and never forgetting that you can't fix your social media mistakes until you fix your culture.

best course of action:

  • laugh at those that slipped in the ice, but then add sensible editorial review guidelines
  • create a content-driven media culture that is not obsessed with "going viral" (desperation for viral attention is where most of the missteps happen)
  • address cultural transparency first, integrating marketing/sales/service so that problems can be resolved before they become epic fails.

Final note: I was going to include the epic SONY hack (and subsequent film cancellation), but I was too depressed by the implications of allowing threats to silence speech, however juvenile that speech might be. Besides, the enterprise lessons are pretty darn clear: cybersecurity is a non-negotiable investment. Done properly, security should not put a damper on public-facing conversations, but it should protect customer and employee data. The trickier part right now is maintaining a seamless user experience while validating credentials.

These pieces were picked from my curated channel, enterprise media disruptions.

Image credit: Very slippery ice. © Janis Smits -

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