Next step for online media: technological convergence cutting costs and getting back to core business
After having a look to pluck, I get back to the idea that technological commoditization is (to some extent) a matter of fact that will come with time and that will help media getting back to core. Of course, still after decades automotive industry compete in adding new developments to their products as do mineral water suppliers. Differentiation will always play a role, but there is certain degree of commoditization in what is physically a product, in what we actually sell.
The physical side of our product (the “water” we sell) has been dominant during the revolutionary beginning of digital development. By adopting and developing new technologies some companies have got faster than others in their growth. In response to this reality, some media companies lost their focus and after a kind of existentialist debate believed that trying to be in the fast adoption and development of new technologies was going to be key to succeeding with the new technologies.
Those who invented and developed presses for printing were not those who later built publishing houses or media businesses, or those who invented and developed TVs were not who later exploited broadcasting enterprises. And, I would add that first mover advantage has probably been overvalued when talking on digital businesses, mainly, when we still do not know whether and how some initatives will make money (i.e. be sustainable).
We are moving to an stage in which technology will get cheaper, easier to get and more widely and commonly known, and in which media businesses will start realizing that their competition is not there (or at least, not completely there).
In this context, companies like pluck, Autonomy and others, may progressively become much more relevant than media internal product and technological development departments. Then, media would again focus in values, brand, contents, and what is not physical in their product while saving those efforts.
Media convergence may not necessarily come from mergers and acquisitions, but from a new relative standardization and commoditization of technologies under their contents, and this is, in my opinion, our route ahead.