March 6, 2006
Liz published this at 8:09 pm
They say the blogosphere is about the conversation. Well, an interesting business conversation has been going on since Thursday. That’s when Mr. Tom Glocer, CEO of Reuters gave the Keynote Address in London to the Online Publishers Association. According to the Guardian UK, Mr Glocer warned the “old media” that they needed to know their own worth and be prepared to change or they’d lose out of the online pie. Mr. Glocer’was quoted.
I believe the world will always need editing,” he said. “Just because everyone has the potential to publish their own blog, doesn’t mean they’re all worth reading. The role of companies like ours is to edit and filter, and provide open tools for the audience. The good stuff will float to the top.
Nothing patronizing there, Mr. Glocer. I’ve worked for a few publishers. Your experience seems to be different from mine. Where I worked, as a rule, the good stuff was many places besides the top.
The Reuter’s CEO, Mr. Glocer, went on.
Protectionism doesn’t work, but neither does total surrender. As media companies, we now have access to a rich world of sources. Let’s not turn away from the potential of all of this, but understand it and unlock it.
Gee, that makes me feel all grown-up and warm inside. I didn’t know the Old Media owned the keys to the world. Could I have a quarter to buy a candy bar?
Mr Glocer went on to say that the role of old media should be that of content facilitator, tools provider, editor, and go-between providing structure to the information between supplier and the consumer–even if they are the same people.
I guess that’s because we can’t figure out how to talk to each other.
In other words, Mr Glocer, you’re happy to let blogs have a space in the media world as long as everyone understands that old media will still run the show?
Richard MacManus on Next Generation Web and Media at first found this speech left him breathless, and then came back to earth because of Eran Globen’s post, which said that the old media has always been seeding clouds; we don’t want them interloping; and the editing will take care of itself in time.
Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine says Reuters gets it, and to Jarvis’ credit, he was there. But . . .
Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 completely disagrees with Jeff Jarvis and everyone (and there were lots of everyones) saying that Tom Glocer has fooled them into thinking he is on their side. Mr. Karp points out, rightfully I think that Glocer’s points are a formula for more of the same–old media as it already exists. Perpetuating the entrenchment, that’s he calls it. Scott Karp is 100% right.
Scott Karp goes on to add that blogging has two out of three parts–Media+Web longing for a economic paradigm that includes Advertising/Audience. He’s upfront about not knowing how to build the rest of this economic model, but again he’s right. This is the key to where things need to go.
At the same time this conversation was going on, a man I like to think of as a friend was writing this.
Part of what makes the blogsophere such a perplexing challenge for mainstream media is this: it is not easily amenable to analysis using standard strategic management theories and analytical frameworks. Consider, for example, the problems that arise when one uses the most widely taught strategic management framework, Michael Porterâ€™s Five Forces, to get a handle on the competitive threat posed by blogs. . . . that the determinants of profitability in an industry are explained by five “forces”- the power of suppliers; the power of buyers; barriers to entry; the degree of rivalry among incumbents; and the presence of substitutes.
When I say that blogs are perplexing, it is not just because they don’t fit neatly into any one of those five classes of determinants. The real problem, as I see it, is that they fit into all of them, at the same time. Blogs are new entrant, substitute, complement, and rival. They offset much of the power the MSM has traditionally had over its both buyers and its suppliers. Were blogs just any one of these things, they could be easily be squashed, co-opted, or marginalized. But they are not. Incumbent firms donâ€™t see challenges and challengers like this everyday.
–David Starling, The Business of America is America
All of those people I read following the links on all of those blogs. Most of them weren’t doing more than passing on what had been said. . . . Two people brought something startling new to the conversation–Scott Karp and David Starling–they’re on opposite sides of the world and weren’t even responding to the same thing.
Boy, do I wish I could be in a room with the two of them.
How did the rest of them miss what Glocer was saying? Is this another elephant standing in the room?
–ME “Liz” Strauss