While much of the talk is about how traditional media can adopt elements of new participatory media, John Battelle at Searchblog has been looking at the way big media businesses are managing their digital assets.
He sees a fundamental conflict, heading his post “Packaged Goods Media v Conversational Media” and suggesting that the corporate urge of the old media businesses is to preserve their existing model.
Battelle, a visiting professor of journalism at Berkley, cites recent senior management changes at Time Warner, News Corporation and CBS and “thinks out loud” about what they mean. He writes:
There are two major forms of media these days. There is Packaged Goods Media, in which “content” is produced and packaged, then sent through traditional distribution channels like cable, newsstand, mail, and even the Internet. Remember when nearly every major media mogul claimed that the Internet was simply one more media distribution channel? They were right, but only in so far as it pertains to Packaged Goods Media. Over the past few decades, massive media conglomerates have built on the deep DNA of Packaged Goods Media.
The second major form of media, is far newer, and far less established. I’ve come to call it Conversational Media, though I also like to call it Performance Media. This is the kind of media that has been labeled, somewhat hastily and often derisively, as “User Generated Content,” “Social Media,” or “Consumer Content.” And while the major media companies are unparalleled when it comes to running companies that live in the Packaged Goods Media world, running major companies in the Conversational Media field require quite a different set of skills, and consideration of radically different economic and business models – models which, to be perfectly frank, conflict directly with the models which support and protect Packaged Goods Media-based companies.
He does not produce any conclusions and promises to do some more thinking out loud soon. It is a train of thought well worth following.