John Battelle has a pretty intriguing “thinking out loud” post on recent big-big media executive moves and what it all means. The world of CBS and AOL is a media world leagues above my career status, but it seems to me it’s a little premature to start treating interactive like serious big business. It’s still a pretty turbulent world in which some important revenue models haven’t even been invented yet, and others may not work out after all, and there are a host of disruptions that are still just a gleam in the eye of some inventor. I wouldn’t start shifting to status quo just yet.
That said, I love this formulation from Battelle:
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.