5 Mindset Shifts Every Media Executive Needs to Make

Media executives thinking about distributing their content online (and they all should) need to make important mindset shifts in order to understand what the digital revolution is all about, how it affects their business and what benefits it can bring to their operation.

I’ve outlined five mindset shifts every media executive needs to make:

1. Digital Is Your Battleground

OLD: We sell advertising space on television and throw in a bonus on our internet properties.

NEW: We sell advertising space on our Internet properties and throw a bonus on our television network.

Drastic? Yes! But you need to start thinking this way if you want to understand where your company is headed. Digital content distribution will eventually be your main revenue stream.

You need to start thinking digital:

  • Have all your content ready in digital formats suitable for distribution via downloads, podcasts, iTunes, streaming and cellphones.
  • Convert your advertising rates to digital format and train your sales people in the new lingo: figure out how much you charge per minute per thousand viewers and use this as a starting point.
  • Think about how you’ll monetize your shows online and plan accordingly: pre-roll, mid-roll, banners, page sponsors, and subscriptions are all valid.

2. Engagement Is The New Rating

OLD: What matter is the size of our audience.

NEW: What matters is how engaged our audiences are.

You’re used to thinking about how many million viewers your shows garner. You need to start thinking about how many ways your shows intersect with your viewers’ lives. Study Lost and look up how many online communities have grown around the show.

Let your audiences interface with your content. Make it shareable in a way that lets you track views and advertising. Turn your content into a social object. Make it either:

  • part of the conversation,
  • a conversation starter, or
  • a gathering place.

If you’re creating content for TV or film, plan ahead and create additional content for digital distribution: side stories, character background, games, behind-the-scenes footage. There’s only so much you can tell in a one-hour show… develop your story online.

Don’t be afraid to listen to your audience, or to talk to them.

3. Your Earnings Will Come From Elsewhere

OLD: How are we going to make money online?

NEW: How are we going to make money if we don’t go online?

Of course you need to make money. And enough people have lost their shirts online to make even the bolder ones worry (think of them as the pioneers, with the arrows stuck on their backs). But look at it as an investment… just like you invested in HD technology, Beta SP, Nielsen reports and new studios: make a business plan, plan a strategy, hire a consultant, set-up a team, start small, think big, or not. Your current market is shrinking, it’s time to look elsewhere.

4. There Are More Than 24 Hours In A Day, There’s More Than One Distribution Channel

OLD: We deliver content 24 hrs a day on one channel.

NEW: We deliver unlimited content via unlimited distribution channels.

Forget about a 24-hour day. You now have access to unlimited audiences willing to watch any content at any time. Many of them are even willing to consume multiple content simultaneously. The programming grid is a thing of the past. You still need to offer quality content, but when it’s always 5pm somewhere, the meaning of prime-time changes.

5. What You Think You Know About Your Audience No Longer Applies

OLD: We must adapt our programming to our audience.

NEW: We can distribute any content to any number of audiences.

Want to create a news show, a sports channel or a cooking network? Why not all of them? If you’re a general programming station. think niches. If you’re a niche-content producer, think multiple niches. You have the know-how and production capability, you don’t need to constrain yourself to one particular audience. Experiment with old content, new content, new versions of old content, old versions of new content… it’s the Internet, there’s an audience for anything.

What do you think?

(Disponible en español en Technosailor.com)

  • “it’s the Internet, there’s an audience for anything.”

    You’re right – I think the problem providers have with monetizing content is that they start with that false premise (We must adapt our programming to our audience). If you look at a lot of the most successful sites and memes, they’re all 90% passion about their issue and 10% “business smart.” You see musicians go from MySpace to mainstream radio, knocking down the focus-tested music that has long dominated the Top 40 charts. I don’t want to say there isn’t a place for things that appeal to 51% of Americans, but there is money and success in working with the other 49%.

    Another crucial development that has helped small groups come together would be search engines. Maybe 5 years ago, a tiny niche site wouldn’t take off, but with Google and some other important portals, people are finding even the most remote hobbies with ease.

  • “it’s the Internet, there’s an audience for anything.”

    You’re right – I think the problem providers have with monetizing content is that they start with that false premise (We must adapt our programming to our audience). If you look at a lot of the most successful sites and memes, they’re all 90% passion about their issue and 10% “business smart.” You see musicians go from MySpace to mainstream radio, knocking down the focus-tested music that has long dominated the Top 40 charts. I don’t want to say there isn’t a place for things that appeal to 51% of Americans, but there is money and success in working with the other 49%.

    Another crucial development that has helped small groups come together would be search engines. Maybe 5 years ago, a tiny niche site wouldn’t take off, but with Google and some other important portals, people are finding even the most remote hobbies with ease.

  • @M.Borghese,

    Excellent point about search engines… They’ve truly made the long-tail of content possible. Search engines have allowed many content producers to focus on what they’re really passionate about… If enough people can find your quirky videos, there’s no need to think about making them conform to the mainstream public.

    I’ll be developing each of the points made in this article further in the coming weeks.

  • @M.Borghese,

    Excellent point about search engines… They’ve truly made the long-tail of content possible. Search engines have allowed many content producers to focus on what they’re really passionate about… If enough people can find your quirky videos, there’s no need to think about making them conform to the mainstream public.

    I’ll be developing each of the points made in this article further in the coming weeks.

  • Albert J Brewer

    Interesante! not new though.
    Saludos,

  • Albert J Brewer

    Interesante! not new though.
    Saludos,

  • @Albert, certainly nothing new, but many Old-Media Pros still fail to understand the New-Media landscape and the many opportunities it offers.

    Got your email… will answer shortly.

  • @Albert, certainly nothing new, but many Old-Media Pros still fail to understand the New-Media landscape and the many opportunities it offers.

    Got your email… will answer shortly.

  • Search engines have become so significant that first point come in our mind when we want get information is a “search engine”. They have created an entire new world of business know as SEO.

  • not new, but great info, thanks