Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ballmer on the death of media

From an interview with Steve Ballmer in the Washington Post: Microsoft's Ballmer on Yahoo and the Future

In the next 10 years, the whole world of media, communications and advertising are going to be turned upside down -- my opinion.

Here are the premises I have. Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form.

Where I think big media is in serious trouble I don't think he's right that they are going to go completely away. There will be some serious contraction though. (That one was easy-- there already has been serious contraction. :))

The bigger question- which newspaper will survive? Seriously, we may go down to one. I'm putting my money on the Guardian as the sole surviving English language newspaper. Could be the NY Times, but if I were a betting man...


Anonymous said...

Regarding the Guardian, there's still some value in local. In this case, local is at the continent scale.

Also, while newspapers are in trouble (physical distribution really hobbles them), local tv is alive and kicking. I don't see that consolidating to the same extent by any stretch. People want to see what's happening locally, and they can just flip on the tv.

I'm also not convinced that real time tv will be delivered over an ip network any time soon. Accessing tv via the internet is harder, not easier. Further, with anything other than on-demand, it's not clear that that access mode has any redeeming qualities.

Bud's seat of the pants predictions, local tv stays and is accessed on local tv channels. Surviving newspapers are Internet entities. The NY Times and maybe WSJ and USAToday survive as print publications, largely on the basis of their magazine like characteristics and their superior physical distribution networks.

Kevin Gamble said...


Local as the continent scale-- I like that. I'm just wondering when the cost of distribution may become so large that it's just not economical?

Agreed on tv. I think local news may survive. I watch a lot of local news-- provided by my cable company which also provides my Internet.

I think your prediction is right on the money.

Anonymous said...

Part of my local on a continental scale remark came from a recent visit to the printing facility for the Ann Arbor News. The facility was partially funded by nytimes to support their national distribution. A2 News could not have afforded the facility without it.

Distribution is the name of the game for all physical goods, and scale seems to dramatically reduce costs, even in distributed cases like with nytimes.

The question in my mind: Can nytimes national distribution survive the demise of local papers. I'm not convinced the locals have answers, except maybe in the case of some college town papers.