Three Strategic Options for Digital Media

During the past 18 months I have noticed a change of mind(set) in my work with traditional publishers, mostly from TV: Most of them do not consider digital some extension of their “real” business anymore, but finally start to prepare for a digital-only future. To many this may seem very late and trivial, but keep in mind that turnover and profits of traditional publishing in most cases are not a different ballpark, but a different sport, and although we can see first cracks in the iceberg, this will probably persist for a period of time to come. I like the ballpark/sports analogy, because I don’t believe in the term “digital transformation” in this case: Not only because everybody and their mothers suddenly became specialists in digital transformation, but also because in this special case, transforming TV or print into a digital business would mean they are the same sport, and in some time will meet at the same ballpark. I firmly believe that this is not the case; I am convinced that the mechanics and dynamics of digital publishing are so different to TV or print, that digital publishing has to be seen as a new, different, only somehow related industry, even if they are currently fighting over the same audiences and the same attention, and they are similar in the structure of their value chains. Continue reading

Structure vs. Chaos: Why I am Team Elon and think that AI regulation is absolutely necessary

 

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https://twitter.com/eucheerleading

In late July there was an open controversy between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg about the impact of AI and if we would need to introduce regulations to it. It culminated in this tweet.

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Musk calls for heavy AI regulation, while Zuckerberg argued that AI can improve people’s lives in many ways. Although under the brand “Technology is our friend” I have always taken the optimistic and progressive view on tech, I can’t follow Mark Zuckerberg’s argument – because no one denies this and there is no reason we couldn’t reach these advancements with “regulated AI”. On the other hand, I am not afraid of Skynet and machine-robots taking over the world. I rather think that we need to regulate AI because I believe that human societies cannot – at least not yet – deal with what AI is capable of or will be capable of in the near future. Continue reading

Cameras will be the next big platforms

In August 2006, Facebook launched its developer platform. If you define a platform as an environment in which software can be executed that embeds into this environment by utilizing standard features and data provided by this platform, this may have been one of the first large-scale platforms that entered a new abstraction level: “above” hardware and “above” operating systems, building on a customer-facing software that was designed to run on a variety of computing and operating systems and, by extension, on a number of hardware devices – kind of a “meta platform”. Compared to pure Windows, Android and iOS developing for example, the grade of openness on such platforms is very high, and at the same time the abilities of such platforms are limited to the “lowest” degree of functionality that will be available on all the software and hardware it has to work on. In theory, this could mean that peak innovations may happen on more limited, specialized platforms, while their broad adaptation may happen or be accelerated through such “meta-platforms”. I believe that cameras will be the next iteration where these processes can be observed: They provide an environment in which software can be executed that utilizes standardized features and data. This may lead to an entirely new breed of “apps” as well as to a significant enhancement of many apps as we know them today. Apple is moving into this direction with its ARKit, and Facebook made its camera a platform, too.

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Media Business Canvas

Right after Alexander Osterwalder invented the business model canvas (great resource provided by him here), it was used in almost every workshop I participated in. As useful (and genious) it is as a tool, in many cases the business model canvas was too generic for the specific client industry, and many workshop participants could not transfer the idea into their area of expertise, hence leading to discussions about how to understand this or that part of the canvas in our specific context and so on.

As I work a lot with media, or with companies that increasingly behave like media, I somewhen developed a “Media Business Canvas” – and since an appropriate of time has passed since I last used this in a workshop, I think it is fair enough to share this with the rest of the world .-)

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Media Business Canvas

The left area focuses on content, the right on monetization, and I think it is best used when you plan a complete overhaul of a media entity or (better) develop a media business from scratch. Especially when you have breakout groups in a workshop preparing a concept after brainstorming potential new products, it has proven to be pretty useful to unify the type of presentations that are developed, and also to re-evaluate brainstorming ideas and test their validity. I am glad to get comments where it can be optimized. I also uploaded a version of it on slideshare, can be downloaded as PDF: http://www.slideshare.net/epapa100/media-business-canvas 

If you use it in a workshop or meeting, tell me how it worked out!

 

 

 

Three ways in which digital affects branding

Some of you may know that I started my career in traditional advertising, working on several BMW accounts. After university and all the theories they teach you, I was lucky to experience what it means to contribute to building and leading a brand by communication means. I also had the best mentor anyone could wish for, a guy who lived and breathed for automotive brands for decades, and so I am confident to have had a very solid education in branding, and the way I see it, everything I learned in these early years of my career is still valid today. But just like any other area of business, branding is impacted by digital,too, and in 2016 I noticed a significant rise in projects where digital transformation reached the brand and CI departments. This may be accidental and only happening in my personal environment, but is still a good enough reason for me to summarize my view on digital’s impact on branding in three areas that are all closely interconnected. Continue reading

There’s no reason why Instagram and Snapchat shouldn’t co-exist

Many people say that with Instagram stories, Snapchat is doomed. We shouldn’t be too quick with such assumptions, especially when Snapchat is funded to run until the year 4310 if it wants to, but it is interesting to analyze the move and what it means for both services’ future: My take is that it helps both in building a vertical video advertising market.

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When I understood the mechanics of Snapchat (with my third try), I came to the conclusion that the service is here to stay, and to grow further, also beyond “crazy millenials”.  I am sticking with that. Instagram’s move to introduce stories will certainly make things harder for Snapchat, but it will not be a question of survival: Snapchat’s biggest issue will be account discovery.

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